My Brain, My Heart

August 6, 2013

Am I missing courage? I am a Wizard in an Oz of my own making.

I love to assimilate thoughts and concepts that may appear ambiguous and create meaning. To do so takes courage because at times the results may appear foolish. Yet, when I apply my genuine emotions (my heart) and use my brain to utilize the best thoughts collected from others, every once in a while, new meaning and provocation emerges.

That happened this week when I was re-reading an article by Edutopia.

The article was discussing brain-based learning and emotion science. The term brain-based learning resonated with me more directly than simply saying “teen brain research,” which often expresses “how the brain is developing.” Attaching the word “learning” illustrated what I think is the real value of brain research! It is about how we learn — not just understanding how the brain develops. Combining brain-based learning with emotion science was equally exciting because I believe both of these credible and powerful concepts are practiced and applied every day at camp!

The article went on to talk about whole-person support. Of course, camp professionals know it is about the whole child — health, environments, and social contexts. We may use different terms and vehicles to deliver such contextual experiences, but nonetheless, our ability to provide such unique, rich environments means that without grades or textbooks, we help young people learn to focus and build healthy relationships that, in turn, give our country productive, healthy citizens.

Finally the article suggested the need to create “your own school movement.” I, of course, immediately said, “We should create our own camp movement” — one camp at a time — while working together as an association/community of camps. We are in a position to weave our networks of internal and external relationships together in such a way that we could build a natural bridge to the formal school movement. Can we not recast our image in such a way that camp is recognized for its contribution to brain-based learning, emotion science, and whole-person support? In truth, shouldn’t schools recognize true whole-person support means weaving together relevant systems that have been built and designed for children, youth, and families in such a way that the whole child, family, community, and society benefits? What happened to that “takes a village” concept?

Oh, if I only had a brain . . . a heart . . . courage!

Photo courtesy of Rolling River Day Camp, Oceanside, New York