Keep the Doors Open and Everyone Benefits

A Testimonial by Russell

I attended camp in the summer of 1983. The cultural benefits of me, and other Europeans, being there are well documented elsewhere, and not for for me to assume perhaps. But what I took away from my experience at camp was on many levels but can be distilled into one: an appreciation for America - its people, their cultural and social history, and their warmth, spirit and 'can do' attitudes.

In short I have become (in a minor way of course) a 'brand ambassador' for America. One person does not make much difference, naturally. But I am today still very much in touch with a dozen or so co-workers from 3 or 4 countries - and the common denominator is the USA. Good PR is hard to come by, and this is a kind of PR at a national level. Multiply my little scenario by X thousand overseas workers, all with the USA as the common thread, and you have a powerful benefit heading straight back to America. And that benefit manifests itself as cultural richness, but also through commerce and tourism.

So camp of course provides all the obvious benefits for its domestic 'market' (fun and experience for the children; employment for local people, social cohesion for the communities etc). But it also creates very real long term benefits for America through the medium of cross-cultural friendship. And this can only be achieved through overseas workers.

It would be a real shame, on many levels, if this remarkable programme closed its doors to international counsellors and the benefits they bring. They are far ranging, long term benefits and they have a positive impact on the people of America far beyond the boundaries of camp.