The Basis of Basecamp
“Great things happen where [kids] and mountains meet.”
- John Muir
When setting up a campsite - it’s important to put in the work preparing to ensure your shelter is properly staked, bed is set up, fire is prepared, you know where things like your boots and lantern are, and you’ve properly stored all food.
Because soon enough - it gets dark or rainy, or maybe even…. dark AND rainy! It becomes quickly apparent whether or not you were well-prepared.
Similarly in life, it’s critical to help children build a strong foundation - taking care to help them learn the and grow in ways that prepare their mind and body for the “dark and stormy” challenges of life!
Laying a strong foundation is what Backyard Basecamp is all about. Think of Mount Everest Base Camp, which serves as a community of support, and safe place to prepare, as climbers set out make the toughest journey of their lives up to the summit. Likewise, our Basecamp serves as the foundation for adventure and learning - both the hard skills of camping, hiking, and backpacking and the soft skills of being a kind humans that look for ways they can serve others and the world.
Basecamp is built on a foundation of four principles. We place these ideas at the center of our curriculum, foremost in our hiring qualifications, and hope to instill these practices in each our Basecampers.
I LOVE NATURE.
Whether you’re climbing on rocks, building a fort from leaves and branches, running through a summer storm, quietly watching a bird soar, walking on a dirt path talking with a friend, biking through a forest, falling asleep under the stars, waking up to morning dew on the moss, or summiting a mountain and looking out at the view - nature is awesome. We want our participants taking off their shoes to splash in streams, dirt on their hands from touching and exploring, and beaming with the beauty of nature reflected in their eyes.
With this sense of adventure comes a peaceful assurance of connecting with the natural world. Unplugged and simple experiences observing and dwelling in nature increase mindfulness and self-awareness.
I SHOW EMPATHY.
Love of the earth extends and becomes love for others. Real connection with others - communication, listening, collaborating, and problem solving is often found in experiences that seem difficult at first. Feeling safe and respected is critical to building a culture where you and others can discover greater self confidence. When we are vulnerable, it allows others that same privilege. When we accept failure as a part of life, it allows others that same perspective.
I CAN RELY ON MYSELF.
Living simply - with only those items necessary for survival - gives us an incredible gift: perspective. We learn the real difference between needs and wants, we are humbled when we reflect on all we have to be grateful for, we learn skills that prove we have the knowledge to make smart decisions. By disconnecting from technology and the commotion of regular busy life - we learn to take charge of our own happiness, imagine new ways to connect with others, and strengthen our scaffolding of positivity!
Thoughts of satisfaction: “I have enough, I am content,” or of confidence: “I can build my own shelter and cook my own meals,” or of awareness, “I feel connected with the earth and our human past,” are become much more common than those of self doubt and crippling comparison.
I HELP BY SERVING OTHERS AND PROTECTING THE PLANET.
Intimately connected with the previous three actions, serving others and protecting nature is a natural result of love of the environment, empathy, and self-awareness. Our self-respect and respect for others evolves into a deep respect for nature and eagerness to protect it. We want to pitch in on service projects and be activists for causes we see value in. The connection between love and respect for nature and love and respect for oneself is undeniable.
We uphold the “seven generation sustainability” teachings of the Iroquois Nation; encouraging us to think whether our decisions today will have a positive impact on both just ours or our children’s future, but rather seven generations from today.