Category Archives: Writers

Bullying Redux

Camping professionals have been taking a systematic, proactive role in preventing bullying since the 1929. 
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Bullying receives a lot of press, especially schools adopt anti-bullying programs and states pass anti-bullying laws. Witnessing school shootings that were, in part, retaliation for relentless bullying may have increased our empathy toward both bullies and their targets, as well as our motivation to change. But tragic events, additions to curricula, and press coverage have all made it seem as if bullying is new. It might surprise you to learn that camping professionals have been taking a systematic, proactive role … Continue reading

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How Do We Treat Each Other?

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This was the question the leadership director at one of North America’s oldest overnight camps asked the staff one evening. It seemed to be an inane question, given the label of “brotherhood” that the staff had given itself for decades. But the silence in the room suggested legitimate soul-searching had begun. The leadership director, Tom Giggi, was also silent, prompting even more serious reflection. (One of Tom’s strengths is asking good questions; another is his ability to wait for thoughtful … Continue reading

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What’s Left After A Loss

Ashes of memories.

My best friends and I combed through the sooty remains of the log cabin and wondered: What’s left? The fire had been so hot that it melted the window glass and incinerated pretty much everything else. We found the cast iron woodstove, the porcelain sink and tub, and the soundboard from the upright piano. (You can see it lying in the rubble there in the photo.) We’d started coming to Sam’s cabin one year after Will’s 18-month-old died of a … Continue reading

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Finding Beauty in an Ashtray

Anything creative and pleasing to the senses can be art.
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“What is it?” asked my cabin leader, gently. We both eyed my clay creation as it emerged from the camp kiln, glazed and cooled. I was 12, so I hadn’t made a something; I’d made an anything. It had just been fun to pinch and push the clay for our hour-long arts-and-crafts period. Now came the hard part: I needed to identify my project. “Hmm…” I thought out loud. Finally, my cabin leader said confidently, “Oh, I see. It’s an ashtray.” And there it was. The … Continue reading

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My Three Favorite Things to Do with a 3×5 Index Card

The ever-versatile Index Card. Used wisely, it can build a sense of belonging, cure homesickness, and keep you grounded. Who knew?
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This time of year, I use a lot of 3×5 index cards to prop up the legs on LCD projectors. In the past, I’ve used them to shim stair treads, prop doors open, jot to-do lists and outline articles. The humble cardstock rectangle can also serve some powerful educational functions, three of which I’d like to share with you in today’s Week-Ender. #1 The Bunk Nametag The infamous Name Game has many variations, all designed to increase familiarity among campers … Continue reading

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