A couple of weekends ago, I had the honor of spending some time with members of the Coalition for Education in the Outdoors during their Research Symposium. They gave me a one-day remedial pass. But I digress . . . .
In one of the discussions, we started talking about generative outcomes. It really excited me because I believe that is where we (the outdoor and camp community) really add value to the overall, comprehensive education and development of children and youth. It legitimizes our contribution to the overall formula that we should appreciate and respect as human development.
Think about it — Positive human development is the precursor to academic excellence, is it not? We need to be able to understand the camp experience as a generative process in and of itself. Add intentionality to that environment, and you have put magic on steroids!
We help young people make mental connections between what they are hearing, seeing, feeling, experiencing, and reading. The dynamic processes we provide develop attention and knowledge — and help young people make meaning from what otherwise may seem abstract and unrelated. Suddenly, the generative experiences help young people develop concepts, interpretations, and even applications for new ways of thinking, being, and working.
This generative process is experienced individually, in small groups, and as a community, making all lessons transferable to the 21st century global community! And all of this is happening in a natural learning environment — the richness of the simplicity is easily missed.