People in the News – What They Are Saying About Camp

Richard Louv
author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

Young people — the ones lucky enough to have attended a school, church, or other organized camp, or to have camped with their family or friends — can offer moving testimony to the power of experience in the natural world. As I researched Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, one boy told me of the sensory awakening he experienced watching a campfire, "the red and orange flames dancing in the darkness, the smoky fumes rising up, burning my eyes and nostrils."
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Francis Ford Coppola
Film Director
"If I have to be remembered for something, I want it remembered that I really liked children and was a good camp counselor."

An Interview with Michael Eisner, past Disney CEO

Keewaydin, the Vermont camp at the heart of your memoir is much in the news. There’s an op-ed piece, “Becoming a Man by August,” that appeared a few weeks ago in The Boston Globe by psychologist Michael Thompson. Your memories of Keewaydin that sparked your recent book Camp are obviously touching a chord.

I've had an unbelievable reaction. A number of people have stopped me on the street or written e-mails telling me about their camp experiences. Everything from Y camp to day camp to traditional overnight camps with multi-generational experiences like we had. People are literally coming out of the woodwork to contact me about camp.

There are enormous numbers of people, strong family people, strong environmental people, and people like the writer John McPhee, who had a marvelous experience at Keewaydin. It was a place where the seeds of their interests were planted, the special environment, simply the things they liked about camp had a big influence. Read More

Wendy Mogel, Ph.D.
best-selling author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee
I went to camp for sixteen years. The whole happy slog: day camp, sleep-away camp, CIT, junior counselor, counselor, head counselor.

At Belgian Village Camp in Cummington, Massachusetts, the birthplace of the American romantic poet William Cullen Bryant, we had vespers in an elegant clearing in the forest called "the green cathedral." My friends and I sat by the pond for hours (hours!) catching tree frogs and daydreaming. Backstage smelled of clown white and musty taffeta. While riding bareback (Bareback? Someone call risk management!) a bee stung my horse. I was thrown to the ground and broke my leg but stayed out the summer and learned to fish. Read More

Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
co-author of The NY Times bestseller, Raising Cain
If we were lucky enough to go to camp ourselves as children, we know that these things are a precious part of camp life. However, when I visited a camp for a week in Vermont, some forty years since I had last attended one myself, I was struck hard by how rarely I see children engage in these activities anywhere else: not in schools, not in neighborhoods, not in families. It made me wonder if summer camps are one of the last places that kids can learn the so-called "family values" that hard-pressed families no longer have the time to teach. Read More

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
I think in many ways the camping experience gives children the chance to be children, to enjoy a time that really uses their minds and their bodies, develops their spirits, exposes them in a safe environment to other people, lets them learn about themselves. And that is important because I think it really relates directly to the kind of citizens and leaders we will have in the future.

Joan Lunden
Television anchor and author
In my seven years at camp, I have watched children grow and develop self-confidence and leadership skills and a willingness to explore and challenge themselves. Camp creates a nurturing environment that allows children to gain important “life experiences.” They keep coming back because of the friendships they make, the staff becomes a surrogate family to them, and because it’s a safe environment that fosters healthy values.

Tucker Carlson
Journalist and author
Our culture doesn’t value as much as it should giving children the space to play. A child’s imagination and creativity is really enhanced at camp. Another important message from camp is that you really grow by giving. That’s one of the most valuable things about camp—respect for others.

Colin Powell
Former Secretary of State General, Founding Chair of America's Promise – The Alliance for Youth
"I want to congratulate all of the professionals of the American Camping Association for your commitment to what I am trying to do with my organization America's Promise – The Alliance for Youth . . . . I admire what you do.

". . . one of the best alliances, one of the most successful alliances we've created so far is the alliance between America's Promise and the American Camping Association. Camping is a great opportunity for young people. It teaches them a little about themselves. It teaches them how to get along with other people – both other young people as well as adults. It teaches them self-reliance. It gets them away from a neighborhood or situation that may exist in their neighborhoods that isn't healthy. It preserves their integrity. It allows them to avoid the pathologies of drugs and crime and violence and terrible things they might see in their communities.