As I have come to learn, through reading books and speaking with Chinese parents, the American summer camp experience holds great allure for them for a few reasons. Among them, and probably the most significant, is that the Chinese education system, though often lauded the world over, is based almost entirely on preparation for- and studying to – tests; in math, science and language.
However, in that system there appears to be little to no emphasis on social skills development, critical thinking or problem solving opportunities. And that is where American summer camp comes in. Summer camp is a the most fun and life-affirming laboratory you could find to develop these skills and have these meaningful and growthful experiences.
In the course of a typical day at camp, while playing ball, swimming, chowing down in the dining hall, playing cards or singing a song, the chances our campers have to develop self-confidence, think for themselves and push through challenges are many. And they come within the cocoon of support provided by caring, intelligent staff members.
As I spoke to my audiences in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the things we have come to expect from camp and the things we know that camp provides were met with nods of recognition and excitement from Chinese parents. What we have been doing – with great success – for well over one hundred years in the U.S. is now making its way halfway across the world.
And we are excited to do it all over again this summer in Warrensburg! While camps are merely small specks on a Google Map, their influence and impact grow ever greater as more children around the world have the opportunity to partake.
Much love to all of you,
Tony, Emily, Evan and Violet