By the end of the camp, my hands were raw from secret handshakes and my body worn down from dancing at the “Global Party”, but it was all worth it.
Watching these kids transform a classroom from one of chaos - with miscommunication, nervous behavior and intermittent attention - to a hub of productive and pointed organization churning out events and good ideas was inspiring. Most of the time, I just did my best to get out of the way of their unstoppable energy. Sometimes all an individual needs is a little space to realize their own potential and I truly believe that the Visions camp was exactly that.
As someone who is interested in the way that a new generation of young people can become a positive force in changing the changing world, you can often find me extolling the virtues of my own generation - the Millennials - and the possibilities of a different world as we come into our own. It is trite but true that investing in kids is an investment in our collective future. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to play a small part in shaping a few in the next wave.
More often than not, the kids were the teachers and us the students. One of the most vivid moments came when one of the groups performed a five minute drama (“skit” would be too light of a word) on the need to be in harmony with nature. The story - thought up, molded and performed by the students independently - centered around a tree and its role in children’s play, the community and the pursuit of profit. More than a few of the adults in the room were moved to tears.
The week was also about fun. I will never forget watching the kids put on their “Global Party”, an hour of candy, decorations, profuse sweating and dancing. To call what these kids were doing “dancing” might not cut it. With bursting smiles and a touch of nervousness, the students were throwing their bodies at the universe with the full force of their hopes and dreams.
The week at the Visions camp showed me that these future generations will keep the positive energy coming that I believe is a big part of how we Millennials define ourselves. There are some new kids on the block and they’re sharp, driven and ready to take the world by storm irrespective of their group’s gender, race, or background. Watch out.