Category Archives: Dr. Chris Thurber

Hollow Silk Balls

Unknown Dipteran with Air Balloon

Some species of balloon flies attract potential mates by presenting them with a little silk ball. Forget that a healthy camp experience has nothing to do with mating … and hopefully little to do with flies and other insects. My point is that receiving a package is fun on all branches of the phylogenetic tree. Never mind that the male balloon fly’s little silk ball is empty. It’s enough to grab the, um, attention of female balloon flies. And that’s … Continue reading

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Are You Gonna Eat That?

Healthy eating attitudes start at a young age.
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Said one way, the question, “Are you gonna eat that?” is an informal query among friends that is the chummy equivalent of “Can I finish that?” You might hear it at a diner among best friends. Although you’d never lean over and pose the question to the queen at a state dinner, the question is benign in a casual context. Said a different way, more like: “Are you gonna eat that?” the question is a common example of disordered eating … Continue reading

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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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