Here at Pathfinders we have fun and have a lot of neat and cool things we do. But beneath all the fun lies a central purpose. To empower the next generation to fulfill their God given destiny. I recently attended an American Camp Association Conference where the focus was on fun but also in camp circles what we call “Second Level Skills”.
These are skills that we practice and learn as we do activities at camp. For instance when you run our obstacle course you are learning how to effectively communicate with others around you. You also display self confidence when you hold your own weight and swing across the muddy pool of water and land on the platform. When you climb Big Bertha or Moderate Martha you learn how to overcome fear and trust a system and someone else and above all else that perseverance pays off in the end. You see these “Second Level Skills” that come natural to us at camp are now being recognized by society as vital and important to teach our students if we want them to succeed in the 21st Century. As a matter of fact in education circles they have labeled these “21st Century Skills”. What we are finding out is that summer camp and retreats at Pathfinders provides the perfect incubator to introduce and sharpen these skills. In my next post we will look at specific skills and how Pathfinders is equipped to naturally teach these and thus equip the next generation for success. Let me leave you with a quote from Barbara Stein who has worked in the national education area for years and is an advocate for teaching our students 21st Century Skills.
“College and Career Ready” has become the focus of much current education policy, and this is a welcome development. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills has been prodding policymakers for over a decade to focus k-12 education on the actual skills and knowledge students will need, whether for work or further education. However, this focus does miss another critical goal of education–preparing the next generation of citizens. Just as our workplaces need new employees who can critically think, creatively problem solve, collaborate, and communicate, so these skills are essential to a healthy, vibrant civic life. For our democracy to thrive, our students must prepare for the increasingly complex challenges of civic responsibility.