Late May in the gorgeous northeast, the air still has a bit of spring chill running over the vast wilderness as the crew for pre-camp arrives. Familiar faces rejoice at the sight of their best friends from all different corners of the world. A newcomer bashfully stands at the sidelines awkwardly smiling after being greeted by each returning staff member. Moving his close friends aside, an international staff member waves in the novice sparking up a conversation making him feel welcome and a part of the group almost immediately. Laboring days add up, but a new friendship blossoms rooted in the values camp instills in all of us. As the summer sun begins to shine and arrival day is upon us, his welcoming nature did not fade one bit…it flourished. Camp resumed as if it ended only a day before. Campers and staff converse briefly about the past year, then jump right back into making memories they’ll remember forever.
On August 25th, 2017 Tom Rosenberg, CEO of American Camp Association emailed accredited camp staff on the possibility of “cuts to or the elimination of the J-1 Visa Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel (SWT) programs”. When we first heard this news, we couldn’t believe it would ever go through because having international staff is such a vital part of our community that’s been around for decades. This motion would also be so detrimental to hundreds of camps across the US that rely on the attendance of international staff, possibly resulting in camp closures. Unfortunately, “these cuts or eliminations are a very real possibility”, Rosenberg states. Mr. Rosenberg, alongside our incredible international staff, need your assistance!
Our international staff brings their own life experiences varying from similar, to vastly different circumstances to our own. Those experiences, like our own, shape the way we interact, how we appreciate, and how we encourage each other. We couldn’t imagine what camp would be like without these essential staff members that make camp truly a home away from home. Stand with the international staff that create memories, positively impact the lives of your campers, and bring their own unique sense of themselves to your camp. Inclusion of every camper, and staff member, no matter their circumstance, upbringing, or location is a large part of what makes camp so amazing.
Head to the link provided below to send a message “to go straight to President Trump and the other that will connect you with the Senators (2) and Congressional Representative (1) in your area.” Rosenberg mentions in his latest update on this issue. Be sure to share with your friends, family, and co-counselors so our best mates can make it home this upcoming summer!
Your unofficial co-counselor,