It seems everywhere I go, the camp community is struggling to articulate its value proposition in today’s world. There are so many constructs: recreation related to physical well-being and fighting obesity; youth development and its relationship to what we know about adolescent teen brain development and 21st century skills; and work development and its relationship to 21st century skills and the completion of school.
In many respects, regardless of how you enter the conversation, one can find intersections within and across all three constructs. Perhaps, rather than one construct being “right” or “wrong,” each construct offers an opportunity to legitimately customize your message to your specific marketplace and program.
All of this said, I was recently reading Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner. It gave me yet another way to consider how the camp experience adds value to the future of our campers. He talks about five minds that will need to be mastered in order to contribute (and work) in the future.
Disciplined Mind: This mind knows how to work steadily over time to improve skill and understanding – if one does not have such discipline, “they are destined to march to someone else’s tune.”
Synthesizing Mind: This mind takes “information from disparate sources, understands and evaluate that information objectively, and puts it together in ways that make sense to the synthesizer and also to other persons.” In today’s world of ever growing information and knowledge, this will be an enviable skill.
Creating Mind: This mind “puts forth new ideas, poses unfamiliar questions, conjures up fresh ways of thinking, [and] arrives at unexpected answers.”
Respectful Mind: This mind “notes and welcomes differences between human individuals and between human groups, tries to understand these ‘others,’ and seeks to work effectively with them.” A tremendous skill for the global community.
Ethical Mind: This mind “conceptualizes how work can serve purposes beyond self-interest and how members of society can work unselfishly to improve the lot of all.”
I have witnessed these minds being built and exercised in every camp that I have visited. How does this happen at your camp? Do you witness such growth? How do you articulate value?