This weekend we’ve only had 1 day to do the preparation work we had about 3 days to do before the first session, so we’ve been running around busy. As I look over campers’ information, I’m struck by how different they all are. We work really hard to make sure we have campers in each session that are diverse on many levels–gender, class, race, background, country of origin, current city of residence, etc. Every year we’ve had slots for campers with refugee status. This year we’ve made sure for the first time that we have campers from the local Americus area. (Last week, we found out that most of our local campers had never been to the places we took them for field trips before even though they live right here!) And in many other ways, we pay attention to how campers can learn from each other’s differences and unique life experiences.
I’m particularly remembering stories from our refugee campers. The day we discussed health disparities, it was moving to hear the differences in access to health care between young people living in the US and campers’ memories of being a child in another country with limited access. The day we visited the Global Village to learn about housing, another camper from a refugee family walked thoughtfully around the slum housing and commented to me that she used to live in a place that looked just like it. At the end of the day, our campers are learning more from each other than from anywhere else, and it only makes me feel more urgently the need to have kids from different backgrounds spending time together throughout the year and not just for a week at summer camp. All we can hope is that their week at camp will help them seek out those friendships more readily.
I’m hopeful this week for more great friendships and insights and want to share with y’all what I have so far. Below are campers’ answers to one of the short answer questions on their pre-camp registration form.
What is one way you’d like to see the world change?
- For most people to know and understand how other people feel.
- I want people to stop bullying and excluding each other.
- Everyone could see the good in everyone.
- I’d like to see people treat the environment better.
- All people to be free.
- When all the people don’t fight and understand each other. Also when people stop cutting down trees that much.
- I’d like to see a world without war or tragedies.
- I want the world to go green. It would let the earth be a lush place full of flowers, trees, and grass. I also hope the world conserves clean water so that we can have fresh water.
- I would like to see the economic system gone because most people get killed because of money or war is caused because someone wants the materials of someone else to sell it for money. If everyone did everything out of the kindness of their heart there will be no need for money.
- No crimes, no wars, all races get along.
- That we could sing during a whole period in school.
- If we got to have a whole day of just p.e. for school, and nothing else.
More photos of the signs, quotes and information we’ve posted around camp are below…