At this time of year, the "Letter from Peg" is directed to camp staff and counselors as you prepare to enter the summer season. This year is no different.
During camp training and orientation, you will receive a great deal of content knowledge. This information will be very important to ensure you have a productive summer. But to be successful, it takes more than content knowledge. This is true of everything in our world today. We all need twenty-first century skills to be successful. John Dewey, a twentieth century educator said, "knowledge is no longer an immobile solid."
So, I am going to ask you to think about doing something special this summer. Learning is a lifelong journey, and without intentionality — being present in the moment — you may suffer a form of learning loss. I want to suggest a tool that may enhance your summer experience.
This summer at camp, start a Life/Career Skills Journal. You have the opportunity to acquire and practice critical twenty-first century job skills at camp that will be transferable to all of your future environments — professional and personal.
Chapter One: Flexibility and Adaptability
Record your experiences adapting to new roles and responsibilities. Consider how you find ways to balance diverse opinions and values.
Chapter Two: Initiative and Self Direction
Record how you manage goals and your time. Reflect on how you are exploring and discovering learning opportunities.
Chapter Three: Leadership and Responsibility
Describe how you help others problem solve, see patterns, and discern meaning. Capture the ways you learn to inspire and present a positive example to others.
These are just a few examples. You will probably think of other chapter titles such as "High Order Thinking Skills," "Productivity," or "Community Building." If you journal with discipline, you will have excellent text for a job resume or an interview by the end of the summer. Employers love real-world context. More importantly, each entry becomes a teachable moment for your campers. Share your narrative with the campers — we know the power of oral histories. They, too, will need twenty-first century competencies in order to be successful.
John Dewey also said, "To be playful and serious at the same time is possible and it defines the ideal mental condition."
Have a great summer, and send me journal entries!
Originally published in the 2010 May/June issue of Camping Magazine.