Back in The Day, as the kids say now, some friends and I would make our way to a place near Austin called The Oasis, which is a restaurant overlooking Lake Travis.
I can recall eating there maybe once or twice, as we would usually skirt off to a crushed limestone trail and end up below The Oasis on a series of cliffs that rise to varying heights above the green water.
Perhaps time has clouded my memory and exaggerated the circumstances, but it seems we would jump off cliffs about 30-50 feet high into the water below.
One thing time has certainly clouded is my recent willingness to perform similar feats. The fact is our little forays below The Oasis -- and other similar locations from Houston to Austin -- might not have been so smart.
So, The Oasis was an oasis in a sense. It was a place to get away and wile away the hours with idle chat, punctuated with free falls, forgetting about professors, exams and what -- exactly -- we would do with our lives after college.
On the other hand, it could have easily been a ticket to the emergency room or worse. And that would've been no picnic.
At camp, campers and staff have the opportunity to engage in seemingly risky recreation. The difference being that the camp has taken extraordinary measures to mitigate the risk (hopefully) through expert and vigilant supervision and other safeguards.
Camps walk a tightrope between freedom and responsibility. If there's a sense that someone's constantly breathing down your neck you might not enjoy the experience. But the supervision that creates safety must be in place.
How do you plan to reach that balance, creating an almost unseen structure through planning that meets both goals? And, how do you ensure that counselors are paying the close attention to their job that they need to be? In an era overly obsessed with fixing the blame on others, this has become increasingly important.
We will continue to seek ideas and perspectives from across North America and need your help. If you have any input on this it would be greatly appreciated. Any idea or insight that helps another camp is invaluable.
Regan D. Dickinson
Phone: (830) 257-1012
Fax: (830) 257-1020
PO Box 291773, Kerrville, TX 78029