We have reprinted here several newsletters previously mailed to parents of summer campers and of boarding school students. These letters explain the underlying values in addition to the boating skills of the summer campers in addition to the academic excellence achieved by students attending the boarding school program the rest of the year.


SPECIAL NEWSLETTER TO PARENTS—MARCH 15, 1966

We’ve just returned from the National Convention of the American Camping Association in Chicago, Illinois. There we met for several days of study, dis­cussion, and conferences with the directors of many of the summer camps in the United States. These people, naturally, were all members of the American Camping Association, and their discussion groups reflected probably the most significant aspects, and the most progressive thinking in the summer camp field. We made it a point to learn as much as possible about the basic philosophies, aims, and goals of camp directors for their respective camp programs and campers. Every evening when we returned to our hotel room at the end of the seminars and workshop sessions of the conference (and it was always midnight or later before these sessions ended) we would discuss what we had learned from the various sessions we had attended separately. It became evident, even at two o’clock in the morning, that perhaps we should explain in greater detail, the basic philosophy and efforts Mrs. Stoll, Jim, and I used as guiding philoso­phies in the Holiday Harbor Seafaring Camp program. This is what inspires the following comments.

First of all, “we make no attempt to be all things to all people.” From the discussions in the various work sessions we all felt that we should let parents know that we make a very definite attempt to motivate all campers strongly to participate in our full program. By no stretch of the imagination are we a military school, nor do we exert discipline of this variety. Further, campers do have freedom of choice of individual activity, and opportunity for solitude, time to be alone with themselves and their thoughts. This is not, however, a major activity of our program. We are not a “mass baby-sitting” operation. We do not provide time for our campers to indulge themselves heavily with television or comic books. We have spent a tremendous amount of time and energy to develop a program which interests and motivates the campers to accomplish much in terms of mental, emotional, and intellectual growth. The children are busy, happy, and constantly developing their skills, so as to increase their personal privileges. We have never had an unhappy camper (past the few days of homesickness period) and no camper has ever been sent home unhappy. I have yet to see a girl leave without the traditional tears of goodbye.

At Holiday Harbor, we have a specialized program centered on boating in all of its forms. This is a thorough and accurate training program where the campers learn judgment as well as a professional standard of boat handling technique. At the same time, we have a full range of camp activities for diversi­fied interests. For example:

  • We have an archery program, and as the camper develops proficiency in archery, the archer qualifies to graduate into marine archery. Here the bow and arrow of woods hunting is exchanged for that which has a barbed hook on the arrow and a reel and line on the bow. The archer learns to stand on the pulpit in the bow of the boat and learn to shoot and catch fish with bow and arrow in the clear waters of the sand flats in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Copper enameling is one of the crafts we teach, and the campers learn to make initial decorative pins and pendants. Their initials are spelled out in the colors and design of the international code signal flags as miniature enamels on copper.

  • Classes and contests in knot tying follow their logical conclusion to marlinspike displays or knot boards constructed during craft periods.

  • Check outs on the larger boats require both proficiency and knowledge in radio communications, so our craft and game activity period includes citizen band, marine, and ham radio. We include badminton, volley ball, and a lot of swimming. We do not play baseball, football, or basketball.

  • We promise we will not send home any woven basket work nor ice cream stick bread baskets. We have been able to provide just as much enjoyment, instructional activity, pride in recreation and accomplishment, training in muscular and finger dexterity, perfection of detail, etc., etc., in activities which lead our people into more mature and character oriented activity than do the conventional leather tooling, belt and wallet craft.

We also use boating for our theme because there is no other activity which develops strength and character as naturally and thoroughly as a boating experience. In boating the campers learn they must make decisions for themselves. Our counselors and captains are taught to develop the ability in the camper to make his own decisions rather than blindly follow instructions. And within the limits of safety, to let him make his own mistakes so that he profits from a direct knowledge of why he was taught to conduct this given maneuver in a certain fashion. Of course the campers are heavily supervised, and licensed yacht captains are in safety boats carefully watching every maneuver, but the camper is in his own boat learning to perform at his own rate and using his own judgment. He learns he must have the knowledge and the accurate ability to bring his own boat back to the dock safely, courteously, and proficiently.

In this same trend of self-sufficiency, we have developed procedures of over-night boating trips. These start out as one night trips, and progress to two nights, and at the end of the summer, we take a four day boatacade to St. Petersburg, to visit the MGM sailing ship, Bounty, moored there as a tourist attraction. Here again, campers learn self-sufficiency in progressive stages. They all must have either a jungle hammock, a bed roll, or learn to make a sleeping roll of their blankets. They learn to pitch a camp and sleep outdoors in this camp as their first adventure in outdoor living even though they are

just a few feet from their regular cabin. By learning the procedures of setting up and breaking camp while they’re still at home base, we find they are much better prepared when the opportunities come along at each period to participate in the overnight cruises. When the boats all rendezvous and anchor in some protected lagoon near a white sandy beach, the lob of setting up camp goes smoothly and schedules such as meals and bedtime are maintained in an orderly and happy fashion.

The progress each camper makes, or fails to make in terms of proficiency skills, and personality growth and adjustments is weekly reviewed by the camper’s counselors, senior staff, and myself. Campers experiencing personality adjustments are given friendly trained guidance, understanding and affection. In this respect you may be interested in the way we handle our discipline problems, or perhaps I should say have “eliminated” most discipline problems.

Each camper, when he arrives in camp, is given a Seamanship manual which lists the various ranks through which he progresses as he learns boating skills from apprentice seaman to first mate, captain, etc. One of the requirements of each and every rank award is the judgment by the balance of his camp group that he has been a “good sport.” So at the mess hail after lunch, each camper ready to move up to his next rank is asked to leave the room and the remaining campers give the old pirate sign of “thumbs up” or ~thumbs downs in answer to the question, “Is this camper a good sport in all of his activities?” If all are “thumbs up,” he is passed on to the next rank. Those who give the camper a thumbs down must explain to the rest of the campers why they do not believe the advanced rank should be awarded. The discussion which follows will indicate whether or not the criticism is lust and fair, and it is not un­usual for a camper to be denied his rank increase for as much as two to three weeks by the campers, rather than the staff, even though he has completed his technical requirements for camp rank increase. The camper is thus motivated to make himself popular in camp, and thus learns to get along in his society more graciously.

You can see we are interested in the finest camping program possible, one which is oriented around growth of the camper. We will not compromise the development of the camper’s personality just so that he will not write a letter to the parents saying he wants to come home. The resulting program develops young people who are thoroughly capable of taking care of themselves both on the primitive “back to nature” camping activity level as welt as in the sophisticated “new frontiers” of our modern society which involves sailing, motor boating, yacht handling, radio proficiency, photographic darkroom technique, and the all important skill of learning to live with themselves and others in our social situation.

Do you think our campers want to come home? You’ll find them writing you, begging you to let them stay longer! You will be pleased at the growth accomplished during their stay. Better than three-fourths of last year’s campers have already enrolled for this year and we promise to you that we will maintain and continue to develop the most progressive and stimulating summer activity possible to provide for your children and our campers.

We pledge to you that we will do all we can to continue your interest in the growth of your children while they are with us during the summer so that together we will be making this world a better place in which to live through the development of strong young people in whom we are both mighty proud — your children (and if you will permit us), our children (we love them too).

NEWSLETTER MAILED MAY 15, 1966

 It has certainly been gratifying to meet so many parents who want something more than the routine summer baby-sitting experience for their children. Yes, Betty and I are back home after touring most of the Eastern United States. We have talked with so many lovely people and showed the movies and pictures of camp, sailing, boating, and water skiing to many groups both large and small. The questions most asked by parents really might be of interest to all those considering summer camp for their children.

 Q.  What will my child get from summer camp that he won’t get from a summer at my cottage on the lake?

 A.   There are probably three levels of benefit derived from a summer away from the city.

  1.  The first is an almost “negative” level of “keeping the kids out of trouble.” Almost any camp should be able to provide a protected summer of healthy outdoor experience and activity. This is about the level of a “summer at the lake,” and if you choose just any camp — you will at least accomplish this much.

  2. The second level is the “guided-purposeful” interaction of adjustment between campers. Some resident camp experiences remove a child from his home environment and place him in a cabin with 8-10 young people of the same age and with the guidance of an older “young person.” Your child gets a “fresh start” at his adjustment problems. No longer is “parental pressure&’ a factor. The kids your child has moved in with don’t know of the “last blunder,” or “bawling out” and provide instead, an outside reinforcement of the training in self-discipline you have been trying to de­velop. Almost any summer camp should also provide this element not possible in a “summer at the cottage on the lake.”

  3. Very few camps ever reach or attempt to reach the third level of child growth. Since any camp will accomplish the first two levels, this third is our area of greatest interest and emphasis.

This is a two part level comprising specialized skill and personal development. Our specialized skill is boating and water safety. This is fairly well presented in our catalog, pictures, film, and slides. Our young people earn a skill in all phases of water skiing, boating, sailing, and swimming rarely achieved in any other manner. The reason we use boating as a special activity is that nothing builds character as much as command at sea. The knowledge that one must have learned to be confident in boating situations has challenged men through the ages and will challenge your children at HHSC.

But even beyond is the second area of personality development for those who are not content to “let life happen” to their children. We offer a program specially designed to enable young people to live a “self directed life.” This is the purpose of the HHSC program. All of the previous is merely a bonus and goes along with the experience. The development of strong, confident personalities — a kind of preventative mental measure — we “set up” the predisposing factors for good mental health. (This lumps the gun on the necessity of in later years outlining to your psychiatrist the “predisposing factors for mental illness.”)

Developing personal control skills as well as techniques of logical thought development, as this is found necessary in boating~, trains the young person in a problem solving habit pattern not taught in any other commonly available experience. Just as the ‘sea” has always built men, so we have used these same forces to develop young adults capable of directing their lives with rational, logical purpose.

Q.  But my child does have a little bit of a problem. Should ~ consider a military or tight discipline school or camp?

A.   We work on the opposite theory of “imposed discipline.” We are completely committed to the development of self-discipline. Our goal might be well stated as the camper be ~‘reconciled to the use of his own judgment.” Using these procedures, we have accomplished many more times the amount of personal child growth, strength, and development in 7~9 weeks than I ever did in more formalized clinical procedures! (Incidentally, the cost is much less than clinical treatment.)

Q.  You are really trying then to develop “a-typical” children as compared to today’s’ trends. 

A.   That is right. Instead of trying to make abnormal children normal we are trying to prevent normal children from being made mediocre and giving them the courage and determination to command their own lives by the principles of self directed goals of personal — rational survival.

Q.  How do you accomplish this?

 A.  By giving them a program in which they are continually making decisions involving many small “problems.” To do this, they soon learn they must seek knowledge by study in order to reach proper solutions.

QAm I putting my children in a camp of problem children?

NO! By no stretch of the imagination are we conducting a clinic for “problem children/’ We are interested in normal children. Any normal child, (and probably every normal child), has some “problem.~’ At least they or their parents might feel so. We have designed a motivational program that can take all of these situations in its stride without upset to the program, other campers, and at the same time do a major job of reorienting the child with skills to handle his own present and future conflicts.

Q.  My child has done so poorly in school this year I really think I ought to consider summer school.

A.   This statement is really a question with a rather obvious counter question. If your child did not learn in 9 months of school — what makes you think 3 months more of the same will help? Education is a matter of personal motivation; a method of approaching a problem. Consider sending your child to HHSC camp for 7-9 weeks to learn methods of attacking the problems faced — to develop skills and motivation to love “learning.” Then the time required in formal educational classes will be spent with a more productive insight and motivated attitude.

Q.  Just what then is your “special” impact on the child’s development?

A.   In addition to the social growth from a normal group living experience, etc., etc., we are “waging a war” on mediocrity. We are interested in “privileged children” learning how to rise above the “great average” in which they are daily placed — and developing skills which will enable them to live a self-directed life — not at the mercy of social and group pressure.

RESULTS:

Bashful boys assert themselves, nervous stomachs calm down, poor eaters gain weight and learn to clean their plates, sloppy personal habits become neat, bullies cease their intimidation, insecure become confident, sickly become active. Try it. See that your child has the opportunity to gain and grow in these vital areas. A strong young adult will be your reward for a continued motivated development.

Repeated requests for specific advice, prompts us to set down for those interested the basic principles on which we have based both our camp and boarding school programs. So for adults only consider

ORIGINS OF SELF—RESPECT EXPERIENCE

While my formal training was in the field of clinical psychology, sociology, with special work in speech pathology and counseling in marriage relationships, I subscribed to what might be called the “objective, nondirective school of clinicians.” This is the far opposite from psychoanalysis and the traditional Freudian theories as well as most basis of today’s psychiatric and psychological counseling — so far in fact that I cannot claim any allegiance to the school of present day psychology, but rather find the field of logic holds much more real, practical help for us in human relations than any other area of social influence. Modern writings by such men as Eric Fromm are so inconsistent with any intelligent system as I perceive it that I cannot peace myself in the same field with him. However, since he is famous and I am not, I will leave the field of psychology to him and label mine as objective logic.

In fact, I would indicate that the objective of any personality development program would be to achieve: Intellectual honesty, objectivity, and an inquiring mind. If we move this up to an adult level we must add an element of flexibility for social survival; but since I will confine myself here to childhood development, we will have our hands full with achieving the three aforementioned objectives.

From the time the child is born, the parents should face up to certain prin­ciples. First, that the child is no longer the same person or part of the same body of its mother. At birth, the organism becomes a personality independent in an ever increasing number of ways and is a different person — never to be the same again. Recognizing this simple obvious fact may carry you further than you have always been willing to go. But it is basic. Now the parents’ task is to develop this third person into a truly independent person able to withstand the buffeting pressures of life. Obvious — of course — but it means an orientation of training the child from the very start for independence and the extent that parents are not willing to do this is the extent to which they are developing a cripple and a weakling. This means that we must not make it a prime objective that “I want to give my child all the things I didn’t have as a child.” This means that the idea of “delayed adolescence” is the wrong idea and that “accelerated adolescence” must be substituted.

I realize that I might actually be hurting myself as a director when I advance some thoughts of child care that may differ from those held by the very parents I will in a few months be trying to sell on the idea of letting their children come under my care for a camp or school experience. But if so it will likely be in the area of the parent not taking the effort to follow these discussions of the critical judgmental action of the balance between accelerated adolescence and parental guidance.

The clue to this judgmental area lies in the fact that for a child to develop a strong character and personality, the child must have firm but kindly and intelligent discipline, consistently structured. As a child goes through the vital development process of constantly “testing its limits” it finds an understandable, logical, orderly, consistent ~‘set of limits” that guide and give strength (through self-confidence) upon which the child may confidently build his own judgment and decision-making abilities.

We adults have a great deal of trouble in realizing when we try to train our children, lust how primitive their frame of reference really is. The child simply does not have the background of knowledge and so we lose our tempers and patience and start to scold while the child builds feelings of confusion and guilt. Do you remember watching the first efforts of a child to learn to sit in a chair? Do you remember how often the child walks up to the chair and tries to sit down while facing the chair? It hasn’t grasped the concept of having to turn his back to the chair before sitting. Montessori teachers are

cautioned on this aspect when working with pre-schoolers that the three and four year old child has so little general knowledge of the “frame of reference” that you can frighten children as one parent did in just suggesting that the child stay away from the fireplace because he might “fall up the chimney.” This was an entirely possible concept to that young a child’s experience level and the child was terrified of fireplaces for many months.

So confusion is more often the learning problem, not anti-social or anti-parent intent. As a child lives in an adult world, (the tables are too high, the chairs are too high and big) the securities an adult gains from familiar and comfortable surroundings are non-existent for a child. So the child has to actually learn for himself and the parent is not really much help many times in the learning experience. Just as you can’t teach the two year old to sit in a chair by using words, so you can’t teach a much older child by words either—their experience level simply has not given them the “frame” into which to place the parents verbal picture.

So in the final analysis the child has to learn from his own actual experience. These experiences then are what the parent can be the most helpful in providing for the child (in a scaled degree of complexity) to develop his own frame of reference into which later verbal information and instruction can be placed. The guiding principle then is to provide a series of physical, motor experiences (in a great volume) for the child to work through and out of which he may evolve his own judgments. Judgment is what it is. The child must sooner or later — and better sooner, be reconciled to the use of his own judgment. He must understand why, not just accept why. This is why we cannot “give” our children the things we never had. They are not capable of receiving them. As far as we can go in doing things for our children is to provide them with as many motor experiences as possible so that they will have increased op­portunity to “learn for themselves” and thus learn what most of us wish we had learned much earlier than we did.

The idea of “delayed adolescence” comes from the lack of understanding of this element of learning. It springs from the recognition that you should not allow a child into an adult situation even though you have “told” him all about the facts of life, etc., etc. It is the lack of understanding that the child cannot really accept verbal teachings and thus delay his adolescent period. What it really is acknowledging is that you must delay the child’s privileges until his experience background catches up with what you have tried to teach him in the first place.

The idea of “accelerated adolescence" implies that instead of waiting for experience levels to catch up with parental verbal levels, that we accelerate the experiences so the “experience level” will be ready to accept the verbal teachings of parents. By considering every possible activity made available to your child and selecting as many as possible that provide group motor experiences, the “units of experience” will be presented at a volume level helpful to the child grasping social skills far faster than a child kept in contemplative, solo or restricted activity programs.

WHAT IS REAL? TESTING HIS LIMITS

I write of providing “units of experience” by which the growing child can learn a wide foundation thus enabling himself to build his own frame of ref­erence into which he can accept without confusion the verbal teachings of parents and others. As the child grows from pre-school into the early grades, he is evolving from the need of total dictatorial control by the parent into an ever increasing ability to use his own judgment. Here now the parent may find it easy to lean a little too far in the direction of freedom, allowing the child to make too many of his own decisions without the necessary back-ground of experiences.

We must in these years achieve for the child what the late Dr. Karl Menninger called, and entitled his book on the subject, “The Vital Balance!’ With over-protectiveness and complete dictatorship on one hand to excessive freedom on the other, the child is again filled with confusion and reflects parental advice. Please do not interpret this as a childish form of malice. I must empha­size the chief characteristic is confusion. Again the parent is teaching and training from a comparatively far advanced frame of reference and the child has not yet the experience level to accept the verbal offerings.

As the child attempts to develop those judgments necessary, he must and does continually “test his limits.” What his mind is unable to do at this point is to perceive generalities. The adult by now has learned to live easily on a fairly high level of generalization and can easily reach down into the specific level to make a judgment decision. The child, however, has not left the level of specific judgments and learned to make or even comprehend the concept of a generalization.

So the child has learned to make a judgment on when to cross the street, to learn a repeated pathway to and from a friend’s house, to the corner store and to the school bus stop. (It used to be all the way to school but “progress” has eliminated for most children that wonderful learning experience of “walking to school.”) But this does not mean you are ready to let the child travel to distant cities because that calls for a wider, more generalized understanding of the small procedures he uses in walking to the corner store.

Since most children live with a great deal of confusion caused by low ex­perience levels, they are reluctant to increase their experiences (which are the only events that will build their self confidence and pride image of themselves.) So here the parent has to step in and exert the discipline necessary to say — “Go to school” or even “Go to camp,” because the parent knows these are experience producing events. It is not that the child really doesn’t want to go, it is the confusions he holds which prevent him from feeling the self-confidence necessary to make the major general decision.

In summer camp work each year we see this reestablishment of self-confidence exhibited by the returning campers from previous years. More important to them than the “new” equipment we may have acquired at camp for the summer, is the re-acquaintance with the “old” friends they had. The loving affec­tion they exhibit for the “old” boats they knew last year, the trip around the grounds to see all of the places they knew last year. Because these “old” places and equipment do not present challenges to them they are confident of their ability to handle them. Their experience level in that department is high enough to give them the self-confidence they need to turn their atten­tion to the “new” equipment which they soon do as they seek their new chal­lenges, but always build upon their reestablishment of tested and proven past experiences.

You probably notice this as the children come home from camp (or from a vacation trip, etc.) by their first desire to walk into every room in the house, to see if all is as they knew it was in their world. This is the reestablishment of their past confidences and self-respect and image, if you please. These are very specific searchings. Looking for a football, or old shoes, or jacket or treasures in a dresser drawer. These are all indications that the parent still has to make the decisions involving the higher level of generalizations.

As far as a summer decision or boarding school decision is concerned, this is not a question to be left to the child. While we are, of course, reticent to “force” anything on a child — the “go or no go” decision is often too complicated and generalized for the child to make. He simply hasn’t the back-ground. This is why we see so often a considerable degree of reluctance on the part of the child to leave its parents and stay in camp or school upon arrival — then shockingly soon after the parents have left, the child is quite happy as he quickly makes new friends, or finds enough areas of specific familiarity that he can build self-confidence to a degree allowing him to be happy and have a good time. This often is simply getting his bed made — because here is a situation the child is used to — a bed of his own so this be-comes his new home. Or, of course, a splash in the pool because he has been in a pool before and has enough experience level to accept the pool play without confusion. It does not represent an unknown threat such as our “falling up the chimney” illustration.

So, if the decision to be made is one requiring a higher generalization of knowledge — make the decision for the child. He is incapable of doing so and looks to his parents for this with a plea for help. Confusion for him is the result if the parent lacks confidence in making the decision for the child, Then the parent has to maintain the force of the decision firmly, long enough for the child to gain the experience level necessary to enjoy the new surroundings. If the parent wavers in his determination, this again adds to the confusion since the child in effect says to himself “If my parents don’t know whether I should or not — how should I know?” The child’s lack of experience will cause reluctance. He’ll “test his limits” by testing the strength of the parents decision. Once finding a limit of strength, a concrete absolute within which he knows he will live, he can then set about to learn the smaller experiences that will build his self confidence.

We used to allow a minimum of two weeks camp enrollment, but changed to a minimum of three weeks since it so commonly required one and a half to two weeks for the child to establish a base for a really fun experience for even the most bashful. But when the parent pulls the child from camp after two weeks, the child really didn’t quite have enough time to “solidify” his confidence and enjoy himself. This should be a guide as to discipline time requirements in your home policy also. Make your general decisions yourself and hold them firmly realizing it will quite possibly take as much as three weeks of consistent pressure before the child can absorb it into his own frame of reference.

MENTAL HEALTH THE PLEASURE OF PRODUCTIVE WORK

I speak a good deal about confusion. Perhaps I should point out how this comes about and in what way you can prevent it. A baby is born as a “physical” being. Its’ early responses are “learned” by trial and error perhaps, but learned “rationally, logically and consistently.”  That is, every time he swats the crib side, or bangs his head against the wall — it hurts — every time. He learns. He tests the limits of his world rationally, and logically deducts that he should not bang his head against the wall be-cause it will bring pain and thus the child learns a negative feeling on pain and even associates this with one of his first verbal instructions of “no,” As Nathaniel Branden points out, this develops the “bad for me” evaluation by the child. This is a rational — not an emotional — evaluation, The child has not yet developed emotional reactions — is not born with them — but learns them from the pleasant or unpleasant associations he forms from his early primitive “units of experience.” Pleasant sensory experiences build a happy “good for me” judgment and painful sensory experiences build unpleasant “bad for me” judgments. This continues for several years of learning, consistently, logically because on the physical level, the rational level of our world, contradictions do not exist.

that he learns to make from the very primitive days of life. All is fine until verbal training starts to rear its ugly head and plants untrue, incorrect adult emotional generalizations which are in basic conflict with the orderly logical world the child has learned in his “non-ver­bal” world. When he first starts to hear “no” to an action that he had learned is pleasant and “good for me,” his first confusion occurs.

Okay, Parents — here is where some of you will “leave me.” When parents begin imposing their own “wrong” emotional judgments and values on the child with a growing, learning intellect, the parent causes a conflict in what the child knows from experience to be true. The child is just learning to “generalize.” The parent has in most cases become so good at generalization that he has forgotten how to be correctly specific. The parent errs because the parent teaches an untruth taught the parent by the society in which the parent lives and has had to adjust without regard to right or wrong.

The child is of course forced to accept “blindly” without a logical, rational development of understanding, the edict which comes from the adult frame of reference. From this comes confusion, resentment, frustration, rebellion. The child seldom is able to grasp the generalization from which the parent sets up limits for the child’s world. Abstraction and generalization are very advanced intellectual processes. The child is only able to understand “yes and no” answers for the first eight or ten years and only then begins to de­velop generalized judgments that allow his mind to grasp abstractions. It is the period prior to this time that is the basically critical time of child development. If during these years, the child’s world is filled with experiences that are happy, pleasant “good for me” experiences through which the child has repeatedly felt the joy of insight and accomplishment, the child develops a confident, productive and alert, active, interested positive personality. If this period has been, on the contrary, one from which the child experienced pain, idleness, boredom, melancholy, frustration and “bad for me” experiences, the child seeks security, protection and develops a non-productive, dependent personality.

HERE, THEN, IS MAJOR, DRASTIC, PERSONALITY DETERMINER

NUMBER 1 . The entire outlook of the individual’s future life has been set up as one of a strong, confident, happy, productive, active, ag­gressive personality; or the personality has accepted frustration, resentment, pain and seeks from then on security from others, re­luctant to control his or her own life willing and eager to let other social influences and leaders of various types assume this control. To understand this is to grasp the heart of human relationships and personalities. Either you wish to control your own life or you wish someone else or “they” to control your life for you and it happened before you were sixteen years of age!

Again — how vital it is that the child be allowed to learn “from experiences” since without the opportunity to learn from experience, the child never learns but becomes a “second hander” for the rest of his life. This is why I place so much emphasis upon “units of experience.” These must be motor experiences at first when the child has a restricted verbal world in which to live. Then as the child grows, these experiences take on verbal levels, specific levels, and eventually abstract and generalized levels, as maturity develops within the personality.

“Confusion” then is in inverse proportion to the units of pleasurable “good for me” experiences provided for the child.

As the young intellect develops, one of the greatest pleasure experience is the pleasure of insight. Notice how the baby enjoys finding his fingers or toes. This continues and is one of the basic values of the Montessori Training.

It builds purposeful behavior for the joy of accomplishment. Montessori labels this the first work of the infant, learning its body, its world, identifying sounds, shadows, movements, etc. and it is pleasure because it “produces” insight.

Work is pleasure because it “produces” the thrill of insight, accomplishment and pride in results. Work only becomes a negative word by the incorrect interjection of the adult emotional label to the word that the grownup learned from his frustrated inability to gain the rewards sought from his adult efforts. Keep the word “work” as a positive happy word and experience for your child by continuing the joy of accomplishment. Play produces nothing. Work produces pleasure. Play then does not build, but attempts to seek pleasure as an “end” rather than as a by product and this is a fallacy that dooms the pleasure seekers to boredom.

Incidentally, (and here comes the commercial) Holiday Harbor Seafaring Camp is not a play camp. We are not baby sitters. We are not teaching boredom. We attempt and have designed a program to the end that each camper finds his joy in pride of accomplishment. Thus by presenting a continuous series of tasks to accomplish, he achieves his rewards and pleasures in his pride of accomplishment. We “scale up” the tasks as the child progresses in skills and in years. This develops the happy, proud, confidence of the “good for me” personality, resulting in a strong producer: your child!

MENTAL ILLNESS PLEASURE AS A GOAL

In my first “chapter” I mentioned that I did not place myself any longer in that illustrious group of professionals who call themselves psychologists. The reasons for this are important to understanding our basic ideas of child de­velopment here at Holiday Harbor.

In their search for knowledge of human understanding, the group of people who make up the vast majority in the field of psychology work on a number of basic premises but most of them are interested in the “sick” personality. As a base, they study the hospitalized, the sick, the neurotic, the psychotic and their almost entire orientation is based on how to make the sick people adjust and in identifying the “events” that caused this “sickness.” In this re­spect they have merely copied the M.D’s approach and said — “Too bad this person has a broken leg. Well, let’s try to enable him to walk again . , Isn’t it too bad that automobile hit him? We really should have a stop sign at that corner and slow the traffic down. We would then not have so many broken legs.”

This is fine for the medical profession. The M.D. is interested in seeing his patient returned to the condition of being able to walk again and so sets the bone properly and prescribes the care necessary to achieve this final result. But one should expect more from a “profession” that ascribes to be “scientific.” The science that portends to help lead man from the dark ages of human relationships, should come up with a better procedure and result than merely helping people to attain a minimum performance level. I rather enjoy the idea once expressed that Man is the missing link between the monkey and the human of the species. It would appear to me that Nathaniel Branden is on the right track when he says that the science of psychology has not been started, or if it has, it is in its most primary stages of infancy. A “Scientist” in the field of human relations should take not the “sick” viewpoint of man, but rather consider “what are the conditions and nature of a ‘well’ man and what are the factors that could make him great?” There have been so many examples of genius and truly great people in our world that here lies proof that man is capable of greatness. What is it then that prevents “all” men from being great? If one man can “do it” why can’t the percentages be in-creased for greatness “en masse?”

(When I use the term “greatness en masse” I am expressing not “oneness” but a large mass of great individuals. Since man uses less than 10% of his mental capabilities, as a “mass” figure we are interested here in raising the percentage of mental ability used — by everybody. Our approach is to help a greater number attain a higher capability in terms of a productive personality. Psychologists should be concerned then with the exploitation by each individual of his capability for his own greatness.)

My father indicated this one time, talking to an admirer of Abraham Lincoln when our two families were taking a combined visit to the Knob Creek farm in Kentucky where Lincoln was raised. The Lincoln admirer expressed that here were the hills, the creek and land that made Lincoln great. My father answered that if he believed the “hills and creek” had anything to do with making Lincoln a great man, he would build an orphanage here and raise Abraham Lincolns “wholesale.” Well, Dad had the right idea but just didn’t follow through on the project. He certainly was playing with an idea that he did not realize was basic to a new birth of psychological science i.e. “What are the conditions that make men great and how can they be put into production On a wholesale basis?”

This is our interest at Holiday Harbor. We are not interested in “sick” chil­dren — we are not running a camp for psychiatric cases but are strongly interesting in presenting the type of program that will make young people de­velop into “great” adults. We try to fill the program with the kind of fun and training that builds greatness — not lust “cures” some childish bad habits and maladjustments. We work on the theory that such is truly possible. We are not oriented around sickness and weakness but around joy of accomplishment and personality strengths with the firm conviction that it is entirely possible to turn out “greatness on a wholesale basis.”

I am trying here to indicate how we go about this since this “mass greatness” idea must start with the parent understanding the issues involved from the time the baby is born. Since there is probably no subject or event that is sur­rounded with less serious thought than “conception,” our entire approach to child care is traditionally “hind sight” and let’s try and “catch up” on what we should have done for this child last year. We must approach mass greatness much like a golf game — that is to play the ball from where it lies.

So your child is sent to us and you are just then starting to give some thought to these ideas expressed and to decide whether you agree with them or not! It is assumed you do or you would never let your child get into our clutches! As I previously expressed, our program is a “work” program and some children take several weeks before they are able to make the transition from “pleasure seeking as an end” (see last chapter) to pleasure through pride of accom­plishment. We have never had a child who did not complete this transition if left here for three or more weeks. But with the emphasis today on pleasure and passive sports such as TV. watching, model making (where the model is already made and has merely to be glued together in six easy steps), etc. etc. etc., the child may find it a transition to get into the procedure of “doing things” for himself and repeatedly “passing tests” that lead to truly advanced skills and accomplishment.

When the child returns home from Holiday Harbor, he often slips back into the same “rut” of TV. and “pleasure as an end” orientation. This, of course, is an easy “in terms of effort needed” existence. We often enjoy it more on a short term basis. If this formula is true — some children (depending upon how “sot” in the pleasure principle they are) should show only slight interest —or perhaps reticence in ever returning to our program the following year. If such does occur, the parent should think back to see if this is likely born out of the above explained thinking, or that the child just plain “hates this place.” 


Our children learn, in addition to boat handling skills something far more basic than rowing a boat. Boating is the only activity I know of where the lessons of a happy productive life can be so well learned. The procedure of learning a series of very simple tasks, with the “built in” requirement that the child must learn to plan ahead or he will never get back to the dock. This is the best possible kind of preparation for future adult life in itself. When we add to it the joy and pride through completing small simple to complex tasks, we have a program for which we make no apologies. We can recommend this to you for your child without reservation of any kind! Send your child to Holiday Harbor the summer! It will be one of the finest experiences you can provide.

BOYS—GIRLS AND SELF—RESPECT

Drug Store Cowboys — we used to call them —

Remember — when we were young — the kids who used to talk a good game — dressed for exhibition could find no sense of pride in self, so they had to get a second hand pride by imitating others who really did accomplish? The best such people can do is to copy — and “extremize” certain styles that do not require the development of only real accomplishment. From the zootsuiters to surfers hair cuts — (or surfer “lock” of hair cuts). We see today the primitive dance styles, etc.

Their “second-hand” self-esteem devices ore a convenient crutch for the damage caused by our “security minded” challengeless, anti-incentive — persecuted accomplishment society. This results of course in behavior and affected personality that is not understood by many parents, and others of the species that haven’t had the “joy of life” to do even a little second-hand living. Most of these styles originate or focus upon one who really accomplished, or a small group of people who really do accomplish.

Let's look at the “pyramid of people” that forms a “second-hand” self-esteem group. Let’s take as the Number One “idol,” a highly talented, highly practiced, award winning race car driver. Next comes the group of “runners-up” — all talented, practiced, skilled, and who know their technical requirements. Next, the larger number of hobbyists who “hot rod” their cars and learn much — or — just enough to disconnect the muffler of the car, which produces only noise. There is a still larger group who only drive cars fast, substituting reckless speed for the technical skill of the Number One idol who is the technically perfect racing driver who knows every aspect of speed characteristics. This is “second-hand” self-esteem!

Let us consider another example — “Beatle haircuts.” Our good friends the Beatles are, believe it or not, very talented — accomplished — technical musicians — composers — arrangers. Many of their arrangements and compositions have merited performance by a variety of performing groups, including the Boston Pops. Their style of presentation did not exactly receive the overwhelming enthusiastic appreciation of the adult, or chronologically older of the human species. The younger generation however, seem to have latched on with unanimous totality, including clothes and haircuts.

So, the Number One idols are the Beatles. The Beatles are very successful — therefore they represent an effective “rebellion” to the adult world, whose most available representative is a parent or school teacher. To express individuality, independence from parental and adult preachings, (most of which the younger generation have found to be a lie), children endorse their Number One idols, the Beatles. They endorse their music, their clothes style and their hair cut style. A number of young people with musical talent channel that talent to guitar music, and mumbled enunciation of song lyrics. They do not hove the same degree of musical technical talent, but they copy what they can — the guitar — the noise .— the body movement. A still larger group with even less talent and ability, and even less desire to develop a talent, simple echo the noise and the hair cuts.

There is nothing they personally can do well except grow hair and refuse to cut it! Some can’t even comb it! But they can use it as a symbol of rebellion and it is an easy transition to identify themselves with talent. (It’s the same old story of “talk is cheap”). It is a second-hand self esteem. They can’t do, so they copy. There is no pride in what they personally have done — so they copy. Second-handers make up the mass of non-productive followers, and unless these people learn to produce for themselves they continue as “second-handers.”

Where are the Heroes?

To answer this question involves an understanding of the “stuff” heroes are made of. A hero is a personality who has confidence enough in himself to accomplish a difficult, perhaps dangerous, perhaps dramatic job that turns out to be of tremendous importance to his associates. A hero develops over a period of years in terms of a personality that builds self-confidence. This is accomplished by the process of “doing things” until the person becomes “one who does things.” This kind of a person gets started ideally in the preschool years with Montessori like activity of motor skills and understanding. Certainly living a childhood of activity. Adventure is vital to the all important self-confidence. Remember what has changed since you were a child. School buses, heavy and fast auto traffic, to consider just two.

Where does a child learn self-confidence when he is taken to the school bus stop by his parents? When all traffic stops in both directions to let children cross the street? When the school bus is painted bright yellow and equipped with a flashing red light and long swing arm to stop traffic?

When a safety patrolman gets off the bus first to guard against any other hazard? Results: Watch the children as they pour out of a school bus after school. Did you ever see one of them stop and look to see if the passage was safe? What has this taught them? When they get out of a car or a city bus, there is no flashing red light to stop traffic from both directions.

Gone is the long bike ride to and from school each day — gone is the walk — gone are many of the sidewalks. Gone are the daily afternoon games of tin con hockey on roller skates on a smooth asphalt street. In fact, gone are the afternoons, since kids don’t get home till 4:30. The point is that those experiences helped you grow into a “hero” or “fair lady” with each crack in the sidewalk a “deep canyon” to be avoided at risk of life, and bands of Indians or robbers charging down every alley. Remember the back alley walks with garbage can lids as shields held for many a battle of thrown tin cans? Substituted today is “second-hand adventure” on television, and little opportunity to actually physically express individual “hero” actions. So it is not difficult to understand how we move more and more into a “mass” or “herd.”

Is a “slave” personality what you desire for your child? No — well then in these times we have to go to extra lengths to make up experiences, we have with “progress,” taken away from the heritage of our children. Here at Holiday Harbor we find again the stuff heroes are made of. First hand accomplishments, achievement of skills on individual basis and ability along with team effort. Never forgotten is the respect for the superior rank because the child personally appreciates what has been done to achieve the rank.

Why all this talk about heroes and second-hand self-esteem? It is because this is the exact area that is the basis of most of the present day U.S.A. foul up! Here in the world of heroes and self-esteem in adolescents, in the development stages before children become “aware” in a sexual sense, is just where our society has missed the boat in its understanding of the sexual role of nature, happy, satisfied productive adults. Since our purpose in camp is to help your young people develop into strong adults in later years, it is vital to recognize that much of their adult anxiety and problems will be in the area of love and sexual adjustment. It is in the pre-sexual awareness that this entire area of life is “set up” as one as confident happiness or confused frustration. This is the period of life to which we “Flash back” in a psychological navel or from the Psychiatrist’s couch.

It is in this area that society has set up so many conflicting ideas because they do not understand the true nature of the man-woman, masculine-feminine relationship. Here is where the Phillip Wyllie's, the Eric Fromms, the A. S. NeilIs, the Freudian psychologists and philosophers, and advocates of “love” as a solution to man’s problems, have missed out an a basic understanding. It is a little too involved to cover here in such a few wards, but the reason we have a coed camp, the reason we have developed the type of program we have, is based right here. Any healthy mature life condition requires strengths. Any running from this strength as a personality and life philosophy, leads one to accept a neurotic life personality. This starts in young children long before they are aware of sexual personality as an adult perceives it.

As Nathaniel Branden points out — young children’s awareness of a sexual difference is one of their earliest, but in the sense that the boys are stronger, more active, more aggressive, physically and structurally. They receive their first ideas of their sexual nature by their physical strength. Masculinity arid feminity traits are observed then as developing long before puberty. A little girl observes in early childhood that men do more in the world, are stronger

more active physically — in sports, etc. She culturally then give her first emotional tribute to men as she finds they are the leaders. This is the foundation of what will later become sexual in nature.

As a little bay grows up, he grows from the ideals and heroes he chooses. His future growth is determined by these ideals as they are developed. If he never discovers any heroes to worship, or ideals, his future life is thus affected. As a little girl grows up, she follows the same pattern and her heroes and ideals determine the nature of her future life. The association with bays an this level has a great deal to do with the manner and degree to which she will as an adult be able to respond to men and a “man’s world.” Most people are guided into their masculine/feminine adult roles through just this relationship. They develop their self esteem from the confidence learned in performing these very early childhood tasks. Timidity is never a virtue of any sort in any situation. Admiration is self-assertive and reflects self-confidence, These two personality traits are vital to happy confident adults, and they ore farmed before puberty and molded and reinforced during, and immediately after this period. That is why this “summer camp age period” is so difficult far children, and why the proper summer camp guidance con mean so much for the individual child at this stage. It is vital that the child gain an understanding of a sort of these factors as they make the transition from children to young men and women. This understanding is accomplished in terms of their own skill — development — their awn confidence and self-esteem. It is required to be a first hand accomplishment. Our entire program is built upon this idea. Each child individually develops his awn knowledge through first hand accomplishment in booting, swimming and croft work, if you please, and thus realizes tremendous jay in this achievement. It’s fun!

A system of education that emphasizes mass superficial conformity — without basic knowledge requirements — builds a nation of second-hand self-esteem  — people who can talk a good game but can’t produce. Children are “passed along” in school without learning. But they think they have learned. They have the impression that having completed the Fifth grade, they have learned Fifth

grade work. Do you think I am kidding? Let me tell you a story. You won’t believe this — but you try it and see. This is how the “rude awakening” came to me. I know of a home where the daughter is responsible for preparing breakfast for the family. One morning, she was asked to please fix Cream of Wheat far breakfast. When the family sat down for breakfast they were served Corn Flakes.

“But Daddy,” she replied to the complaint about the missing Cream of Wheat, “you can’t make Cream of Wheat for six of us. The directions on the side of the box soy you con only make it for four servings.” Reading the instructions from the box, the father asked: “if it takes 3 cups of water for you to make four servings of Cream of Wheat, how much water will it take for six servings?” I must explain at this point that this actually happened — exactly as I am reporting it when the daughter was an A and B student in the Seventh grade of the public school system here. Twenty minutes later the daughter still couldn't come up with the answer, neither had her one year alder sister, nor her high school Senior sister!

Wait — this story isn’t aver yet. I think perhaps the moral of it is that the head of the Cream of Wheat Company should re-write his cooking instructions. Perhaps I should tell him this story or send him a copy this Newsletter — perhaps he has same children he would like to send to summer camp, or at least he might send us same Cream of Wheat far the camp. But to take this story on to its next shocking development — II swear this is true!. This story “nagged me” and I have investigated it further. My son and four of his Fraternity brothers arrived from college a few days later to spend Easter vocation with us. I asked them — quote — “If it takes three cups of water to make four servings of Cream of Wheat, how much water will it take to make six servings?” The answers were:

“Let’s see — x is to 3 as Y is to 6 — then...”

“It depends on how thin you want the Cream of Wheat.”

“If I had my slide rule I could figure it out.” “May I borrow some paper and a pencil?”

A half an hour later one college man came up with 4½ cups far the answer, and I talked him out of it. I ridiculed his answer by saying in a sarcastic tone of voice — “How did you ever get an answer like that?” Dear parents — he asked me what was the correct answer!

Wait — the story still isn’t aver — I have used this example a number of times when making speeches before various groups. I have usually passed out self addressed post cards mimeographed with blanks for scores, and request my audience to try this experiment for me on high school and college students — being careful not to slant the problem, and to explain it is not a trick question. I hove had better than fifty cards returned, with over 100 children questioned, and more than half of them can’t give a correct answer! You try it —(don’t spoon feed” the answer) — let me know the results, but realize how important it now is, that you give your children “experiences” that will build their self-confidence so if they do get a correct answer, you will not be able to talk them out of it. This illustrates one of the greatest problems of “child raising” — the vast breach between “verbal” and “experience” methods of learning.

This results ultimately in the personality, as it approaches “old age” 35-50-70 years, developing bitterness as the individual sees life slipping by without having actually personally developed satisfactions that can come only from having “accomplished.” Important educational ob1ectives are clarified in the folk sayings of our times, Listen to them and think about their significance.

“An empty barrel rattles the loudest” (Are we talking about secondhand esteem?) “We get too soon old and too late smart” (Are we saying our educators taught us lies — or that we refused to think about what we were learning, or that it took the experiences of a lifetime for us to learn how actually to live?)

Holiday Harbor is oriented around actual accomplishments — and no quantity of second-hand self esteem is in evidence here. It is an amazing thing, but as each child goes through the some tasks of learning and performing the boating skills, each child receives the same awards of talents accomplished. These are privileges allowed. It amazes the child to find he can perform and that advanced privileges are rewards far accomplishments. They respect the accomplishments of their shipmates because they recognize the skill necessary to develop and achieve the rank awards. On every age level, every camper knows he or she has an equal opportunity to achieve the same reward. All they have to do is the some things —. but they must do it. Long haircuts far bays disappear. Quiet pride is the result of accomplishment, since having actually “performed.” a child does not find it necessary to make loud noises about it. Others respect him because they know what he has done to accomplish and he knows what he has done. Here is true education. True accomplishment — true character building.

Behavior problems? Re-name them; “second-hand self-esteem.” Our boy at 14 replied to us an query, “You know Mom and Dad, I don’t have to smoke and drink like the other kids to prove that I am a man.” Play accomplishes nothing. Only “work” accomplishes. It accomplishes a great jay that comes only from pride in accomplishment. Only pride in accomplishment develops self-esteem. Those who give objection to “work,” pride, self-esteem might be doing so to boost their own second-hand, sadly failing, self-esteem as they see their life racing away from them without accomplishment.

Holiday Harbor Seafaring Camp is a program that will, along with all the booting, water skiing, sailing and wake surfing, continue the “accomplishment” that your child has started, or “start” a child who has not as yet felt the ecstatic joy of worthwhile achievement. This is the dual nature of the fun our campers experience. You could see it in your baby’s face when he took his first firm steps and realized “I can walk! I can walk!” even though he was too tiny to know the words. It’s beautifully expressed to in Peter Pan when Tinker Belle cries out “I can fly! I can fly!” To the joy of soiling a boat is added the bonus of “I con do this all by myself I I’m good enough to be trusted all by myself!”

“NOTHING GROWS UNDER THE BANYAN TREE.”

Every child who attends Holiday Harbor Seafaring Camp comes from a family that is way above the “great average” of Americans. The family head had the talent to fight his way through the frustrations of the great economic testing grounds of our life training to achieve enough success convertible into dollars — to make possible this summer of fun, vacation and adventure far his children. In same situations the finances required have not placed any strain upon the bank account. In other families the situation has been one where parents have considered the many needs of the family and definitely decided that this summer of fun and accomplishment for their children is more important than other uses they could make of the money presently available. Both situations however imply there is a member of the family who has unusual talent in this world to make possible this Seafaring Adventure.

So we ore living with the children of the most persecuted group in the U.S.A. today - the talented money producers. It is the group which suffers the most abuse from society and its pressures thon any other. When a child of a “privileged” group is exposed as having run afoul of some society’s rules, the great “average mass” “tut tuts” about how they don’t understand why delinquents come from the better families. Of course, they don’t. They feel that delinquency is a matter of “slum clearance,” “head-start programs,” etc., or from forces generated from poor environment. Our campers came from the group of people which is supposed to “pay the bills” for everybody else, The mare you produce, the more of someone else’s bills you get to pay — so after years and years of being fed this thought, it is no wander we get to believing we ought to “give” every opportunity possible to our children, since we are being forced to “give” every opportunity to everybody else’s children.

Why it is then, that from such a desire to do the best far our children, do we sometimes get children who do not do their best?

Men who hove learned to produce on the level necessary to support a family in a comfortable home in a pleasant and stimulating neighborhood, have also found that it is a consuming task requiring almost total concentration and devotion of effort and attention. When such producers look back at their childhood they realize the childhood of their children is a far cry from their own and the question naturally arises — “Why, with these kids so far ahead of where I was as a child — haven’t they achieved more than I did?’ Every man wants his children to be “better than he is.” The only easily reached conclusion is that the “kids nowadays just don’t appreciate what is done for them.” And of course that is exactly correct although in perhaps a slightly different way than we might at first suspect.

Let’s investigate this a little. A truism well known, is that “behind every great man there is a great women.” We won’t go into the adult ramifications of this statement, only to accept it in principal and point out that this means our concern must be equally with both boys and girls since we are interested in them also becoming productive people either in a primary or a strongly supportive position. Again we have heard that the first generation builds a great industry or business, the second generation lends aid to the growth and maintains it, and the third generation exploits it. Then it is the fourth generation that may start the cycle once again. Perhaps you have heard it said that “inherited” money is squandered — you only “earn” money with money you have “earned.”

Here certainly are three ideas that have enough validity to raise an eyebrow when thinking about the futures for our children. So let’s raise the eyebrow and think! After stating his impression that Mahatma Gandhi had two sons, a visitor to India asked a Hindu newspaperman what had happened to them and what had they accomplished? The newspaper men gave the reply claimed to be e quote from one of the two sons “Nothing ever grows under the Banyan Tree.” This eloquent expression from a really talented accomplished son of one of the world leaders reflects the problem of every child growing up in p privileged household or in the shade of an unusually talented and productive father.

Since this unusual productive ability of a hard working father produces enough money to provide advantages of comfort even after better than half of his earnings go to support the non-producers, it is indeed an unusual ability. It is a talent that was not born, raised, developed, in the same atmosphere of “ease” as that made possible by “father.” Father had to learn how to “work” for it — “scrap” for it — even to work to keep a little of it. It is exactly that process that developed father into the success that he is.

Now to develop the next generation, the rood of life must be “essentially” the same road. “Different” tasks end challenges perhaps may be those of the next generation, but challenges and tasks they must be.

One of the “regrets” in my life is that I was not mature enough to “get to know” my grandfather better. I certainly do admire and respect the talent and ability he was able to pass on to his four sons (my father and three uncles). Here the “formula” was working well in my own family. I “regret” also not being able to have known much more closely the very wealthy d’Anconia family of Argentina. It is said each generation has left the family fortune greater than the last. What a tremendous secret of child development that family must know. To be able to build a fortune is one thing — to be able to hang onto it, even better — but to be able to have each generation increase it is a skill unparalleled. That family has found the answers as to how to prevent the three generation cycle of Organization, Maintenance and Exploitation-Decline. I understand that the tradition is still being continued and one real clue to its method was revealed by the present head of the family (and I believe a bachelor) when he said that each member of the d’Anconias has had to earn the right to carry the family name.

 Here is recognition of the vital elements that we are using at Holiday Harbor to help your children become as great (or even greater) than you. Only the kids will have a lot more fun doing it our way than the way you had to fight it out. The first thing in the morning (7:00 AM.) we all go for a quick water ski trip before breakfast. It sure starts the day out with a good appetite!

 The camp day is divided so that half the day is spent on land and half day in the water. Each camper starts afresh each year to earn the first rank which is Apprentice Seaman. To do this they must learn their safety rules and 6 other such requirements. In passing Apprentice and 1st Class Seaman, the children are introduced to both motor-boating and sailing. They have had at least 3 sailboat trips and have learned to run a 6 HP outboard motorboat. At this point each camper decides to specialize in either motor-boating or sailing. Advanced ranks then of Mate, Captain, Jr. and Sr. Navigator, and Cruise Captain are earned in either the sailing or motorboat department. Boating performance skills are learned, practiced and passed in the half day on the water. The knot tying, navigation, etc. are learned in the land and craft program. Thrown in is a liberal education in the bay on water skis, wake surf board and capsized boat; and in the swimming pool, skin diving, life saying, etc. For those who pass the necessary prerequisites, special advanced training is available in water skiing, swimming, SCUBA., advanced sailing and power boating.

 A schedule of progressively longer overnight boat cruises incorporates knowl­edge learned in camping — fire building, camp cooking and council fire programs. Local Pirate Lore; supernatural spirits of those who traveled these waters before us make their appearance from time to time (usually at night, is seems) to liven up the show; plus flour bomb and ice cube fights, all fill out the days to thoroughly disrupt all routine and projects of a “stuffy camp director.” In fact, as many of the adventures and joys of an active summer that can be crammed into our camp program are here — but there is an un­seen rope that ties them all together for the purpose of developing individual children to take their places in your family tradition carrying forward your achievements. They do not have to be in terms of the same chosen profession but certainly in terms of the same character strengths and productive personality that will help them to mature confidently.

 For those children whose family background has not always been consistent, our summers provide a place and an experience through which they may find their way and orient their interests with the guidance of a staff and group of interested, and encouraging young people from which any child will, if allowed to transfer his attention briefly for the summer, grow in capacity and skill. Each summer as the camper returns to repeat the skill procedures, he reinforces his knowledge and coordination. He is pleased to find that ele­mentary tasks are completed with increasing rapidity as safe and good habits have become automatic.

 It is upon this level of accomplishment that judgment is built and forms firm, mature foundations for the ever increasing challenge of the advanced “big” boat sailing — advanced ski practice for competitive level skills — advanced SCUBA. training for extended field trips to prime skin diving areas. Ham radio and model building, copper enameling and glass blowing, photography, and personal skills are activities that prepare campers to join our “elite” — The Cruise Captain’s Council. These are goals worthy of the achievement! The senior division is filled with campers whose talents have during the past few years at HHSC placed them in roughly the following prestige order,

Captain, Jr. Navigator, Sr. Navigator, and Cruise Captain (“Cruise Captain” entitles one to a coveted place on Captain’s Council). Cruise Captain II (proudly a member of “Twice Captain” group). Cruise Captain with bars (“Twice Captain” in each dept.) entitles campers to membership in senior program of advanced activities involving “big boat cruising” (power and sail) and extended trips using all skills they have learned in past years for extended travel and adventure. De­tails of this available only to rated campers and their parents.

Through all of the program is the theme of each camper performing for himself. Just as we expressed it for the first year camper, “We do not baby sit or take the children boat riding. We train our campers to take us boat riding.” And this they do — it is the finest ride we have ever had! Do let your child join us in this lifetime adventure procedure, won’t you? It will be the most fun life they have ever lived. It will be one of the finest things you can do for your child. We pledge to you that we will help your child to take for his guidance that which we have taken for ours — “To give the very best within us” and the world will be better for us having lived.

ABOUT LETTERS TO AND FROM HOME

Of course, we try to have both our campers and students write a letter home each week but frankly this is only to please the parents. It usually is quite a chore for the children, and we are not always successful. The many ingenious schemes to require letters simply do not always work. We have had campers arrive in camp with already written, addressed, stamped and sealed letters home — one for each week they were to be in camp! We have often intercepted envelopes mailed home with blank paper inside and so we re­quire one unsealed handwritten letter a week presented to staff on Wednes­day as admittance to meals — but what are you going to do when they find they have run out of envelopes — or stamps — or pencils — not let them eat?

No news is good news — we do check every bed every night to make sure we haven’t lost anybody! It is when you do start receiving a lot of mail, that camp or school is not going so well for them. Don’t tie the kids down from their summer of fun with a lot of letter requirements.

 But as for you — write once a week, no more, no less! When you write, keep their interest centered around the camp program. Be proud of what they have done in camp, ask about what they are learning, doing, and planning to do this week and next week. If you write that kind of a letter they will want to write home, to tell you the answers to your questions about the fun they are having in camp.

 But in your letters, do let them come to camp! I think we may have had one unhappy camper — a very sweet little girl one summer who received about five letters every day — at least two from her mother. She had to answer each letter as instructed — and she had very little time left to be in camp — she never really centered her attention around the camp, it was always directed

to what was going on at home. Poor little girl was not really here at camp at all — she had lust been sent away from home in body — but not in mind or attention.

Of course, we can permit no phone calls, no visits at any time until visitors day which is a day of demonstrations and open house, the day before camp or school is over. Phone calls to staff take lust that much time away from the camper or student. Would you rather have the most experienced staff spend their time talking with you or with your children? We will be more than happy to talk with you on visitors day — before and after sessions. Then there is lots of time to talk about many things. And of course when we are traveling around the country to visit parents, and show films, we schedule lots of talk time, and love it, but when the kids are here — let us spend the time with them!

AFTER YOUR CHILD COMES HOME

We have had so many parents ask us how they can continue the same proce­dures at home that we use in camp to continue the unusual improvement they have noticed in their children after a period in camp or school. I am sorry I do not know of any book that is a very close guide to the proper development procedures for young people. I hope in the next months to write a little more fully on the subject. But perhaps a few — much oversimplified and too brief comments here will point the way for your thinking so that you can Understand the basic foundation ideas and principles.

First of all — re-read my comments reproduced here — carefully. There is more implied than stated.

Be happy and positive in your treatment of your children. It is extremely dif­ficult in this world of intimidation and frustration to retain a sense of life in your own soul much less to pass this on to your children in the precious few hours of the day left to be with them. Being happy and having them happy is something in addition to not scolding them all of the time. Let’s see if I can say it by way of a number of specific suggestions.

Eliminate Television!

(Well, I just lost all campers and students whose parents are in the television business!) But seriously, the hypnotic trance induced by television prevents the child from spending time in activity requiring more personal effort and re­duces still more the precious moments left for the child to experience life either first hand or in the pages of good books of romantic literature.

Censor nothing!

(Oops! There went some more parents!) But do not be afraid of the weakness of your children. They are far stronger than you think. Of course you don’t want to take any chances with some subjects — but that is exactly what you

are doing when you censor. The all important element in considering exposure of your children to possibly damaging or at least controversial ideas is the acceptance or rejection by your child of the idea. Your expressing the “censor” pronouncement merely tells your child not to let you know how much they think about — or what they think about the tabooed subject. So you have certainly defeated yourself! Here is what you must do whether you censor or not. You must build the moral values within your children so they accept or reject the various ideas they meet according to a standard of what is good or bad for them. This means they must learn what is truly good for them, and

There are two main ideas here. The first is best explained by the old story you no doubt have heard about how after father had finished the laborious “birds and bees and facts of life” lecture to his son in response to the boy’s question of “Daddy where do I come from?”, the boy responded with “Yes, I guess I understand, but mother said we came from just outside Pittsburgh!” Adults are often using far too mature a frame of reference when talking with young people. Even if they are on the same subject and verbal level — the child is not even near the experience level of the adult so that the depth of meaning is incomprehensible to the child.

The second idea requires you do a little deeper thinking into the meaning of the incident or influence you would ordinarily taboo.

Realize the shallowness of the experience level of the child. Now let’s consider the violence and “blood horror” type of presentation so often decried in television, movies, etc., and why do we object to this in today’s productions but not when presented in The Hunchback of Notre Dame or Ivanhoe?

It is not that the violence itself is what is so bad. It is what the violence represents! Children, never having had an experience in violence, do not “re­ceive” it with the depth of understanding that an adult recalls. To the contrary — they need to have a more first hand experience with violence to help their evaluations carry more validity. Consider what one high school child once said to me, “I don’t see what would be so bad about the communists taking over the country — it wouldn’t be much different than it is now. You have to go to school now and the only difference is that you might not be able to come back and sleep at home with your parents.”

 Listening to a Memorial Day talk, another child asked me — “I know what a baton (Bataan) is but what is a Corregidor? (incidentally, to verify the spelling, I looked but could not find it listed in either of our large school atlases or encyclopedias.)

 The first opportunity a child has to personally understand a moral concept is represented in the victory of forces of good over evil. From King George and the Dragon through The Scarlet Pimpernel or The Tale of Two Cities to the Untouchables, the all important element is the idea that it is possible for man to overcome forces of evil and that the forces of evil are actually impotent against the intelligence and courage of a man of moral strength! Violence is in every one of these stories and violence is always present in the conquest of good over evil, and certainly if we surrender to the force of evil-over good! As my father used to caution me — “be careful, you will throw out the baby with the dirty bath water!”

 Teach your child to love reading!

 Vladimir Ilyich Lenin said that the best way to destroy a nation was to destroy its language. A major step in this direction was taken thirty years or so ago when the concept of a system of phonics was removed from our public school presentation. No wonder “Johnny can’t read.” But the real damage lay in that being unable to read romantic novels easily and with self-motivated enthusiasm because of the general distaste for reading caused by the now destroyed ability, was the fact that there is no other way for the a’

child to learn about moral values on any level of comprehension mea, to him! Add to this the purposeful confusion introduced into the areas of values today — and the only result you could possibly expect is the utter bankruptcy which surrounds us on all sides.

 If you can’t send your child to the Flint School, or a 4 R’ school. Organize a neighborhood group of parents to teach your children of any a age a basic phonics understanding and love of reading. This is an absolute requirement of remedial, but not only reading, but remedial morals.

Give your child Adventure!

You can not give your child anything for his spiritual value! You can provide the experiences that will allow the child to develop his own spirit, his own soul, his own moral values and ethics. This must be units of experiences. On early levels, he must be a knight on a white charger. Later he may be a Flash Gordon, and still later a hero of more sophisticated method. But always the hero!

This is the essence of adventure — and adventure builds the skills and desire to be a hero. Provide it in early play, in reading romantic stories, in summer camp, in camping, travel, activity, activity, activity. Spectator sports built “sec­and-hand” self-esteem, wishful thinking and dreaming about what he wishes he were — and since he is not — “the world ought to be different than it is.” Well, the world isn’t different. It is what it is and any individual’s only chance at salvation is to sally forth and do battle with the world if necessary to live a productive self-rewarding life — so “Sic em Toro!”

A little more routine? O.K. How about an allowance!

Give your child an allowance as soon as he or she is old enough to learn how to spend money, and old enough to have some household chores to perform in addition to making their own bed, cleaning their own room, etc. So the allowance is not really “given” it is earned, and only earned if the chores are performed consistently and properly. Increase the allowance as the chores are increased and as long as they are properly conducted. Let the child learn the nature of earning.

But lust as they have worked hard — so allow their reward to be theirs without “strings.” Do not require that they do anything special with the result of their earnings. It is theirs. They earned it! If they want to spend it on junk — let them it is theirs! Don’t try and take it away again by telling them they have to learn to save it. Don’t try to teach them to save. Teach them to earn! But then when they want something — and are broke — don’t undermine your teaching by loaning, giving or subsidizing them. They will soon learn how to save without you saying a single word. Say only one thing — “You can have anything in this world you want — all you have to do is earn it!” Then let them — but if it is “dollar things” they want — let them earn the necessary dollars — all of them.

Don’t teach them they have to learn how to give! (there lust went some more parents) Giving is not a demand — if it is — it is a fine! Giving is a gift! It is something someone wants to do. If forced in any fashion, it is no longer a gift — no matter what you may choose to label it. You are only fooling yourself and your child — don’t play lakes on him. That is a dirty trick to confuse and use your child as an object of ridicule.

 Along about the time your child reaches his twelfth year — give him a clothing allowance of about $20.00 a quarter. (If the dollar doesn’t inflate.) With the exception of a birthday or holiday gift — some expensive clothing items such as an overcoat or suit, let that be all the money available for clothes! (Please don’t show this to your teen age daughters — they won’t want to come to my camp.) Of course go shopping with them when they spend their clothing allowance for the first two or three times to teach them how to find values in clothing. Point out the value of shopping at sales, but not at used clothing stores. Then turn them loose to spend their own clothing money — I If they pur­chase unwisely — or if there is not enough money to suit them — let them find a way to make the money go further. They might learn to sew and make their own — they might look for odd lobs to earn money, bake cookies, sell lemonade, cut grass, wash cars. Now they are starting to learn the value of money.

When they enter high school allow them to be mature enough to carry their own freight. Let them take some household responsibilities — real ones — they live there — it is their house too! So drop the weekly allowance. Let them start finding way to earn money for their wants. What they want will make a lot more sense as they learn to measure it against the amount of personal effort required to purchase it.

Send your child to summer camp

Get them completely away from your parental nagging and pressure as soon as you can and for as long a summer as you can. The earlier young people start to summer camp the better it is for them — and the stronger, more independent they become.

Send them to an active adventure participation camp. Encourage their first hand contact with life on an “I can do this myself” basis. Send them to a work camp some summer. Let them pick tobacco, apples or corn. Let them get away and meet other kinds of people, other types of people. Let them grow strong.

Participate in a foreign exchange program in the school.

Take a foreign student into your home — learn from and about them. There are a number of excellent exchange programs — ask your school counselor — or us. Send your student to a foreign home as an exchange student — let them learn — prepare — and grow. It is a great big wide wonderful world out there — let your children grow strong enough to enjoy it. It really only depends on how they are able to view it.

And when the time comes, how about a recognition of your child earning the right to carry your family reputation and name and the heritage it implies?

                Cordially,


George Stoll, Director         

 

COPYRIGHT, 1968, THE FLINT SCHOOL ©