Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Looking Ahead to Summer Camps

Have your children ever attended a week long camp?  For a variety of reasons..the challenging economy, parents reluctance to miss a week of a child's life, wondering if camps are safe, feeling guilty about having a week to yourself, etc., many parents are choosing not to send their children to residential camps.  I think this is a terrible shame.  While there are parents who make sure their children have wilderness experiences, many more do not.

Many children have never built a fire, or roasted marshmallows, or hiked more than a mile.  Most have never been in a canoe or a raft, and would not know how to set up a tent.

So why are these sorts of experiences important?

1.  Appropriate risk taking encourages creativity.  Because many children spend a good deal of time indoors and are not allowed to roam free because of safety concerns by parents, they no longer encounter choices about whether the water is too high to cross a creek, a branch is too small to crawl out onto, a homemade raft is large enough to hold their weight, a cliff has enough crevices to be able to climb, etc.  In camp settings, these sorts of challenges are presented under the supervision of trained staff.

2.  Overcoming challenges gives children a sense that they can be in charge of their lives and succeed at new skills.

3.  Children are exposed to a variety of people from diverse backgrounds.  Living in community with children and counselors from around the country gives children a broader perspective on what might be possible for their own lives.

4.  Sending children to a faith based camp encourages their own spirituality as they encounter the wonders of creation in a variety of ways that would not be possible in urban settings.  Even if you do not attend a church regularly, children thrive in situations where they can talk about the purpose of their lives and what God might have planned for them.

Please consider giving your child a mountaintop experience.

Here are some opportunities that I am involved with:

 Camp Stoney  

This residential (six days) camp is run by the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande.  My father-in-law, an Episcopal priest helped to start Camp Stoney and spent many summers there as a dean.  The camp has been closed for nine months to undergo some much need updating and renovations.  I have been involved with Camp Stoney for thirty years as a volunteer, a camp dean, and then as Interim Director for three years.  All of my children attended this camp and had incredible experiences there.  One of them became a camp counselor, and one worked as a chef there.  I have seen many lives positively impacted as a result of their experiences at Camp Stoney.  Click on the above link to go to the Diocesan webpage to find a schedule of summer camps at Camp Stoney which is located about 15 minutes from downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Ghost Ranch
Ghost Ranch is an interfaith education and retreat center of the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.), located in a northern New Mexico landscape many deem sacred.  This summer I have been working on a summer camp for teens with Joan Brown of Albuquerque Interfaith Power and Light and members of a diverse group of churches. 
Monday, July 29- Saturday, August 4, 2013
Come spend a week immersing yourself in the beauty of Northern
New Mexico, share community, learn about sustainable
practices, and participate in hands-on experiences with nature,
food production, service, your faith, and so much more.
Limited to 10 adult leaders and 40 junior and senior high
youth. Registration requires endorsement letter of youth leader
and/or pastor because youth will come back to congregation to
lead a sustainability project in their community.
In addition to the service performed, you will have the chance
to meet new friends, learn about Northern New Mexico’s
unique culture and join in Ghost Ranch Outdoor Adventure and
Spirituality offerings.
•$350 per participant (youth or adult chaperone)
Cost includes lodging (dorms), meals, activities, service
projects, and outdoor adventure activities. $100 deposit
required, first come – first serve. Some Scholarship available
for youth of low economic means. 

For more information about either camp, contact me at St. Mark's 262-2484.

If you live in other parts of the country, explore options through the American Camping Association's website.


1 comment:

  1. These camps encourage kids to be independent and start to act on their own if they have always been depending on their parents to do simple tasks such as fixing their own bed.


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