5. You'll support Camps Connect and its programs and services for children
Camps Connect rents its properties and facilities for groups to enjoy throughout the year and to support our mission of providing a summer camp experience for over 500 boys and girls each summer. Created as the joint venture between
Catholic Youth Organization Camps and St. Vincent DePaul Camps, Camps Connect makes a valuable impact on the quality of life for the children and families we serve.
4. You'll be active at camp
As concerns for our declining level of physical activity continue to climb in this culture of technological connectivity it is very important for children and adults alike to remain active. Physical activity can:
When your group is at camp you have every chance to be physically active. There are games to be played, hikes to take, adventure climbing, swimming, and so much more to discover.
3. You can deepen your communication skills
Through the community of a camp experience your group will practice many social skills. You'll build a sense of community by sharing a common living and dining space, as well as helping duties, and quality time. Throughout your time at camp you will experience cooperation with others, listen to others, and witness the value of honest communication.
2. You can unplug from technology
When you "unplug" at camp you'll receive the full benefits of a nature connection!
How long have you gone without playing or working with technology? Do you ever think you need a break from it all? Camp offers a place where you and your group can come, be unplugged, and experience real people, real emotions, real activities, and face to face communication. You'll remember that there is a lot to do outside of technology and a lot of great ways to connect with people through nature!
1. You'll be able to renew, refresh, and restore yourself for a better life!
During your time at camp your group will remember what its like to take a deep breath, find joy again, and feel the stress of life melt away. You can be renewed, refreshed, and restored to a better you!
True peace and reflection is increasingly difficult in today’s modern world. With the distractions of social media, our busy schedules, and the pressures of today, the increasing “noise” can keep us and our children from hearing God’s voice.
The NSYR reports that young people are interested in a genuine experience of the transcendent and in a faith that relates to their daily lives.
“Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our children's health (and also, by the way, in our own).” ― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” ― St. Francis of Assisi
“…To find room in our cultural context for the encounter with Christ, with Christian life and with the life of faith is very difficult. Young people are in great need of support to really be able to find this path." ― Feb. 22, 2007 / Pope Benedict XVI
Let us provide your family, parish, or youth group with the perfect natural outdoor setting to relax, unwind, and reconnect with each other and God. Research tells us that the need for youth ministries to provide opportunities for Catholic youth to connect with their faith in a real and engaging way is staggering. (NFCYM Research: NSYR Catholic Data)
At Camps Connect we offer the perfect setting for a relaxing retreat, conference, or youth event, as well as high-energy activity options for any youth group! Located just 2 hours North of Detroit on the beautiful Lake Huron shoreline!
With four camps to choose from we can meet the unique needs of your next group gathering.
Reprinted with Permission from Daniel Crockett. Originally Posted: 22/08/2014 11:56 BST Updated: 22/08/2014 11:59 BST at www.huffintonpost.co.uk @dancrockett
By Daniel Crockett
Writing the Wild
Something is amiss and we can't quite put our finger on what. It seems that the further our society progresses, the more disenfranchised we feel. The hyper-connectivity of social media (which has its own potential) leaves us cold and over-informed, saturated with unwanted information and more aware than ever of the injustices of the world. It seems that the more virtually connected we get, the more disconnected we become, both from each other but also from our communities. I believe that a necessary backlash to this trend is a large-scale reconnection with nature that has the ability to transcend previous environmental movements and reshape our world. Moreover, I believe this undercurrent is gaining momentum and influencing every element of our lives. It's a revolution of belonging.
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, the curator and co-author of a book called Spiritual Ecology, summed it up by saying: "until we go to the root of our image of separateness, there can be no healing." For many people, this 'image of separateness' is permanent. The idea that they could be connected to a wider environment is completely entrenched. Technology, we seem to believe, remains the solution. Yet as Nancy Dess of the American Psychological Association states: "none of the new communication technologies involve human touch; they all tend to place us one step removed from direct experience." However, my belief is that through connectivity, we have a powerful opportunity to learn. That is, to recognise authenticity. Neurologist Frank Wilson, author of The Hand, identifies the problem: "These young people are smart, they grew up with computers, they were supposed to be superior - but now we know that something's missing."
Cultural stories have an incredibly powerful influence on shaping society. As the philosopher Mark Rowlands says, "Humans are the animals that believe the stories they tell about themselves." At this stage, many believe that we are between stories. We have been fed the myth of progress, of advancement, of increased technology. Yet what we have found is growing dissatisfaction with late-stage capitalism as a means to answer any substantial questions. And objectionable treatment of planet, of other humans, of animals are all now laid bare by social media. As Thomas Berry said, we are still 'between stories.' The importance of telling appropriate stories is best summed up by biologist and Biophilia author E.O. Wilson who stated: "A culture creates its present and therefore its future through the stories its people tell, the stories they believe, and the stories that underlie their actions. The more consistent a culture's core stories are with biological and physical reality, the more likely its people are to live in a way compatible with ecological rules and thereby persist." Currently, we aren't even close.
As Chellis Glendinning pointed out: "we split our consciousness, repress whole arenas of experience, and shut down our full perception of the world." And at no point is this more obvious than in the rise of social media. I believe we use social media to connect with the world, seeking to soothe a misplaced sense of longing we can't quite understand. Similarly, the entirety of celebrity culture is based on a fundamental human yearning for acceptance. The private universes we are taught to inhabit serve core underlying business models. Stanley and Loy said: "By glorifying self-concern as never before, consumerism generates a mental environment of endless competition. It undermines empathy, altruism and cooperation. The dominant institution of our age is no longer religion, government or academia. It is the global business corporation." The great undoing of our communities serves the few, not the many.
The greatest fear of disconnection with nature, and the widest response thus far, seems to be for children. At some point, society separates our young people from the natural world, reinforcing a doctrine that has been evolving for hundreds of years. There's a transition point, before which the poet Anita Barrows confirms; "the infant has an awareness not only of human touch, but of the touch of the breeze on her skin, variations in light and colour, temperature, texture, sound." Once we are walking and talking, the natural world appears to us in its full faculty. Philosopher David Abram, the founder of Wild Ethics, defines how we experience the world: "humans are tuned for relationship. The eyes, the skin, the tongue, ear and nostrils - all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness."
The response to this paucity in our society is starting to be clearly recognised. Pioneer writers such as Richard Louv (author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle) recognized that something was deeply wrong and started planning solutions. In America, the Child and Nature Network operates under the vision of: "A world in which all children play, learn and grow with nature in their everyday lives." Louv, who coined the term Nature-Deficit Disorder, co-founded their Nature Rocks initiative. Meanwhile, in the UK, Project Wild Thing stands tall as the social organisation reconnecting children with nature.
Yet if children are the most obviously affected, this speaks volumes about our society, and how nature deficit most adults truly are. Thomas Berry made it clear that humans actually need to "identify with the nonhuman." He firmly believed that children should be the guide to how our universe is experienced, but what about us adults? The strategic health advisor to Natural England, Dr. William Bird, has long been on record pointing out the connections between health and nature for children and adults alike. Adolescence and rites of passage into adulthood are forgotten. Paul Shepard made it clear that: "Western peoples are separated by many generations from decisions by councils of the whole, small-group nomadic life with few possessions, highly developed initiation ceremonies, natural history as every person's vocation, a total surround of non-human-made (or "wild") otherness with spiritual significance, and the "natural" way of mother and infant. All these are strange to us because we are no longer competent to live them - although that competence is potentially in each of us."
I believe that this movement (whose many voices remain disparate) has the ability to unite a new generation, to dispel (to paraphrase Vaughan-Lee) our "image of separateness." And the reason for this has to do with our own shared identity as children, something we all once were. George Mackay Brown puts it well: "We were all poets, and have squandered our inheritance like the prodigal son. But we have kept enough back to remember how immensely rich we were once, in our childhood, when poetry flowed in unchecked through our senses." George Monbiot brings it back to the heart of the issue in his book Feral: "Of all the world's creatures, perhaps those in greatest need of rewilding are our children. The collapse of children's engagement with nature has been even faster than the collapse of the natural world."
Wide-open spaces were my childhood and surfing has taken me to wilderness all over the world in search of empty waves. The wild is a voice that never stops whispering. It enters your pores by osmosis, and once it's under your skin, good luck forgetting. The wild haunts the imagination, calling you back to places of vast sky and fast-running light, where solitude hunts for you and the edges of the world get ragged. These empty places are mirrors; they reflect back everything of yourself. They are teachers too, of a thousand lessons beyond anything our hands have made. Out there time stops walking, takes on different hues.
So what are we looking at here? The Great Turning as identified by Joanna Macy, a final push into the Ecozoic Era described by Thomas Berry, a mindful revolution of consciousness as advocated by the unlikely figure of Russell Brand? Neil Evernden highlighted the potential: "the really subversive element in ecology rests not on any of its more sophisticated concepts, but upon its basic premise: inter-relatedness." Vaclav Havel went one step further: "without a global revolution in human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our being as humans."
Being green in the United Kingdom still attracts a sort of stigma. I believe that the movement outlined here transcends the doom-and-gloom environmentalism of my lifetime and offers great potential. I also believe this ideology is leaking into the way we conduct business and govern our society. As Gus Speth, a US Advisor on climate change (must be a harrowing job) said: "I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don't know how to do that." Therefore, more than ever, it comes down to you and I, to us.
Follow Daniel Crockett on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dancrockett
What Are Your Thoughts?
Has your experience at camp helped you or your children reconnect with nature? Comment below!
Allowing kids to play in an unstructured, natural atmosphere is a valuable component in any camp program.
According to Tom Jacobs' article, The Value of Unstructured Playtime for Kids, "Free play allows children to develop the flexibility needed to adapt to changing circumstances and environments—an ability that comes in very handy when life becomes unpredictable as an adult."
Free unstructured play helps children build a wide range of skills necessary for success in school and out, from making friends and negotiating to problem solving, thinking creatively, and practicing self control. Parents that send their kids to camp are take a solid step to ensure that they have plenty of time to get out there and play, especially during the more leisurely summer months.
Here's How We Do it at Camps Connect
What Kids Can Learn
The advantages your child gains from play may seem a mystery when he's tearing through the yard with sticks in hand, but he's growing in mind, body, and spirit by leaps and bounds:
Character virtues. Children develop a unique sense of resiliency from being creative. While finishing a stick tower, for example, they may encounter a moment when the tower refuses to stand. It may even topple a few times. By trying again and again, kids learn about perseverance and gain courage and confidence in their own problem-solving abilities.
Social skills. Research shows that make-believe games provide kids with opportunities to learn about group dynamics. Give kids of almost any age a ball and a few miscellaneous objects for instance, and they'll create their own game, and in the process hone their ability to collaborate, cooperate, lead, empathize, and control impulses.
Physical development. Babies learn how to crawl, to stand, and eventually to walk. You watched your preschooler figure out how to hang from the first rung on the monkey bars (with perhaps a boost from you), and then work his way on his own to the second rung and the third, and so on, as he also builds up his physical development with strength, coordination, competence, and sense of body awareness in space. Given the space and time of free-play in a camp environment children hone those large and fine motor skills while sifting through sand for seashells, practice shooting hoops, or blowing bubbles.
Self-discovery. Kids need time to be kids — to write, think, dream, draw, build, dance, fantasize. That's how they discover their likes and dislikes. Be sure to allow your child this special kid time.
Creativity. Above all, creative play is a simple joy that is a cherished part childhood. Creativity in adults is highly valued in our society. Personal creativity contributes to inventiveness, innovation, social and cultural change. The creative child is an innovator, a problem solver, an entrepreneur, an artist. Allowing children the opportunity for creativity help them to achieve their life goals as adults and teach them to enjoy the journey. After all, where else can you be the mud queen?
To learn more about our summer camp, outdoor education programs, and rental opportunities visit us at www.campsconnect.org
The Journey -About Us
THE JOURNEY journals our Camps Connect story. Camps Connect is a summer camp for boys, girls, and co-ed programs, a family
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On life's journey it's nice to connect: Camps Connect!