TVRC Goes to Camp (Conference)!
The story of this particular Blog is our journey to the American Camp Association conference held at Sanborn Western Camps in Florissant, Colorado. The Rocky Mountain Conference pulls camps from all over the Intermountain West and is a huge source of inspiration, knowledge, and the sharing of best practices. Jim Ligori and I drove down to the conference…20 hours in the car there and back provides lots of time to talk Camp and plan for next summer!
Often, I find that the take-away from a professional conference is not necessarily the themes and subject matter of the individual sessions, but an over arching and interconnected set of ideas that are most meaningful to TVRC, and helpful in thinking about and planning out our strategies. This conference was no different. The other wonderful benefit is being in the presence of amazingly creative and dedicated Camp Professionals. Friends who are inspired toward the same mission of service to young people, their families, and to making the world better one Camper at a time.
My biggest take-aways were how Camp is more relevant now than ever before for our children. How we, as parents, are challenged to manage screen-time for our children…an area not faced by any previous generation of parents. Sure, previous parents had the TV to contend with, but that was a passive viewing experience. One that played in-front of us…not with us. The screens our children interact with throughout their days are actively seeking to hold them, influence them, train them to stay in ever more insidious ways. Camp on the other hand creates space for our children to practice two supremely important skills, the development of independence and the building of relationships.
This is the gift you give your children when you send them to TVRC.
P21 (Partnership for 21st Century Learning) explains the skills that our children will need in the ever-changing world-out-there in this way:
“Learning and innovation skills are what separate students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in today’s world, and those who are not.” They include: o Creativity and Innovation
o Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
All four of those skills are part of what our Campers experience on the Ranch and on the Trail. I’ve also been reading Daniel Pink’s new book called “The Whole New Mind: How Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future”. Pink offers a look at the trends and demands of school and work today and shares insightful reflections about how young people who succeed in the coming decades will be those who have a capacity for Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. These are all connected to the creative, big picture, right side of our Brain. Daniel Pink explains it like this:
o The left hemisphere controls the right side of the body; the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body.
o The left hemisphere is sequential; the right hemisphere is simultaneous.
o The left hemisphere specializes in text; the right hemisphere specializes in context.
o The left hemisphere analyzes the details; the right hemisphere synthesizes the big picture.
Daniel Pink is not saying that Right-Brain dominant people are better than Left-Brain dominant people…instead, he is saying that those who are more adept in the Right-Brained skills mentioned in the previous paragraph will find themselves more in demand, and therefore with greater opportunity than their more linear and sequential peers. These skills are embedded in every activity we do at TVRC. Developing an ability to creatively respond to real-life, in the moment kinds of situations (either on a horse in the arena or with a group summiting Rendezvous Peak) has implications far beyond the 30 days we spend in Wyoming every summer. These are the real benefits of meeting the challenges and enjoying the adventure of Teton Valley Ranch Camp!
The role we play for our Campers is that of Teacher and Leader. I find it a great blessing when I have the chance to shift into Student and Follower mode. These roles should be cyclical. All year long we are meticulously planning out our role as Teachers and Leaders so that the program can deliver on all of it’s stated outcomes. The only way to continue to improve is to connect with creative and caring people, like our friends at the American Camp Association, and to listen. Not to mention, the conference gave me the chance to demonstrate another area of competence…in our evening of Camp-Fun at the conference I won the “Disco/Rollerblade/Limbo Contest”! Sadly, I do believe all of the photos and videos have been destroyed. (I hope!)
Thank you all for staying in touch and we look forward to connecting with many of you on our Roundup Tour on both the East and West Coast at the end of January and the beginning of February 2019!