Camp–The Final Frontier

I slept well last night as the rain fell against the composite shingles of the roof, down the aluminum gutters, and out through the storm drain.

There’s something wild and wonderful about the summer camp experience. © Can Stock Photo Inc./Elenathewise

I woke this morning in my private bedroom on my Sealy Posturepedic pillow-top mattress covered by a down-filled comforter encased in my Bladvass duvet cover. I felt a slight chill in the air, so I adjusted the temperature in the room using the digital thermostat on the wall.

After leaving my private bathroom—complete with a polished porcelain toilet, ceramic-tiled floor, Avanti bath rug, and herbal potpourri—I walked down a carpeted hall to the kitchen.

After exchanging pleasantries with my family, I poured my organic almond milk on my favorite pre-packaged, pre-processed, and pre-sweetened cereal while listening to my iPod.

While driving to school in my 2006 Mustang GT with black-leather interior, I drank a double chocolaty-chip frappuccino, and contemplated the day ahead and the strength I would need to overcome the stresses of life that were sure to confront me.

I asked myself, “As a 16-year-old boy, am I ready?”

Morals And Values

As a parent, I desire to instill within my five children the essential elements needed to overcome life’s difficult trials. Not only to overcome, but to be a positive contributor rather than a burden on society.

However, my desire to provide a better life than I had for my kids has resulted in a conflict that sabotages my very intent. For I know intuitively that comfort, convenience, and affluence are not character-building directives.

And to compound the problem further, technological advancements have produced such an environment that my children no longer have to manually flush a toilet, open a door at the supermarket, or even pick up a pencil to hand-write a letter.

There was a time when the majority of America’s youth awoke early and worked hard, experienced nature, overcame trials, endured inconveniences, depended on each other, and waited patiently on the weather.

This was in 1935 when 6-million family farms graced this country, and scores of youngsters worked tirelessly and with devotion.

Some refer to the people of that era as the Greatest Generation, not because “the good old days” were fun, but because they were hard, and children endured and were better for it.

Nowadays, there are an estimated 2-million family farms as the industrial revolution and job search caused families to exchange the farm for the cities. As such, those life experiences and lessons once learned on the farm are being replaced by a virtual world of comfort and technology.

The hardships and challenges that once encouraged perseverance and adaptability have been replaced by a new “dialed-in” reality, managed by thermostats, dish network, and fast food.

I present to you, camp—the final frontier!

Experience The Camp Community

Today’s camp introduces people to experiences that will not only produce positive traits, but leave a lifelong sense of satisfaction. Camp experiences come in different shapes and sizes, and all have unique characteristics.

The journey begins with a common core experience: community. While people have a sense of community in their everyday lives, such as school, work, or the neighborhood, the camp-community dynamic reaches further.

The value of communal living in a cabin or tent setting demands a social acceptance, dependence, and tolerance beyond that of any other interface. Within hours, this communal reality reveals those who possess higher or lower social skills and adaptability.

The residential component lasting a week or longer without interruption demands social order, requiring individuals to forsake old habits of self-promotion or reliance and work toward group accountability and harmony.

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