Seventeen years ago, I sat a dinner in a huge room in NYC. New to the summer camp world, I had no idea what to expect of the adults all adorned in suits and evening dresses.
This was about camp, right? If so, where were the s’mores and kickball? And, where did all the ties come from?!
After a nice dinner and polite conversation, a man who everyone told me I needed to know talked to us about SCOPE, a charity that sends kids to camp. ‘Hmm… you’ve got my attention,’ I thought.
Jay Jacobs then introduced a number of young people who had benefited from two weeks at summer camp, a treat their families could have never afforded without the help of SCOPE. ‘That’s really great,’ I thought.
Then a few of these young people started to speak. That’s when I started to tear up.
When Doug Pierce jumped up and started to ask for donations, hands shot up around the room. He knew everyone and thanked them by name. When Doug came to my raised hand, he said, ‘I don’t know who you are, young man, but I’ll get to know you tonight.’
Seventeen years later, I’m happy to count Doug among my friends in camping. I’m also happy to continue to support of SCOPE and the gift of summer camp they help provide to those who would be unable to attend otherwise.
I’ve talked often on these pages about the benefits of camp. No experience is better for a child’s social and emotional health and growth than summer camp. And, more time spent at camp leads to greater outcomes: increases in empathy, teamwork, leadership, confidence, independence, hopefulness and more.
And yet only 1 out of every 6 kids gets to go to summer camp.
Just imagine how much good can come out of a few summers at camp… for everyone involved. It opens eyes, helps to build valuable and needed skills, and fosters a brighter future for each and every kid involved.
I hope you’ll join me in supporting SCOPE in any way you can. Kids can support them as a service project, parents can write a check, camps can sponsor fundraisers. Help a little or a lot. Either way, you’ll be helping to introduce someone to camp who would love it.
And, I hope you’ll spend some time listening to Molly Gallagher’s Campfire Conversation this Friday. She has a lot of great ideas on how we can all work together – campers, parents, and camps alike – to make the gift of summer camp a reality for more and more children.
*Yes, this is week is all about supporting SCOPE who is the sponsor of our podcast. Just to be clear, Campfire Conversation receives no funds from SCOPE in any way, shape or form. We simply want to help raise everyone’s awareness of SCOPE and the wonderful things they do for kids.