ICF Appeal to Premier Berejiklian
September 08, 2020
The Hon. Gladys Berejiklian MP - Premier of NSW
Every day, in every country, the impact of CoVID-19 is being felt. Challenges to our global health and wealth are extending down to the level of community, family and individual. Business, education, services and personal choice have been curtailed and uncertainty on the duration, and resolution, of this crisis continues to keep us all off balance.
The secondary, spill-out effects of this viral outbreak upon children are equally profound. A hyper-anxious generation of children is now even more uncertain about the future. On-line, screen time has become a poor substitute for active play outdoors. Direct social contact with friends is limited. Education opportunities are virtual in nature rather than experiential in nature.
The International Camping Fellowship is a global organization of camps and camp professionals who recognize the power and importance of the camp experience. Many camps and many camp directors are members of local associations and professional groups. They are making a profound difference in the world of youth development within their country. For them, the value and values of camp are well understood.
Organized children’s camps have been partners in youth development and education for hundreds of years. Based upon an experiential model in which a guided activity allows children to integrate their experiences into their body of life skills through reflection and relevance, camps demonstrate the ability to blend both education and recreation into a series of profound, life altering encounters stored in both the conscious and the unconscious memory. The transfer of camp experience into life beyond camp is the greatest gift of all.
Camps all across each country have struggled with their operations during this time but, more importantly, they are adapting to a new reality. In many countries, camps have operated during some part of the past few months. Most of them did so safely and successfully – adapting their already disciplined protocols for health and safety to a new reality. The camping and outdoors industry continues to learn, adapt and lead.
As the current crisis evolves, children and families must re-emerge from their homes into community. Children need to know that they are safe, they are loved, and they have a place where they belong. They need to experience joy, laughter and learning but they also need to build confidence, resilience and a sense of well-being. They need to re-establish skills like making friends, acknowledging feelings, living in community and resolving personal issues. They need role models and they need a clear path forward.
More than ever before, children need camp. Whether through school camp experiences or direct outdoor experiences arranged by families on managed camp sites, camps are ready and able to support your state’s children. Please recognize and consider camps as an essential service’ in the lives of our children. They, and New South Wales, will be better for it, if you do.
As society rebuilds the best version of itself in each state and country, let us remember our children and reset them on their life journey by opening up the path to camp and through camp to their becoming the best version of themselves.
Australia is a global leader in so many ways – no more so than in its marriage of education and the outdoor experience for its children. Camping communities across the world ache for the kind of acknowledgement that Australians have given to the value of the outdoors as teacher, companion and healer for its citizens.
The world is watching now as each country looks for ways to respond to this pandemic crisis and the impact upon its citizens. It is looking for leadership, for compassion, for demonstrations of what defines us. We can best honour the seventh generation by best serving the next generation – our children.
In summary – and to be specific:
Respectfully yours in the outdoors,
International Camping Fellowship
ICF President, John Jorgenson, writes to the NSW Premier "...More than ever before, children need camp. Whether through school camp experiences or direct outdoor experiences arranged by families on managed camp sites, camps are ready and able to support your state’s children. Please recognize and consider camps as an essential service’ in the lives of our children. They, and New South Wales, will be better for it, if you do..."