As if this is going to drag them back or keep them away…

November 24, 2009 at 8:21 am 2 comments

For a while now, I’ve been a part of an amazing organization to help save a beloved Girl Scout Camp-Camp Little Notch. Unfortunately, the council has decided to sell this amazing place to focus on more technology savvy camps, ect. This has been so big for the council, that it made the local paper.

Normally, I wouldn’t be all sorts of hot and bothered by this making the paper, and I wouldn’t even be blogging this. It would be small potatoes in my insane life. But, here’s where I got annoyed and irritated. The talking head from the Girl Scout Council basically said that girls needed creature comforts to want to come back to camp, and flush toilets were an important part of the equation, as were computers, cabins with electric lights and all of that.

Hearing this lets me know that the organization that I spent a lot of time in has lost their way. At the risk of sounding almost like my parents, who often tell me that they don’t get my generation, I don’t get it. What do girls need to be connected through technology for? They do it every day of their lives!

There are countless studies out there that say that the youth of today are disconnected from the Earth and the outdoors. It’s to the point where Wilderness Kindergartens are becoming highlighted programs-but most people only think it’s the granola crunchy set that likes them.

My wilderness experience was spent up at Camp Little Notch. It was here my passion for being in the water was nurtured. I WANTED to go back so I could kayak, canoe, swim and sail. I went on trips, I swam the entire length of the lake in a bright green swim cap-and earned my space on the ceremonial life preserver-where you can still see my name to this day. I hiked to the old furnace and spent a night there. Creepy as all get out, but SOO ever loving cool.

I didn’t care that I didn’t have lights in my tent. Frankly, it sent me to bed at a decent hour. I didn’t care (much) that I didn’t have flush toilets. I knew the joy of a bradley party-and when Doug went up to be the camp nurse, I indulged myself in washing my hair in one of them again, and Isaac looked at me like I had 20 heads…and helped by stepping on the bar on the bottom that turned it on.

Long story short, I was happy in being disconnected for weeks on end. It didn’t bother me, because I was meeting people that I never imagined I’d meet and I was with friends. I had a counselor from Australia. I had one from England. It was cool. I came home RAVING about my experience. Mom didn’t get it. She didn’t understand what I loved about being on that mountain, but she indulged me, and sent me (and subsequently my sister) back.

The summer I was staff there, I worked with a plethora of international staff-a cornerstone of CLN. I got to have calm, political discussions with people from the Czech Republic. I got to learn all about Scottish food. We laughed and shared the copies of the Green Mile that were sent to me,because I couldn’t wait to read it. Again-we were disconnected but connected.

And we loved it. It’s what drew us back.

It wasn’t the electricity, it wasn’t the lack of flush toilets-it was the programming, the friends, the fun. The safety to try new things and fail…and have your friends there to pick you back up and encourage you to try again. Even if you were scared…your friends were right there to support you-and it was ok.

Full disclosure here-I hate heights. I’m petrified of them. Yet I love roller coasters and rock climbing-go figure..

But there was a time that I had to climb a very, very high log to get to the top of a creek walk (the one that resulted in some serious scarring on my knee…but that’s another story…and a funny one at that…) and I had a minor panic attack. I had friends all over talking me through. I made it up to the top…almost hyperventilating, but did it. And had my buddies to thank for it.

Can a girl get that type of experience sitting in front of a computer? I beg to disagree.

Again-GSNENY-it’s not the creature comforts that keep girls engaged and coming back-as if a flush toilet will drag them back of keep them away. It won’t. It’s the QUALITY of the experience.

Why did I always go back to CLN? Why did Doug go up and work and lament that he couldn’t go last summer? Because we were in love. Love with the land, program and the family we had while we were up there. A family that came together in the summer…and stayed forever.

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Entry filed under: soapbox.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen  |  November 24, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Unfortunately today’s youth just don’t understand how rewarding it can be to unplug from technology. Sure, the kids would complain for the first day or two, then the joy from making friends and sharing in the experience would overcome.

    It’s sad they are closing the camp, that’s for sure!

    Reply
  • 2. Jen  |  December 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Did you see the article in today’s TU?
    http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=873125

    Reply

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