Respectful Approaches — Indigenous Culture Competency and Camp

July 2015. Camp was in full swing with little time to devote to the Internet, but the news feed picked up an item that caught my attention. It was an article published by the national news outlet of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). It was a provocative item about the mimicry of indigenous practices and ceremonies at a couple of summer camps in Ontario, Canada (APTN, 2015).

Education for Global Citizenship: A Role for Summer Camp

What is global citizenship and why promote another seemingly bookish concept into a summer camp program? There are good reasons: positive youth development, influx of multicultural young people living in North America, the interconnectedness of most through social media, and because camp is an optimal learning environment (Fine, 2005). Camps are simply great places to learn (Bialeschki, Fine, & Bennett, 2015).

Fighting for Free Play

It seems a tug-of-war is going on in Canada. On one side are those who, in the name of safety and reducing liability, want to mandate the risk right out of childhood activities and free play time. On the other side are those who believe free play and safe risk-taking are vital to healthy childhood development.

Parent Study Suggests Strategies for Effective Use of Camp Research

The question is often asked, “So now that we have this research, how can I tell parents about it?” A fair question. Directors and camp administrators require action plans rather than theories and are tight on both time and resources. There is little opportunity to seek out the latest studies and findings, let alone put them into practice. It’s a fact that even with our electronic devices and specific apps, informative and relevant studies still languish in databases little accessed except by graduate students in search of citations.

A Burgeoning World of Camp Research

Roughly thirty years ago, I packed in an urban-based career and founded a summer camp in central Ontario just north of the city of Toronto. Still, I continue to seek a fuller understanding of camp phenomena through an ongoing commitment to academic research. I was an itinerant camper and attended a variety of camps in both Canada and the U.S. In those days, summer vacation meant summer camp, and every July and August for ten consecutive years, that’s where I was. I might be riding in the Rockies or snorkeling in Lake Champlain.