Recently, while we were visiting a camp, the directors proudly showed us a large collection of superb photos of campers and staff in action, with the old facilities in the background. They were taken in 1958 by a nationally renowned Canadian photographer, whose children were campers that summer. There was not a caption in sight.
Who were these children and staff? Where did they come from? Why did they come to this camp? How many were there? How long did they stay? What were the activities we saw in the photos? What was the camp’s philosophy and purpose? What were their rituals and traditions? Have some of them endured through the years? How and when were those rather primitive buildings and activity areas replaced by the high quality facilities we saw around us?
The original sponsoring organization is no longer involved.. Maybe they have kept some records. Apart from that, there are only the 52 year old recollections of a wonderful lady who was actually the director at that time.
In those days few people thought much about “archiving” camp records in case they might be useful or interesting sometime in the future. Last year’s files would be stored in the back of a closet until someone decided to get rid of all that old stuff.
Now we are learning and appreciating the value of all that old stuff. As Mary L. Northway said: “Knowledge of the past enlightens our understanding of the present.”
If you have not been “archiving” your old camp records, now is the time to begin.
Our individual and collective memories can be selective and fickle. Electronic data can disappear with the mistaken touch of one key or degrade all by itself; and in the long run, regular electronic technology upgrades may result in your older information being completely inaccessible.
Collect all your important data in hard copy, and put it in an envelope or binder labelled “Camp Archives 2010”.
You already have to keep all your financial, legal and property records. Keep the fun stuff too!
What else is important?
1. Make a hard copy of what is on your website.
2. Add copies of all your essential forms.
3. Include your staff manual.
4. Put in your schedules, menus, camper and staff lists.
Finally, think of other things that might be interesting or useful later on:
– camp rituals
– special events
– trip reports
– photos (labelled with names, date and occasion)
– your notes for staff training sessions.
Next year, 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or when you are planning anniversary celebrations, you will be glad that you have this package of memories from 2010.
Then do it again in 2011 and 2012 and 2013…!
If you want more information or assistance, contact us.
Peter and Barb Gilbert, 613-475-1689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Canadian Camping Association/Association des Camps du Canada is pleased to formally support the work of the newly established Outdoor Council of Canada. The mission of this fledgling organization is “to promote and enable accessible education and recreation in the outdoor environment.”
Engagement by camps and by camping associations will be very important in maintaining the relevance and vitality of the OCC. Camps can provide their expertise – and camps will benefit with staff satisfaction, improved programs and budgeting efficiencies.
For its first major initiative towards its mission, the OCC developed an entry level certification course for outdoor leaders. This course is an affordable and effective weekend program that will become available across Canada.
The OCC’s Curriculum Development Committee began its work in February 2010. By May 2010, it was ready to pilot a course in Calgary: Leadership Level 1 Hiking. After incorporating feedback, two more courses were delivered to a total of 36 students – a course in Calgary in May, and a course Ontario in June. Both courses received strong and positive reviews.
The goals of Leadership Level 1 Hiking can be summarized as such:
– Understand and demonstrate the role and responsibilities of an outdoor leader
– Develop and demonstrate the basic tools/actions for organizing and leading a high quality activity in a low risk ‘hiking’ environment
The next step for the OCC is to train and certify Course Instructors this winter so that they can deliver the course in their home communities in spring 2011.
Subsequent courses will provide certifications for longer trips, more demanding environments, and for other activities, such as canoeing and cross country skiing. The OCC also develops resources to promote outdoor recreation, to share research on outdoor recreation, and to develop helpful risk management templates.
It is the hope of Executive Director, Albi Sole, that very soon ”OCC Leadership Level 1 will be seen as the logical first step for the majority of people in their journey to be an outdoor leader.”
For more information on the Outdoor Council of Canada visit their website www.outdoorcouncil.ca