A View from the Woods.
I see a parallel developmental process with the camp community. This process of discovery and understanding of ourselves in relationship to others is increasingly important for camps today. We have a camp, a camp that has boundaries that define and protect that camp community - a specifically identified environment that advances and encourages self-expression. Yet, in reality those defined boundaries are porous and increasingly intertwined with the family. The family's values and self-esteem are reflected in the campers and the programs observed in the camp community. A family's expectations and influence are evident on a daily basis. The camp family with its expressed tenets equally influences the camper's family. Parents and camps become partners. The boundaries continue to blur as the camp community intersects with the community-at-large. Elements of contribution, self-identity, and accountability to the community-at-large begin to surface. The camp community becomes a part of the solution that is illustr ated through meaningful relationships between the camp and the community. Ultimately, the camp recognizes its value to the world in relationship to the overall contributions the camp experience offers within its distinctive boundaries.
These two paths of parallel development between the camp and the child create an opportunity for service and citizenship that are highly unique. At any point in time, the camp and camper can intersect developmentally and experience growth. Citizens have been understood as "caring members of a moral community who share certain values and feel common responsibilities towards each other; and as practical agents of a civic world who work together in public ways and spaces to engage the tasks and try to solve the problems that they collectively face," wrote Harry C. Boyte and James Fan' in The Work of Citizenship and the Problem of Service - earning. Camps that have successfully reached into the surrounding community by participating in service projects enhance each camper's personal discovery and learning with these meaningful community relationships. Campers who work on environmental projects, housing and food projects, senior citizen projects, etc., recognize our unbounded reality. William Sullivan, co-author of the modern classics, Habits of the Heart and The Good Society, states that citizens in a good society "make an unlimited promise to show care and concern to each other." From my point of view ... what a great definition for the contributions made by camps all across the country.
Peg L. Smith
ACA Executive Director
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|Title Annotation:||contribution of recreational camps to society's development|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2001|
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