Route J-1 took me on an adventure to a faraway land where Robin Hood really exists – about two hours south of St. Louis! I visited Sherwood Forest Camp near Lesterville, Missouri to see some counselors in action at J-1’s Camp Counselor program. Sherwood Forest camp is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the summer camp experience to young people with few financial means.
Mary Rogers, the Executive Director, was a camper herself who grew up with a single mom in St. Louis who struggled financially. She credits Sherwood Forest with much of her success in life such as graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her summer camp experience developed her self-confidence and raised her expectations of what she could achieve in life. Paying it forward, she devotes her career to ensuring similar children have the same opportunities to excel.
She also devotes her career to spreading the American summer camp model to other countries by hosting J-1 international camp counselors. Summer camp is not a tradition in most countries according to the counselors I met. However, James, a counselor from Scotland, has become a strong believer in summer camps. As a repeat participant in the program, his first summer at Sherwood Forest inspired him to change his educational path and work to create something similar at home. James is now finishing a second graduate degree which he will use to create linkages between social work and education in Scotland. He told me that the camp experience is now a permanent part of him.
As a camp counselor alumnae myself, I understand how James feels!
|About G. Kevin Saba|
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange
G. Kevin Saba serves as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In this capacity, he oversees the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings around 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States annually to teach, study, and build skills. He is the Director for the Policy and Program Support Division in ECA’s Office of Private Sector Exchange.Read More
View more photos