Building Character in Young People

From experience in youth movements, a couple of weeks of out-door camping, preferably with some difficult conditions, will achieve this aim

Photo of David Chester
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During my time in a youth movement intended for inspiring youth to better face reality, we had annual camping using ridge and bell tents. Many of our camps were at fixed sites, where various study projects such as history of socialism, camp-crafts and practical farming, such as cows (who answer by name for milking) , chickens (which don't), harvest (fruits), soil preparation (weeding) and planting, etc., were explained, discussed and tried.

For older youth from about 16 years, a rambling camp was arranged. It is even more exciting and demanding. Everyone carries a half-tent, personal things in a ruck-sack, and a part of the necessary equipment too, to allow the group settle down somewhere new each evening and to prepare food and shelter. Little shopping is needed and water is collected from suitable streams en-route (planned or discovered). The aim is to travel between two villages or towns over about a week or more, usually where a slightly more permanent camp is to be set up before and after the ramble. Today with mobile telephones it should be much less of a challenge.

Optional: What are some character strengths you’ve worked on with students in the past? Why did you focus on these?

The ability to begin to consider what to do after leaving home. To take a mature attitude here, as well as to travel for educational and pleasure purposes. Independent decision-making is involved, often with fierce arguments before a group votes and follows through.


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Photo of Jennifer Gaspar- Santos

David, you might resonate with this other post on the Teacher's Guild:

The contributor talks about linking "journey" with an outdoor approach.  If you reach out to him, he might be able to collaborate or brainstorm with you on the next phase. Great idea here!

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