Sense of Belonging- What’s happening to our kids?!

I didn’t go to Camp when I was growing up, so when I first started out as a Counselor I was astonished at the whole Camp experience. Camp was as opportunity to leave home and to enter a wholly different world full of challenge, adventure and independence. The Camp experience mirrors the framework of the “Hero’s Journey” as described by Joseph Campbell. The journey at Camp gives a young person opportunity to, in the words of Michael Thompson, Ph.D., author of the great book, Homesick and Happy

“For me, camp is about character, community and a prolonged period of independence.” Dr. Thompson continues, “…Living in a cabin 24/7 with kids you like and kids you don’t builds self-control and empathy. Helping carry someone else’s backpack on a hike, making a fire and cooking together, cleaning pots in the lake, trying new foods and overcoming homesickness…well, that’s independence”. (From article in NYT, July, 2013)

Jim Ligori and I were privileged to attend one of Dr. Thompson’s lectures here in Jackson Hole a few weeks ago. I walked away thinking about his comments as they pertain to Summer Camp, and TVRC in particular. He emphasized at the beginning that his talk was not going to focus on bullying, but on it’s antidote, which is a feeling of “Belonging”.