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.
When the inevitable question of “why did you choose to work at a camp” came up, the answer became a fun little exercise. Students were all asked to close their eyes and picture their best friends at school. Then they were asked to imagine that they could no longer see them anymore. They couldn’t play at recess or each lunch together or have sleepovers or anything. But they could text. Then they were asked if their relationship with these best friends would change. After the shock and groans of hypothetically losing these best friends earlier in the exercise, the answer was an obvious ‘yes’.
“Well,” we told each group, “that’s because we care a lot more about best friends instead of text friends, and at NaCoMe, our job is to help people make more best friends.”
That’s a big reason for why we do what we do. Summer camps and retreat experiences are unique because they pull away many of the distractions of everyday life. In the constant push for more ‘likes’ and ‘follows’, camps and retreats nudge us all toward something more basic, but also deeper. They nudge us toward the human connection of community, where strong relationships are built. Relationships that can be maintained with texts or screens, but that won’t be lost if the signal goes out. We are so passionate about these kinds of impacts that “build community” is one of the key pillars of our mission statement. Whether it’s summer camps for youth, family church retreats, college groups, scouts, football teams, or any other group, NaCoMe is a special place that exists for people to build community- to gain more best friends instead of just text friends.