Written by Blue Star leadership team member Stacey August
In our current information age, the power of curiosity and the space to explore questions can be limited. Although we are more connected and possibly more efficient, there is less time to sit and think about “what ifs.” The art of problem solving becomes limited because so many answers are at our fingertips. The art of wondering is so important to keep creativity alive and better understand one’s full potential to affect change. One of the many beauties of camp is that we retain an almost sacred space where we intentionally create time to wonder.
Without technology and without their parents in close proximity, it truly is incredible to watch campers explore nature, their own creativity, and the questions they generate naturally. Camp encourages children to experience new activities including mountain biking, photography, and music. But they even show curiosity in supervised, unstructured free time.
During Twilight most evenings, campers follow fireflies simply to see where they are going and watch them light up. I spoke with two campers who were curiously turning over rocks in the “Triangle” on Pioneer Girl Hill just to see what was on the other side. Unit leaders regularly encourage campers to “think outside the box” whether they are trying to complete a wacky scavenger hunt or are designing a creative act to perform in front of their peers. Our staff often modify an idea to create entirely new activities from what is around them, such as an awesome obstacle course that was imagined from our collection of lake inflatables. Pure wonder! And the list goes on…
When campers are curious about something, they are given the gift of time and space to explore a question. In a “real world” setting, campers could have easily asked Alexa for information about fireflies and would have spent no time wondering. Further, they may have become distracted by the “next best thing” and never could have figured out the answer to their original question. Being in an environment that allows for curiosity to explore and even think up more questions is totally magical and wonder full.
Curiosity declines over time when we accept more and more answers with little thought. As the lawyer Gerry Spence writes, “I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” If we want to see positive change in the world, we need the ability to wonder about what it could be. Camp helps create a brave space where people can wonder more freely, alone and together.