Camp in China

If I edit anything else in the way of html or css, I am going to toss the computer over the edge of the table, so it’s time to call it a day.  The site is coming together quickly, and now its just a matter of finding some things to write about

As I had mentioned a few posts back, I have been speaking with an individual who is interesting in bringing summer camp to China, an idea that has my full attention.  Having very little knowledge about any such organization within China, I decided to make a post on Chinese-forums, asking if anyone had any knowledge about a Chinese tradition similar to that of American summer camp.  The responses that I received fell right into line with what I had expected;  there is not a lot that can be directly compared.  Some of the answers gave me a good laugh.  I posed the question “Is there any equivalent in China to the American sleep-away camp?”, and received one particular response from the forum moderator

‘I guess so, but they’re more likely to be staying in school dormitories      than tents or lodges, and the activities will still be more educational than physical. I’ll wager the number of Chinese kids learning archery this summer are so close to nil as to make no difference.’

In short, there is a more modern trend of sending children away to academically focused summer programs, with the hope that children will develop in ways allowing them an advantage against the competition that they face in making it to higher education.  The battle for the right to attend a prestigious university is unimaginable, and those who can afford it (and believe in it) push their children as much as possible.  As opposed to the more all-encompassing American summer camp, what can be labeled as the Chinese equivalents tend to be more focused, allowing the participants to improve their abilities in a given area.  Whether that area is math, music or a sport does not seem to make as much difference as whether or not the result are quantifiable; parents want to know that the program has aided in the development of their child.

With this in mind, I will say that bringing American summer camp to China will be a very challenging process.  Not impossible, but certainly not without great challenges.  I believe that with such a massive market, in particular one with a quickly developing middle class such as that within China, there is huge potential to market just about anything, summer camp included.  I also think that much consideration will have to be taken in regard to how the idea is presented.  American summer camp is just as the name suggest; American.  The structure is transferable, but there are many elements that are, at heart, built straight from our own culture.  Bringing camp to China will require an evaluation of the basic values of camp, followed by the creation of a new breed with strong Chinese characteristics added.  The overall concept for the program is that it will be one in which Children from different cultures will be able to come together and interact with one another, without absolute guidelines in terms of teaching certain things or asking the children to reach for certain goals.  It is meant to be more open-ended, and to allow these children to gain their own understanding through immersion.  This is something that I am very interested in.

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