Why Congress & the President Should Go to Camp
Hi Everyone! It’s not in my nature to go all political on you, but hearing the constant barrage of uncooperativeness in Washington of late, I began to wonder if these people had ever had a camp experience, would they be behaving this way? Frankly (which I always am!), I think a summer at camp would do them and this country a whole lotta good! To that end, I’ve put together a list of reasons why I think all of our Representatives, Senators, and even the President should go to camp and why we would be better off!
- Camp Helps Campers Become True & Better Leaders: In the camp setting, participants have many opportunities to step up and lead in positive and supportive ways. They find that leading is not yelling, acting tough, pushing people around, or always getting what you want. True leadership involves serving others in a way that empowers them to share their strengths and wisdom while guiding them to do what is best for all.
- Camp Helps Campers Improve Their Communication Skills: At camp, through strong role modeling and encouragement, campers learn positive ways to talk and listen to each other, to share and accept differing points of view in a respectful manner, to work out conflicts peacefully and with understanding. They learn that there is a reason why they have two ears and one mouth!
- Camp Helps Campers Become More Resourceful: The camp community provides endless opportunities for free play which in turn pushes the participants to be resourceful and creative. Games and activities are created with mere sticks and rocks and boundaries are created using trees and bushes. If there’s a will there’s a way, and camp helps campers develop that inner will!
- Camp Helps Campers Become More Responsible: As a camper, participants are expected to be respectful of others as well as to the assets of the community. Camp embraces a servant leadership approach to responsibility in that what each one does should be for the benefit of the entire community.
- Camp Helps Campers Become More Caring: The camp community takes care of its own. Thus living in the camp community, each participant learns to help another who may be struggling, confused, upset, or sad. And this is cross-generational – the older campers mentor and assist the younger ones, but often the younger ones help the older ones see things from another perspective. They learn that the community is much stronger (and a whole lot more fun!) when they work together!
- Camp Helps Campers Embrace Fairness: Sure, the camp experience can include competitiveness, but it is always in the spirit of helping everyone achieve their best effort. Campers learn that playing games supportively and with mutual respect is far more fulfilling and satisfying, than winning at all costs. It really is about how you play the game!
- Camp Helps Campers Become Better Citizens: Being a member of a camp community helps each individual quickly realize that helping others meet their needs before their own helps build a more vibrant and productive community. And that doing it comes with a remarkable amount of personal satisfaction. Campers discover that you get much more from giving than from taking!
- Camp Helps Campers Become More Trustworthy: The camp experience helps campers learn that being honest and open creates stronger and more positive bonds with others. They learn that apologizing when your wrong, admitting when you step out of bounds (even when others didn’t see it), telling the truth about others, following through on promises no matter what are all ways to be a better person and a better friend.
- Camp Helps Campers Learn Empathy: Campers learn empathy by watching the people around them and camp provides endless chances to observe so much! By meeting and observing other campers and counselors around them who are from other areas, have different qualities than themselves, deal with situations differently campers begin to learn to see their world from a variety of perspectives. This leads to a greater acceptance of differing views and a deeper willingness to challenge one’s own thoughts. And it helps them to learn about all that we have in common!
- Camp Helps Campers Build A Better Community: With all of the skills above, campers independently and on their own learning to be positive contributors to their community. They know that it is important to build a community and not just advocate for their own needs and wants. They learn that we are nothing without the community.
This list of reasons could continue endlessly, but I hope I have made my point. Regardless of your political persuasion, nearly all of us can agree that the current behavior of our representatives is really kind of childish. Perhaps some time at camp learning how to successfully secure the clean cabin award, get down the river to your campsite before the rain hits, cheer on that girl who gets up on her skis for the very first time, teach the whole camp in a new song, do some crazy dancing in front of everyone, and lead a prayer at the end of the day would do our legislators and leaders some good! Well, if you think so, why don’t you just take a moment and send this to your representatives today. It just might help make our community a little bit better!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
Read more about the power of the camp experience:
The Case For Camp – Why Kids Need It Now More Than Ever (Peg Smith, Camp Parents|American Camp Association (http://www.campparents.org)