- May 20, 2022
- Takoma Park, Maryland
So you are personally acquainted with children between 2nd grade and eighth grade; which is the age group our camps serve; that would cheerfully tolerate wearing bells like those worn by Morris Dancers on their hiking trips. Really? OK. I myself have no experience with even one single child who would put up with wearing bells on their persons that would ring with every movement they made. These are not pet cats we're talking about. I find the idea of getting children to wear such a thing unworthy of serious consideration. The children would hate it with a purple passion and every one of them who was subjected to it would work rather hard over the following year to get their parents to promise that they would not be sent back to "that place" ever again.No, absolutely not enough. I'm sorry, I don't understand what the danger you perceive means? Does this danger have a name or is it some personal feeling that cannot be expressed in words?
How can children start running away if they are lost or are being looked for? Like a recent story with a tourist
Do you give them pre-training on what they need to do if they get lost? For example, make creases on twigs / notches as they go, or scatter breadcrumbs or other small objects, or rubbing against trees so theoretical search dogs can find them.
I can understand that children may run away from rescuers or other people if they are mentally unstable or autistic. If you have an autistic camp, then that might make a difference. Recently there was a story, a small autistic child got lost in the forest - he moved away from his parents while picking berries. They searched for him for 1,5 days, it turned out that he was sitting 300 meters from the place of his disappearance in a bush and was silent, not reacting to rescuers. The dogs that sniffed it out helped.
Dogs, by the way, are very useful in finding lost people. As far as I understand, your camp is mostly voluntary. It is quite possible to talk to volunteers from animal shelters and dog handlers, maybe someone has dogs with search abilities, which they could give you free of charge for the duration of the trips and then take them back. Of the costs here will be only food for dogs.
What follows is stuff, you may not want to read, about why we run the camps the way we do. If you should want to look at it just highlight it with your mouse to make it readable.
I prefer our present situation were the children all want to introduce their counselors to their parents on pickup day, drag their parents to meet the cook who had them make a special dish for a camp meal, show them something that they made while at camp, and are already soliciting a promise from their parents that they can come back with all of their friends next year. I enjoy hearing parents say to the cook "You got him to eat what?" And hear the cook say "First he helped cook it. Then he ate it." My daughter came home from her second year at camp and told us she was a vegetarian. We had never discussed that idea with her because we had assumed she was too young to take on that kind of idea. Neither of us are vegetarians. She had come to this conclusion herself after talking with her fellow campers about it. Our camps work really hard on the idea that every single person in the world is worthy of respect. I had not anticipated my daughter extending that idea to animals. Surprise! Neither of the 2 counselors in her cabin were vegetarians. A little group of 5 girls from her cabin came up with this idea themselves. I've known all 5 of these people as adults and none of them went back to being omnivorous. The camp experience is shaped to help campers think about such things for themselves, to treat everyone decently and respectfully, to look out for the needs of others just as quickly as they look out for their own needs. We get some startling results out of this approach. Almost all of our campers continue on into the Teen Adventure Program for high school aged youth. Since I have worked as a chaperon for the high school age year round learning program I have gotten to watch while they plan their own bimonthly retreats, obtain the use of a venue for those weekend gatherings, recruit their own program presenters, purchase their own food, cook it themselves, clean up after their own meals, conduct their own business meetings to organize their program and support each other through their high school years and onward into the Young Adult program, and leave every retreat sight better than they found it.
I have assisted members of our High School age program in discerning what they should do about the requirement that they register for the draft. Some choose not to do so and some choose to comply. We work hard to see to it that it is their decision. I've helped both young people and their parents go through the process of deciding to volunteer for military service. They all know of my Vietnam War Era experience of being threatened with imprisonment for refusing to obey unlawful orders during that war. They make the mistake one after another of assuming I'll talk them out of it. After going through his discernment process one of the guys I counseled with decided that it would not be right to stay safe at home, shielded by his family's better financial position from a need to go into the military to obtain money to go to college, while his classmates decided that was the only way that they would ever get the money for higher education. He volunteered as an Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician to clear away the Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)s that are set up by their adversaries to maim and kill others of his age who feel they have to go and fight in order to have a future. I spent his 2 years of combat service, while he was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army, praying he would return safe. He was brought to that decision by learning to respect both others and himself and part of that teaching occurred in our camping program.
Explanation ends here.
I think I'll look for other methods for keeping our campers safe then roping them to each other like firefighting pack stock that might bolt and run to their own destruction when they smell smoke nor will I hang bells on them as if they are dairy cows. It's all part of the package you see. While I support the camps in teaching them about respect for themselves and others I have to respect them as well.