July 4, 2006

Long term implications

My wife, Sarah mentioned to me the other day that an old friend Jim had found the blog. I wonder how he found it? Anyway he was glancing through and found the post on Camp Pemi. It turns out he and his brother were long time camp Pemi campers. His nephew is just old enough now to go this year!

Camp Pemi and New Hampton both share Russ - the connection that brought the CIT's to Burleigh. I guess around Camp Pemi he's known as the Legend. But all this got me thinking about connections, our work and the long term implications of it.

Even though there are camps all around New Hampshire plus college and high school programs - experiential learning is still a pretty small world. When I would chat with Bob from PSU about a recent conference he'd attended there was always a few friends we had in common that he'd seen.

Just factoring in the staff that I've worked with and personally count as friends we probably have maybe 50 organizations that we've worked with combined. Then count the students / participants / clients / campers those 50 organizations have touched and it starts to get massive.

People look back on these experiences with such a fondness that they want their own children to have a similar experience! I can think of few kinds of experiences that create this passion and place based relationship. Religion comes to mind, but few families feel strongly that their child attend church in the particular building where they did. But Jim's brother didn't want his son to go to just any summer camp - it had to be Camp Pemi.

What is it about camp, experiential learning, the outdoors, adventure, that creates this? How can we as practitioners foster this sense of belonging, of longevity, of meaning across time?

I'll end this post with my favorite picture of the Legend himself.

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