A few days ago, I was (regrettably) fortunately dragged into a Facebook discussion by a pastor that I knew from college. We’ve maintained a fairly minimal connection, but he knows I’m in the camp and retreat world. He had originally posted that ministry camps should lower their rates because it’s too expensive for families to send their kids. He messaged me and invited me to join the discussion that was occurring on the post because I would be approaching it from a different angle. I did, and it taught me a lot.
Recently, NaCoMe had the chance to be represented at a couple of Career Days for elementary schools in Clarksville. It was a great opportunity to get out and encourage kids to find jobs that they love and that benefit society. It was also a great opportunity to refocus us on why we do what we do.
There’s a reason it’s called ‘feedback’; it’s because we’re hungry for it. No other source of information is used more significantly to enhance and improve our summer camp programs than our camper and parent surveys. Speaking of which… are you a camp parent? Have you filled out the parent survey? Click HERE to complete it!
Spend a few hours around a group of NaCoMe campers, and you’ll hear an odd collection of phrases, noises, and seemingly otherworldly communications. It happens every year, and it’s what we know as “camper noises.” But these noises do more than interrupt the trickling water of the creek; they’re signs of communities being formed.
I got a call from a parent yesterday. She’s never sent her son to an overnight camp before, and heard about NaCoMe from a friend. I spent about 15 minutes on the phone with her answering her questions about activities and specifics of camp, but it was clear that she already had positive feelings about NaCoMe from the start. And that’s half the battle.
It is not easy for parents to make the decision to send their child away into the waiting arms of strangers who promise to take care of them — people who promise to show them the wonders of nature, fun, new skills, and friendships. As a parent of two children, even I struggle with the idea, and I have been around summer camps my entire life.
The following is a story from the March issue of the American Camp Association’s Camping Magazine. It communicates just one of the many benefits that summer camp experiences can have on youth today:
Sherry Turkle, PhD, is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT; and the founder and current director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. She teaches about the psychology and sociology of how computers and cell phones change the way we learn, how we feel, and how they affect not just what we do but who we are. The author of a number of books, her most recent, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, was released in 2015 and investigates how a departure from conversation undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity — and why reclaiming face-to-face conversation can help us recover lost and valuable skills.
We are happy to announce that we are using a new registration software for summer camp this year. After evaluating our needs in the fall of last year, we decided a switch would allow us to serve you better. It should make the registration process easier for you as a parent, especially when you come back to register next year or if you are registering multiple campers. However, as with all new things, there are a few changes and features that we would like you to be aware of. Here are just a few of the highlights.
I hear great stories about camp experiences all the time. When I visit churches, talk with staff, or spend time with retreat groups, a great story is never far away. As I’ve progressed as a camp professional, adding stories to my collection, it’s become clear that great camp stories usually involve a few of the same elements: adversity, challenge, and community. Rarely is a good story told that doesn’t involve those, and the reason is simple. A great story is only told about a great camp experience, and a great camp experience, believe it or not, needs a healthy dose of adversity, challenge, and community. The fact that we tell stories years or decades after the camp experience is not just because they’re good stories, but because they are stories about how we became who we are.
There were only so many things my 6th grade backpack could hold.
Having already loaded down our individual packs with personal items, we quickly realized we had underestimated the remaining supplies needed for the group. Even with our packs nearly full, we still needed members of our group to carry jugs of water, cooking pots, a flat skillet, 5 tarps, a cooler for cold food, another container of food and cooking utensils, and a few pieces of dry firewood protected from the elements with saran wrap. Did I mention it was raining?