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Green greener greenest, Staff stuff, Summertime, Wednesday's Whim

Wednesday’s Whim: New Generation for Environmental Sustainability

For the last ten days, 23 counselors-in-training have been learning, working, playing, and otherwise engaged in Camp Stevens Counselor Training Program.  Just since August of 2012 when I arrived in Julian, I’ve heard school administrators, teachers, military personnel, and business professionals share stories of the impact CT had on them when they were 16 or 17 years old, often giving more credit for their individual and vocational success to their time at Camp Stevens than the extensive education they received at universities or other training programs.

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One of the many elements of Camp Stevens that sets it apart from other organizations I’m familiar with is the emphasis on empowerment of every person: campers, summer counselors, 40-year veterans, and the Executive Director.  Friday evening I had the privilege of sharing Camp Stevens’ Environmental Mission Statement and the story behind it with this year’s CT group.  Born out of an interest of counselors and staff and starting with recycling, composting, and eventually healthier food choices (for people and the planet), the environmental sustainability of Camp Stevens began because all staff felt empowered to add their voice.  The move toward sustainability was not top-down.

Here is what this year’s counselors-in-training are dreaming about.  It’ll be exciting to see what happens this summer and over the next five to ten years as these young people become the next Winter Staff and administrators, bringing their enthusiasm, creativity, and ability to empower others along with them.

  • Moving Camp Stevens toward complete or nearly complete environmental sustainability (off the grid)
  • Getting the word our about environmental sustainability and the work Camp Stevens is doing to a greater community
  • Adding more alternative energy
  • Using environmentally friendly vans and buses for camper transport
  • Wind energy
  • Educating and encouraging campers about environmental awareness in fun ways
  • Tree and flower planting
  • Cap showers to 7 minutes
  • Focus on environmental conservation and education in the SoCal area
  • Increase outreach
  • Reach out to our schools
  • Have a no waste goal
  • Compost human waste
  • Recycle water
  • Ask more questions about gray water
  • Stop washing clean dishes
  • Prepare exact quantities of food (no waste)
  • Add curtains/natural cooling in Dining Hall
  • Use white boards instead of easel paper
  • Reuse and reduce instead of recycling
  • Consider a salt water pool
  • Add rain barrels
  • Add solar power in staff village and the Dining Hall
  • Work on efficiency re: machines, insulation, heating
  • Get a cow or goat
  • Practice more intentional games and activities with summer campers
  • Reuse water in toilets
  • Establish a Camp Stevens brewery
  • More intentional music at Celebration (rather than pop music)
  • Incorporate outdoor education practices into summer camp
  • Grow our own tea
  • Give campers unstructured time in nature

Which of these are you excited for Camp Stevens to explore in more depth?  And what would you add to the list?

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Have something to share about Camp Stevens? Contact ashley-at-campstevens-dot-org with the topic you'd like to write about, and some info about your association with camp.
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