Last week, as I was giving creative input into this year’s sweatshirt design, I had a chance to reflect on the tagline in our logo “Inspiring Environmental Stewardship”. I paused to consider how “Inspiring” is both a descriptor as well as a verb or action word. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, to Inspire is “to influence or guide”, “to exert an animating, enlivening or exalting influence”. I thought of all the ways that our Camp counsellors and Outdoor Educators animate environmental principles through hands-on learning in our 180 acres of woods and wetlands and waterfront. A student or camper can’t help but be inspired and infused with a deeper knowledge of the world around them. Indeed Camp is an eco-system all its own with traditions and opportunities for self-knowledge and empathy for others. A true “Environmental Steward” sees their human community as an extension of the natural world and worthy of protection.
And in case you were wondering how to grow your own Environmental Steward, Camp Kawartha has spear-headed a fascinating document called “Pathway to Stewardship: A Framework for Children and Youth” with specific “benchmarks” (29 to be exact) from birth to adulthood. The steering committee has interviewed more than 75 community leaders from many sectors to develop this ground-breaking roadmap and continues to solicit input from the public.
The literature suggests strong links between environmental stewardship and a deeper sense of health and well-being in our young people. Now, more than ever, this should be a priority for us all.
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Written by Shawna Foxton, Registrar, Camp Kawartha Outdoor Education Centre