Impressions from the 10th International Camping Congress

Posted on December 15, 2014 by Dr. Stephen Fine

ICC Turkey 2014


Today’s youth live in a complex and rapidly changing global landscape. While new technologies foster international connectivity, ideological tensions threaten to thwart peace efforts and young people across the globe stand at the forefront of both progress and conflict.

The theme of the 10th International Camping Congress (ICC) which recently convened in Antalya, Turkey was entitled “Camp for Peace.” A noble undertaking for the world’s camp community in these disquieting times. Global research has shown that the camp experience has a unique capacity to transcend cultural and national boundaries.

What better way to promote peace than to announce to the world all of the wonderful things that camp can do for children everywhere? And this is where research into the world of camp can play a very important role. What better place to express this theme than within the country that spans both east and west? And this country was Turkey.

The 10th International Camping Congress (ICC) of the International Camping Fellowship (ICF) hosted a gathering of camp professional from 29 countries. My first ICC took place in Mexico City in 2005 where I had the opportunity to present my paper on the types of learning that takes place at camp. It was here that I met face to face with a colleague Dr. Deb Bialeschki and from that moment onwards we agreed to work together to bring camp research into the international arena.

Eight years later in 2013, Dr. Bialeschki and myself were named as co-chairs of a new international committee “for the purpose of conducting and continuing research projects that involve or are relevant to, multiple member countries of the International Camping Fellowship (ICF).” Although research forums had been a part of the ICCs in the past, ICC Turkey 2014 marked the first official international research symposium dedicated to camp experience. These symposiums will now be a vital component to all future congresses.

The 10th ICC in Turkey featured papers by academics from the US, Canada, Japan, Mongolia, and Australia. A strong Canadian research presence was evident as 5 of the 12 papers presented had Canadian authorship or co-authorship. All of the papers presented can be found on the CCA website.

Highlights of the congress were many.

  • tour of the historic city of Istanbul and environs.
  • congress venue in Antalya situated on the Mediterranean coast.
  • the meeting of old friends and new.
  • the sharing of knowledge with our fellows from many countries around the world.

Current research into the evolution of camp embodies the cutting edge of what is trending in camps today and validates this within an international forum. With the establishment of the ICF’s International Research Committee, academics and scholars from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Oceania with a focus on global citizenship and youth development can now contribute to a shared discussion.