The Next Generation in Action (continued)

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Learn more about SummerQuest.

SummerQuest is made possible thanks to the generous support of New England Biolabs and the Crane Funds for Widows & Children.

Sherri Miles is a freelance writer and editor living in the South Coast region of Massachusetts.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Special Places, The Trustees' member magazine. To subscribe, join The Trustees today.

“The whole world opens up in front of them as they make connections between seemingly disparate things,” says Dow. “Far from being observers of the world, they become participants who are asked to have a stake in the world. Even on a small scale, they know they have affected change, and small differences when you’re 13 add up to big differences later.”
“They’re given the power to speak their mind and they become part of what goes on in the environment,” says Martin’s mother Gail Hedberg. “Martin feels he has made an impact somehow, whether it’s helping to clean up the beach, or learning about tide pools or the history of the Crane Estate. It’s not just a day playing baseball.”
The impact of those experiences lasts long after Labor Day, says Erin Vadala, Owen’s mother. At the end of each session, she says, parents are invited to a presentation and awards ceremony. “On his first Friday presentation, the staff awarded Owen the Water Wizard, because all he wanted to do was swim, and they couldn’t get him out of the water,” she says. “That award sat in our kitchen on a shelf for the whole year! He loves the camp – it really brought out being in nature for him.”
“Parents know that they can send their kid to a camp that’s just a lot of fun,” says Dow. “But it really matters to them that their kids are at a camp that’s a lot of fun and has a lot of substance lurking right beneath the surface.”
That substance is part of every activity, every day. “We swim, we fish, we kayak. It doesn’t get any more active than a day at camp,” says Dow. Underlying all of this activity, campers are acquiring critical skills for success in the 21st century. “We empower these young adults to consider the implications of their actions,” continues Dow. “We ask them to envision the kind of world they want to live in, and then we encourage them to go out and make it happen. These are fundamental skills that we all must master if we want to make a positive difference in the world.”
“That is, perhaps, the most valuable lesson of all,” says Dow. “While we are alive, we are all Stewards.”

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