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TWN: 20 DAYS TO OPENING EXERCISES …AN ALMOST LAST MOMENT REMINDER
Norman Friedman, M.Ed.
May 8, 2012
Bruce Lipton’s (our Scholar-in-Residence) reminder of the level of responsibility accepted by camp directors as they care for other people’s children is worthy of both reading and including in staff communications. Due diligence is accomplished by constant review of all the issues relating to total safety.
Yesterday morning I heard a news report on CNN about the autistic child that was allegedly abused by a teacher. We know this because the father put a recording device in the child’s pocket in an effort to reveal the abuse for the purpose of stopping it, both for his son and to draw public attention and awareness to this problem.
Dr. Steve Perry, Founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School and CNN Education Contributor said when interviewed, “One bad teacher can mess you up pretty badly,” when he supported the father of the autistic boy’s decision to put a listening device in his son’s pocket. (http://www.dr-steveperry.com/)
It seems to me the same patterns of behavior can be modeled by counselors in camper bunks. As a senior camp professional I know firsthand the diligent work that goes into training and preparing our staff to be the nurturing and compassionate caregivers we claim them to be. That said when I look in the “mirror of reality” the reflection is not always picture perfect. Do I really know what interactions are taking place in a bunk at any given time of the day or night? Can I say with certainty that we hired and trained the best most caring and considerate staff, and that they are behaving in such a way that if the town gossip and his canary were watching that I would not have to worry about what would be said?
Today is May 1. The entire month of May for me (I dare say for most Camp Professionals) is like the night before a major exam, a big trial, a huge presentation, an important speech, etc. There is still so much to do and so little time to get it done. There are the tangible tasks and then there are the “big questions” like the ones raised above to be addressed. None of us are good enough to do it all alone.
The value of networking with other professionals that know what I am doing “the rest of the year” – because they are doing the same thing is invaluable.
We all have engaged and accepted the awesome responsibility to be the caregivers of other people’s children, to be partners in raising and developing our future citizens, and the anticipatory anxiety that is heightened in the month of May is a keen reminder of this awesome responsibility that produces that rare feeling of accomplishment at the end of August when looking back.
‘Wisdom can only be acquired by the sustained development of an inquiring mind’