I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind… – Neil Gaiman
Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up – Pablo Picasso
Dr. Cyndi Burnett, a professor at Buffalo State College, said of her students in a New York Times article published in 2014: “I don’t expect them to be the next Steve Jobs or invent the flying car, But I do want them to be more effective and resourceful problem solvers.”
In 2010 “creativity” was the factor most crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500 chief executives in 33 industries. These days “creative” is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running.
More and more jobs are looking for people not drones. People who can think on their feet. Who can handle stress. Who can bring something new to the table. Professions want divergent and convergent thinkers: people who can have multiple ideas and then can find what works.
If you are a parent or someone who enjoys the idea of healthy children, you are most likely positively affected by the news that kids are learning creativity and are being challenged with “outside the box” problem-solving. But what Neil Gaiman states in the above quotation at the start of this post is that sometimes schools do not adequately relay how to think outside the box or are not able to offer ways in which to do it. This is a fast-paced, technologically-run world we are living in today. To thrive, we must be able to be creative. It not only allows us to grow in society, but it teaches us a lot about ourselves and our strengths and weaknesses. You shouldn’t have to wait until college or only be in kindergarten to explore innovations which are now seemingly esoteric to the middle stages of life.
We want children to succeed and make good grades and be kind to people, but when things go sideways, which they always do eventually because that’s life, we also want them to know how to deal with their emotions and make astute decisions. And aside from problem-solving, creativity is just a beautiful experimentation in who we are and all of the gems we have inside ourselves. Sometimes you need the right atmosphere to harvest the gold out of the mine.
Summer camp is an amazing way to open the gates to this creativity. What you can’t find in school, you can find at summer camp. Kippewa allows for autonomy in choosing classes and also allows for kids to deal with things like new friends, homesickness, learning new skills, understanding winning and losing…etc, all under the roof of professionals in the field. Children can hang out with people who want to nurture them and help them succeed, whether that be with a goal to shoot an arrow in the middle of a target (or just get it on the target as that is also a worthy goal) or handle an issue with a friend, or sing by yourself for the first time at a campfire, or try your hand at ceramics or water skiing. Camp is a place where asking for help is okay, crying is okay, falling is okay, and success doesn’t mean a letter on a piece of paper. There are almost endless possibilities at camp where children and staff can “free play” with their ambitions.
Below is a great animated video which taps into creativity and shows how beautiful it can be.
*Featured Image Credit: SCreditBrendan Bannon for The New York Times