August 2, 2016
Look at this picture and think about the following statement: the woman in the chicken hat is helping craft youth development policy for the State of Texas.
Susie Ma’am is one of 13 people on the Texas’ Expanded Learning Opportunities Council (ELOC). This group “authorizes the study of issues that relate to expanding learning opportunities and reviewing programs outside of the regular school day”.
She was appointed in 2014 by the Governor to this team of 13. Texas Partnership for Out-of School Time (TXPOST) helped create the legislation for this Council. Susie had volunteered her time with them. After they realized how much insight she (as a camp director) brought to the table, they recommended that a “camp professional” be part of the Council.
In short, Susie Ma’am is sorta a big deal.
ELOC recognizes that education is more than “bell to bell” time (meaning school bell to school bell). Children are constant learners and they grow most when they have a multitude of enrichment activities.
If you read the article on “21st Century Skills and Camp” that I have also published today, you will see some of the skills that are critical for success that are not well taught in schools but ARE incredibly well-fostered at camp.
Basically, Susie Ma’am’s job is to help educate the educators on the benefits of a summer camp experience.
I have spent a lot of time wondering why camps do not get more credit for their educational benefits.
I have a potential explanation. I call it the “Chocolate Fudge Theory”.
Imagine I serve you the most luscious and indulgent chocolate fudge you have ever tasted. Once you finish it, I then ask you a simple question, “Was that good for you?”
You would wisely answer “no”. After all, things that are fun or delicious are generally bad for us.
I think this is part of the reason that camps have had a credibility issue.
Put simply, camp is a blast. It has great friends, awesome adults and unique activities.
Anything THIS fun must be bad for you, right?
No, it is a place that provides powerful and meaningful growth!
I like to tell people that camp is like chocolate fudge that lowers your cholesterol and gives you ripped abs: it is fun AND good for you.
So, we are all hoping that Susie Ma’am can get the ELOC excited about serving the fudge-that-is-camp to more children in the future.