What was your favorite childhood toy?
Mine was legos. My brother and I had a huge trunk of legos that we would play with for hours on end. We rarely got the prepackaged lego sets with instructions and images to guide us to build a pre-designed structure. No, we had to use our imagination and creativity of what we wanted to build and then use the legos we had to make it happen.
As I was thinking about how to write this blog building about our approach in helping camps build a framework for sustainability it dawned on me that legos could serve as a great analogy. Every organization has unique resources, challenges and opportunities when it comes to figuring out how to access the economic, environmental and educational benefits of sustainability.
Consider for a moment that you’re using legos to represent the resources that are key building blocks for modeling sustainability.
With all these resources, and considering your unique challenges and opportunities there are many ways you can fit them together to build something amazing.
A professor of mathematics calculated that there are over 915 million ways to combine six LEGO bricks.https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/history/lego-facts.aspx
Overwhelmed yet? Well so was I when I first started talking to camp professionals about how to create practical solutions that meet their unique needs. There isn’t one solution that will leverage the educational opportunities for camps to inspire green behavior change. We could package a set of “legos” with instructions to build what we think is the best framework for you, but that would require visiting your organization and getting to know your unique challenges and opportunities. Green Camps does offer consulting services, but it’s not the right option for everyone.
To expand our capacity to support more camps and reduce cost, we have assembled an instruction guide that anyone with a box of random legos can use. The Green Camps Certification program is a set of instructions that your camp can use to organize, leverage and create a plan to build a long lasting and impactful framework to guide your sustainability efforts.
What are these instructions you ask? The Green Camps Certification program is a series of 5 steps that any camp can take to model sustainability and inspire green behavior change. Going through this process doesn’t have to take a whole lot of time and as you progress through each step you should start seeing the outcomes of putting some intentional time into pursuing sustainability.
What’s important to us is that you use collaboration, critical thinking and consider your goals and objectives regarding sustainability. The key is being intentional through every step. The camp community is positioned to be a leading model for sustainability and Green Camps want to help ensure that your efforts have far reaching impacts and generate educational, economic and environmental benefits.
You don’t have to be a member of Green Camps to get started and we hope that every organization will consider forming a Green Team to get started. To get you started, check out this free guide to launch your Green Team.
Starting a Green Team is the first of the 5 steps that will guide your organization to creating a unique model of sustainability. Below is an overview of the other steps.
A team leader and team members will facilitate staff and campers through the process of “greening your camp” while creating a culture that embraces these new practices.
Developing conservation policies will help set expectations for the role campers and staff can play in supporting a culture of sustainability at your camp.
Answer questions about energy, water, waste and office conservation to begin establishing a baseline and learn more about the opportunities for implementing green actions.
We’ve put together a few ideas for green actions that are supported by the resources we’re developing to simplify the process of modeling sustainability at your camp.
Share your experience and lessons learned from the sustainable initiative you chose to implement. By sharing your experience in implementing your green actions, you will be contributing to an ever expanding library of the challenges and successes of a great diversity of green actions being taken at camps around the country.