Archive for the ‘Benefits of Summer Camp’ Category

Illuminations of the Winter Solstice

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Without the night, how can we appreciate the day?

4:41 p.m. until 7:15 a.m..  Fourteen hours and thirty-four minutes from sunset to sunrise…and that doesn’t even factor in the long, early morning shadow of Pikes Peak or the afternoon dusk as the sun drops below the ridgeline behind Big Spring around 3:30. On this longest night of the year, it’s dark and cold at camp, with snowflakes spinning down as the storm settles into the mountains to the west, but it’s beautiful…and good.

As Clark Strand wrote over the weekend in his New York Times Op-Ed piece, “Bring On The Dark: Why We Need the Winter Solstice,” we need this long night to remind us that night is “the natural corrective to that most persistent of all illusions: that human progress is the reason for the world.” Granted, without all of this manufactured illumination and technological progress, I would not be tapping out this post on a computer, but—instead—be huddled under the same blankets scribbling by candlelight.

Yet Strand’s cautionary tone also provides validation to those of us who have had the opportunity to eschew “progress” for the natural rhythm of the seasons. Who among us does not remember hustling around an alpine base camp at dusk (possibly because the batteries in our flashlight or headlamp died days before) preparing for an “early” bedtime simply because the sun had set? Or, even more magically, watching the campfire die down to embers and find ourselves speaking more and more quietly as the darkness enveloped our senses and revealed the stars.

Though the Winter Solstice is often called the first day of winter, for me, it represents the first step of the sun’s long journey back to the north. Right now, she is so far to the south, the shadows I cast as I walk trail far behind me, or sometimes stretch across the road completely. Over these next few months, the shadows will become shorter and shorter, bringing me back to the center, bringing me back to summer, bringing me back to myself. Yet my gratitude for the solstice is deep and solid, for without the dark, how can I celebrate the light?

Strand said these long nights were once for connecting with others and with yourself. Before electricity, people “told stories and, with so much night to work with, woke in the middle of it to a darkness so luxurious it teased visions from the mind and divine visitations that helped to guide their course through life.”

We know what he means, we have experienced it time and time again in the woods. Remember it now: you wake from a restless sleep caused by an errant pinecone in your left hip, you listen to the breathing of your tentmates, the rustling of nylon sleeping bags, the soft whump of a moment’s breeze on your tent fly, and you exhale. You push your mind beyond the tent, back to the laughter around the campfire, the faint taste of hot chocolate still in your mouth, and to the millions of stars above you. Around the campfire, someone said, “Isn’t it crazy that any one of those stars could have planets just like ours around them?”

As you look up, your mind begins to expand, trying to make sense of it, wondering if it is possible, if it is true. And someone else whispers,  “Some of those stars might not even be there anymore…what if we are just seeing the star’s light that is still traveling toward us over millions and millions of light years?” Your mind continues to stretch and your heart expands because this is an amazing moment with amazing people and you are so comfortable with yourself, with your friends, with this place that you can actually wonder, out loud, “what if?”

And then, you find a comfortable, simple silence together………until, “OOOOOOHHHHHH!” and everyone wishes quietly on the same shooting star, wishes quietly that this night will never end.

-Ariella Rogge-

Nothing is Simple and Alone

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

New Perspectives

When I think back on the best times of my life, I always end up thinking about summer camp.  My experience at camp truly shaped who I am today.  It helped me see the world in a new way.   As a camper, I learned that my view of the world was an internal, subjective interpretation.  The counselors and trip leaders didn’t just guide me into the wilderness, they guided me into a new way of seeing.

At Sanborn camps, there is a two day trip called the Lone Vigil, a little adventure that I signed up for when I was a kid at camp.  The trip is simple: a camper spends time alone in the wilderness, two days and one night…alone.  On other trips, the campers and counselors stay together, hike together, set up tents in a cluster, cook, eat, and sleep in a small group.  But not the Lone Vigil.  On that trip, the goal was solitude.  Campers are lead by their counselors into the woods, then after a mile or so, the group splits up and heads in different directions.  Everyone strikes out alone.

I can remember walking alone, feeling the weight of my pack filled with food, shelter, and provisions.  I was self-sufficient, hiking alone in the woods, nervous but confident.  I was armed with new skills learned in camp — the ability to read map and compass, the knowledge of fire safety, the tenants of leave-no-trace camping, and a good book.  I soon found my campsite, close to water but not too close.  I set up my tent and gathered wood.  The solitude was amazing.  I felt the wind in a new way, heard the birds more clearly.  I spent the entire afternoon alone, building camp alone, cooking and watching the sunset alone.

Solitude and Silence

So many emotions rolled through my mind and body.  I was excited, afraid, lonely, uplifted, and curious.  The hours ticked by in solitude, and my eyes began to open up and really see the woods.   Dappled sunlight. The idleness of a huge boulder. The paper-wind-chime music of an aspen grove.  Movement caught my eye, and I turned to see a group of deer staring back at me.  I felt like I was…part of it.

As darkness settled in, a bit of fear filled my young mind.  Alone in the woods all night?  Could I pull this off?  A welcomed visit from my counselor calmed my nerves.  He approached through the twilight with a bag of candy and a few fun stories.  He assured me that he was keeping an eye on me from a distance, not far away, not to worry.  The counselor walked off into the dusk, heading out to check on the other Lone Vigils.

The light faded, and I was alone with the night.  There were so many stars, countless tiny jewels.  The fear inside me melted away.  The limitless stars seemed to echo what my counselor said: I was safe.  As I faded off to sleep bundled in my bag, the cosmos kept me company.

I woke at first light, alone in the sunrise.  I watched the trees, was the trees.  A golden eagle circled above me, then dove down the wind into a field.  I had never seen a eagle before, I swear it was bigger than my dog back home. The eagle blurred in the grass, then took back to the air with a rodent locked in its talons.  Breakfast.  Good idea.  I got up and cooked myself some oatmeal, thinking.  I’d never seen anything like that, the circle of life, the hunt of a golden eagle, the pulse of the planet.  It was a natural, personal, adventurous experienced that was only possible at summer camp.

First light

Years later, when I became a counselor at Sanborn, I learned how the trip worked.  I learned that the counselor was indeed always near by.  Even though I felt completely alone, an adult was just over the ridge, just behind the aspen grove, always watching and making sure I was safe.  But when I was a kid, I didn’t know that for sure.  All I knew was the change I went through.

On camp trips like that, I learned to respect the earth, because we are the earth.  The survival of the human race depends on nature.  We were born with nature, we are part of it all.  For me, it was my time at summer camp that helped me see that.  Nature is always with us.  Even on a Lone Vigil, we are never alone.

-M.Huffman-

Happy, Healthy and Moving

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Staff Gaga Ball...Practicing Best Practice!

Just yesterday, there was a piece on NPR that basically said our teenagers are getting fatter.  Based on the nation’s recognition of the childhood obesity epidemic and PSA’s from the NFL, the First Lady, and a wide variety of Sesame Street characters, our kids should be moving more right?

Maybe.

As the pendulum has swung, and children have been spending less and less time outdoors (this generation has spent less time in the outdoors than any generation in human history)—I will posit—that they have actually FORGOTTEN how to play.

During a recent training session with the High Trails Ridge Leaders, we actually had to look up the rules to “Kick the Can” (granted, it was because there were competing theories…and we realized it is a much easier game to play in an urban environment where there are a lot of cars and basement stairwells to hide in).  Active play has been endangered by hyper-vigilant playground monitors, fear of strangers, children’s access to and us of technology, and a lack of adults who model outdoor play.

Yet, at camp, all of that changes.  Kids walk everywhere.  They hike, they bike, they look at the stars instead of screens, they carry saddles long distances (ask any Sanborn Junior camper what is the hardest thing they do at camp and it is carrying those gigantic, awkward saddles).  It isn’t hazing, it is helping—we help these campers recognize the potential of their bodies.

Our staff are wildly active—pick-up Frisbee games after every meal, Gaga ball, riding bikes to commute to work, walking up and down the High Trails hill and back and forth from the ridges to the lodge and all of these crazy games.  During our afternoon training, our comprehensive pack-packing clinic was a bit rushed because we couldn’t stop playing games (my new personal favorite is a tag game where everyone is trying to tag everyone on the backs of their knees, and when the person who tagged you gets out, then you are back in again…ran and laughed so hard I thought I was going to throw up…which was NOT an unpleasant feeling in this case).

Adults love to run and play, too, and when we model it for our own children, students and campers…AND TEENS, we WILL help the pendulum shift back to an understanding that play might be the job of childhood, but it is a requirement of of healthy, happy adulthood, too.

B Strong, Find Your Community

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

I Zigga Zumba?

Last night, the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series.  The media celebrates the Cinderella “From Worst to First” baseball story; the players celebrate the fans and the city; and the Team Manager, John Farrell, celebrates the players.

The Boston Marathon bombing was tragic and terrifying, yet the story that has unfolded as the Red Sox moved toward the pennant was anything but.  Winning a world championship in America’s game with a motley crew of bearded dudes and players who hail from Aruba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Japan, and all over the US sounds both incredible and a bit like Opening Day at Big Spring.

When it comes to describing the way the team worked together, the word that we keep hearing is “chemistry.”  I would argue that it should be “community.”  That is what these men have, and they have it because—from day one of spring training—they pushed themselves to be the best team they could be.  That is why they were incredibly fun to watch both during the season and in post-season play.  One could tell that they truly enjoyed each other.  From the beard pulling to the varied personnel executing key hits to the hilarious head butting on first base to their individual passion for the game, these men created community through tradition, ritual, irreverence, hard work, and their collective desire to support one another.  It was this community which carried them through mishaps, errors, and challenges into first place in the American League…and now, into history as the 2013 World Series champions.

Why, as a nation, are we so enamored?  Why do we love this 95-years-in-the-making story so much?

Because, at our cores, we understand that community and a sense of belonging makes us more responsible and caring.  Because we understand that supporting one another when times are tough, or tragic, is more important than our individual day-to-day stressors.  Because we understand that community can, and should, include people from all over the world who are invested in a common purpose.  Because we need to see grit and quality character modeled regularly so we can internalize and realize our own authentic selves.  Because we love the inside jokes, the fun, the joy, and the playfulness of people who don’t take themselves too seriously and simply love the game.  Because we appreciate giving, respectful, model leaders who have the class to recognize and applaud the fierce strength of their opponents before the press corps can ask a single question about their victory.  Because we want to see perseverance, effort, trust and unselfish teamwork be rewarded.  And all of this because we want to root for the underdog.

At one point in our lives, each of us was an underdog.  And many of us were, and are, fortunate enough to have a community of unique individuals that celebrated our mundane, sublime, monumental and ridiculous accomplishments.  We often find ourselves at our most “underdog” moments when we feel powerless, voiceless, unmoored and lost.  For some, that might have been in middle school, for others—right now.  Yet, when we found—or find– “our people” “our community” “our place”—suddenly we had and have the support to be more confident, strong and directed.

Community.  That is both the lesson and legacy of the 2013 Boston Red Sox and the realized vision of Laura and Sandy Sanborn: when we can come together, connect face-to-face, overcome obstacles and simply play…amazing things will happen.

Congratulations, Boston.  Thanks for modeling one heck-of-a-fun sense of community.

~Ariella Rogge

Disclaimer:  The opinions (and overt team support) expressed in this blog post belong to the author who wrote the blog post and don’t necessarily reflect the views (or preferred team/teams) of the organization and its members(We love you, too, St. Louis)

Sanborn Alums in Action: Rediscovering the Great American Prairie Project

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

From Montana to Missouri on horseback, for grassland conservation

Tenacity. Persevarance.  Spirit. Unbridled adventure. A deep respect for the natural world and the lessons it teaches you: those of humbleness, responsibility, and connectedness.

These are the things that you carry with you after spending a summer (or 4) at Sanborn. As a camper for many summers, and then as an assistant counselor, I left Sanborn with a sense that things that at first glance seem undoable (climbing Mt. Princeton at dawn, taking 15 8 year olds on a backcountry expedition, cleaning the dining hall after 150 campers pass through its Sunday buffet) are achievable when they coincide with an equal dose of determination and fun.

It is impossible to drive down the dirt road in Florissant after a summer at High Trails without discovering an intense respect and appreciation for the vast beauty and explosive grandeur of the natural world. You gain this at Sunday Vespers, as you sit and watch the sky light up in flame and paint a snow flecked Pikes Peak delicate pinks and fierce reds. You gain it when you listen to the clash and crackle of Aspen leaves around you. You begin to develop an environmental ethic. My own includes a sense of responsibility to be a thoughtful and engaged steward of this land and earth.  To look at the world around me and inquire what my place is within it.

With this in mind, I have developed a project, along with my colleague Sebastian Tsocanos, that aims to put this ethic into action. We will traverse the North American Great Plains on horseback to increase public understanding and appreciation of a region that is absolutely pivotal to conservation efforts in North America. Through education and outreach, from both scientific and artistic perspectives, we will engage a wide audience in an investigation of the issues that affect this vitally important region. We will explore what our legacy as stewards of this land has been and what it might become, shaking hands with the landscape and the people who call it home.

We will produce a documentary film that will share the beauty of the landscape and the perspectives of the people we meet along the way. It will be used as an educational tool to promote greater local and national involvement in determining the future of an ecologically imperative region.  After we complete the ride, we will present our film at high schools, universities, and other groups, giving talks nationwide promoting conservation of this enormously important region and challenging communities to become involved in its story. In addition, we will exhibit our work at galleries around the country, combining art, conservation, community, and education to deepen ecological understanding and appreciation of the natural world.

Temperate grasslands are the least protected biome on earth, and our own are disappearing at an alarming rate. Our project aims to increase understanding of their fragile state and volatile future and contribute to the growing momentum of grasslands conservation today.

The project requires support–financial and otherwise. For the financial aspect, we have started a fundraising campaign with IndieGoGo, and hope you’ll contribute. You can learn more about our project and make a donation at our Indiegogo page. Please check out it out at: www.indiegogo.com/projects/rediscovering-the-great-american-prairie

Your contributions are so very appreciated, and we’ve arranged some great perks for donors, including photographic prints, and horseshoes thrown from the road!

Learn more about the project and follow us on the road at our website:www.RediscoverThePrairie.org

Please help us make it happen by passing our Indiegogo link on to family, friends, colleagues, and campers. Tweet about it, post it on your Facebook, talk to friends about it. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and support and we can’t wait to share our stories with you from the road!

-Robin Walter, High Trails Camper 97,98,99, 2006; High Trails Staff 09-

Winter Is Here…What Do We Do?

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Fly-tying during Stalking Education in the Wild 2012

There are two questions a camp director dreads: 1. Why does toilet in Kinnikinnik look like a Yellowstone geyser? 2. What do you DO in the winter?

Both questions require thoughtful responses (but the first question might also require a plunger and a biohazard suit).  Beyond hiring the 120 broadly talented seasonal staff members, recruiting 600 unique and fantastic campers, connecting with our alums, designing new programs like the Sanborn Semester, organizing mission-centric educational opportunities like Stalking Education in the Wild or our annual No Child Left Inside Family Fun Day, hosting the ACA Rocky Mountain Section regional conference, sending birthday cards (over 10,000 annually), and operating The Nature Place and High Trails Outdoor Education Center, we are committed leaders and educators in the field of youth development and in the camp profession.

As the culture shifts, camp is taking its rightful role as an important component in the year round education of every child.  COEC Board Member Rod Lucero said in a recent article in Camping Magazine, “One concept that emerges from most every camp activity schedule is the idea of “fun.” While “fun for fun’s sake” is a worthy goal, I would contend that fun with an articulated focus on education transcends the camp experience and extends to the pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade classrooms.”  Sandy and Laura Sanborn believed in “fun and adventure with a purpose.” And we, like Rod, believe that “the purpose is education, and as the camp has evolved and grown, this mantra has remained fundamental to every aspect of the good work being done there.”

One of the 101 Nature Activities: Find a Tree Hike

Everything begins at home and we are committed to professional development of our year round and seasonal staff.  Through conferences, training sessions, and skill development workshops, our staff not only represents a seasoned group of camp professionals, we actually lead, teach, and design many training sessions for others in the camp community.

The National Convention of the American Camp Association was held in Atlanta in mid-February, and we participated in full force.  Executive Director, Jane Sanborn, was the program chairperson for this year’s conference (as well as for the upcoming 2013 National Conference in Dallas, TX) and worked on an outstanding educational program for many months.  Chris, Elizabeth, and Ariella led educational sessions at the conference. Mike, as President of the Rocky Mountain Region of the American Camp Association, participated in all of the leadership events held at the conference. COEC Board member Rod Lucero presented one of the keynote addresses, and Julie, David, and Carlotta attended the conference.

Additionally, Jane, Elizabeth, and Ariella have written curricula and participated as webinar panel experts for the ACA’s e-Institute.  The ACA just released a 15 hour online Certificate of Added Qualification for Middle Managers, and Ariella was one of the four writers of the curriculum.  Jane is the chair of the ACA’s Children, Nature and Camps Committee and co-authored the best-selling, “101 Nature Activities for Kids” with Elizabeth.

Then there is the hard skill training: BC is a AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) Certified Top and Bottom Managers and supervise our rock-climbing staff; we train using the most current ACCT Ropes Course certification model; all of our summer trip leaders have WMI/NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification; we have an on-site Red Cross Lifeguard course; we require our peer supervisors (ridge leaders, wranglers, kitchen coordinators) to attend a specialized Supervisor Workshop; and all of our trip leaders go through a comprehensive Trip Leader and 15 Passenger Van Driver Training…plus all staff are certified in CPR and Standard First Aid and participate in our 10 day Staff Week training. This training includes everything from the latest in youth development research to experiential teaching techniques.  Whew!

Winter=Time to Turn Our BIG Dreams into Reality!

We are invested in the experience and our own continued growth and development.  We are actively involved in building a more professional camp and educational experience for ALL children through our staff development and the variety of outreach and educational sessions we lead.

This is a big part of our “purpose” and it is one we take pride in.   And with Jane repeating as program chair for the 2013 American Camp Association National Conference, we will continue to take a professional lead in the camping and youth development industry.

So we actually do work in the wintertime…maybe that is why summer is so darn incredible!

Adventure: Summer Camp

Friday, October 19th, 2012

A REAL Adventure

La Plata, Ouray, Huron, Democrat, Massive, Elbert, Oxford, Belford, Princeton, Antero, Sherman, Silver Heels, Quandary, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Buffalo Peaks, Pikes Peak, Shavano, Tabaguache. Campers from across the country and the world climbed these 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks when they came to camp looking for adventure last summer. Boys and girls age 8-16 stood on top of the world; saw a landscape covered in a sea of snow and rock; and relished an achievement that was uniquely their own and one that will change the trajectory of their lives.

Climbing a mountain is a real accomplishment and an exciting adventure. To crawl out of a warm sleeping bag before dawn and face the brisk morning temperatures is an act of courage in itself. The long climb upward, step-by-step, requires perseverance, commitment, and teamwork. With each step, a child asks himself, “Can I do this?” Perhaps there is deep doubt, but he keeps going. He keeps going because, somewhere, deep down, he WANTS to climb a mountain. He climbs not only because “it is there” but because he innately seeks experiences which help him grow and learn.

The Alpine tundra is beautiful, dotted by tiny forget-me-nots and other flowers. Often we are fortunate enough to spot marmots, ptarmigans and other mountain wildlife. The best moment of all, though, is stepping onto the summit and catching a first glimpse of the spectacular vistas. Climbers always gain a well-deserved feeling of pride, and the self-confidence that comes from “making it to the top”.

Overcoming Fear, Building True Self-Confidence

The best part of this self-confidence? It is completely self-generated. Sure, the counselors and trip leaders encouraged you and the rest of the group…but no one carried you up that mountain…you did it yourself. You overcame your fear, your doubt, and your insecurities—and you climbed a REAL mountain! As a 2012 parent said about her son, “He has learned to live and survive on his own and learned to “figure it out” vs. waiting for someone to do it for him. As a result, he’s much more worldly, self-sufficient, and confident in everything he does.”

Climbing a mountain provides so many benefits for young people. Youth development research tells us that young people need challenging and engaging activities and learning experiences in order to grow into confident, happy adults. Reaching the summit requires hard work, determination and a lot of self-discipline. Mountain climbing stretches perspectives as well as legs, and it takes place in some of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth.

Unforgettable triumph!

There were many additional adventures and challenges in camp over the summer, and other groups reached their own summits by spending four or five days in the saddle on long horse trips; still others backpacked for four-days in the stunning Tarryall Mountains or traversed ridge after ridge on both the Colorado Trail and Wheeler Trails. Some stretched themselves by camping out, by saddling a horse, or by rock scrambling to the top of a high crag.

We are looking forward to another summer of adventure, challenge, success and growth. We hope you will join us.

October News Update

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Follow the Yellow-leafed Road

We are enjoying spectacular Indian Summer days here at camp.  The golden Aspen are almost at their peak and are stunning against the bright blue sky.  We’ve been spying on the herd of elk at Potts Spring and have also seen deer, porcupines, wild turkeys, bobcats, and, of course, the fat black Abert squirrels.  Many of our summer birds have headed south and the year-round bird residents are beginning to show up at our feeders more regularly.

Our High Trails Outdoor Education Center program with sixth graders from District 20 in Colorado Springs has been underway since mid-September. We also hosted a “No Child Left Inside” open house last Saturday and were very happy to have many local families join us for a day of hikes and nature-based activities led by our staff.   We are very committed to doing everything we can to help young people connect with the natural world.  The benefits are enormous—as Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder” says:  “Children who have a personal connection with nature are happier, healthier, and smarter.”

On October 12-14, we are looking forward to hosting “Stalking Education in the Wild”, our outdoor education workshop for teachers, camp staff, naturalists and others who work with young people.  The workshop includes sessions on everything from geology and outdoor teaching techniques to creative writing and international folk dance.

At The Nature Place, Rob Jolly and his staff are busy working with the University of Denver on a team-building and leadership development program for DU’s MBA students.  We have collaborated with DU on this program, where every MBA student spends a long weekend at The Nature Place, for over a decade.  The groups rock climb, participate in an orienteering course, and work through many team building scenarios, all of which teach values-based leadership.

The horses are grazing happily in Olin Gulch and High Tor, where late summer rains helped to produce some tasty green grass.  Soon, they will head out to winter pasture at Fishcreek.

We are most excited about opening enrollment for another season of camp.  The summer of 2013 will be our 65th and we are looking forward to sharing adventures, friendships and lots of fun.  We have already begun enrollment, and additional enrollment information will be going out throughout the month of October.  If you know of interested families, we’ll be happy to send our brochure and DVD.  They can also request information from our website.  We hope you are enjoying the photos from the summer of 2012 which are appearing each month on our website.

We hope you are having a fantastic Autumn!

Adventures In the High Country

Friday, June 29th, 2012

June 28, 8:00 PM

We have had a super day at camp and the High Trails Lodge was extremely exuberant at dinner as many of our trips returned to camp and everyone was eager to share their adventures.  They all spent time in some of Colorado’s most beautiful wilderness areas, many of them climbed mountains, and all enjoyed the comradeship of their peers and counselors.  A few trips are still out tonight and will return tomorrow, and then everyone will be here together over the weekend.

There were only about 30 campers eating dinner at the Big Spring Lodge tonight because most of the boys are on overnight trips.  These boys have some super adventures planned for tomorrow including an all-day climb of Mt. Princeton and an all-day Sanborn Spring tank Bomber Hike, a major undertaking to hike to all of the 30 spring tanks on our property.

The Junior Campers in both camps are camped out tonight on camp property and are enjoying this overnight adventure.

Firefighters made good progress on the Waldo Canyon Fire today and reached 10% containment.  They are beginning to discuss the possible opening of Highway 24 so hopefully that will take place in the not-too-distant future.

More news tomorrow…Jane

Evolving Education: Exploring Nature Together

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

In a recent Edutopia column, Mark Phillips writes about schools, happiness, and nature.

Sounds about right.

Phillips on Nature as a Teacher and at-risk students:

While most adolescents aren’t identified as “at-risk,” there is considerable evidence that an increasing and significant number are stressed, depressed, and/or emotionally detached. Adolescent suicide levels are much higher than they should be. Sleep deprivation is a significant problem. And more and more kids are more connected to their computers than they are to the world outside. Schools and parents would do well to consider that educational programs with a wilderness component could provide both compensation and amelioration of some of the negative effects of contemporary culture.

And on the Need for Connection:

Too often our schools have nothing to do with character or place and are part of that anonymous monotonous landscape. Too many of our children are more familiar with the mall or town square than they are with the woods that may lie only a few miles away. In my own San Francisco Bay Area, I never cease to be surprised by how many inner city kids have never been in the wilderness, though there are wilderness areas less than a half hour away. And in the heavily wooded county in which I live, few schools integrate those areas into the educational experience.

Mark Phillips is a columnist for the Marin Independent Journal and the The Answer Sheet. He volunteers with the California Film Institute’s Educational Outreach Program and serves on the Board of the Buck Institute for Education. You can find him @MarkPSF on Twitter or on Facebook