You are probably familiar with the ‘yin yang’ symbol. It represents how two seemingly opposite ideas, forces, or what-have-you, may actually be interconnected or complimentary. Like fire and marshmallows, right?!
Believe it or not, this dynamic perfectly describes the interplay between the traditional summer camp of our past and present and the technological needs and challenges of our future.
Technological advances have been enormous over the past several centuries. These advances and won’t stop coming. You’ve experienced AI phone receptionists, dreamt about drone delivered foods, and used auto-spelling daily. Our fridges can now order food, IBM’s Deep Blue can diagnosis medical ailments, and cars can drive themselves.
There are a lot of really cool things happening out there, boys and girls.
Camp to the Rescue
But, do you know what all these advances need to keep going forward? The good ol’ sklls taught at camp: building communities, learning from failure, creativity, confidence, and collaboration among others.
Without the human centered skills of the past, our futures will not be as bright. The pace of change will stutter and take directions that may not be in our best interest. Do you want a voice in the future before you? Then start thinking creatively, reach out to build connections, stay curious, and learn from your mistakes.
When your project, idea, or attempt doesn’t come out your way, instead of ignoring the result, lean into it with curiosity. Figure out the inputs (or lack thereof) that caused the poor result, make the adjustments, and try again. We practice this approach in robotics, at back country cooking, in gymnastics, and at waterski all the time.
When you feel lost or at whit’s end, reach out and ask for help and different ideas. If you can’t get through to that kid or are stuck on the wall or have no idea how to design that welcome sign… you reach out to those around you for ideas, suggestions, and help.
We do it all summer. Why not try it home, too? Here’s the funny thing about asking for help: you’ll connect with someone else and make them feel both needed and useful. It’s a nice feeling to enjoy!
‘No way! They’ll laugh at me,’ you say? Well, then they are showing they aren’t very friendly or interested. There are lots of people who are – go try again! Courage, young camper. Courage!
The Good News
Want to know the best thing about camp? You are being prepared to tackle the future with gusto, with skill, and with joy… and you don’t even know it because you are having too much fun.
Let’s keep the fun times going!
PS – If you’d like to listen to a really smart person talk about this, please enjoy the Campfire Conversation with the American Camp Association CEO, Tom Rosenberg. If you care about preparing our young people for the future, it will be a useful 30 minutes!