Friday, November 8, 2019/by Jay Remington/Go Back
This is the time of year when the envelopes start arriving. Even before holiday cards, you’ll find your mailbox filled with fundraising letters. They come from all sorts of non-profits: educational, environmental, religious, political. Hospitals. Arts organizations and veterans’ groups. With so many worthy groups vying for your philanthropy, why should you give to Kabeyun’s Annual Fund? Here are four reasons why my family contributes.
Camp is a tremendous amount of fun, but it is also almost around-the-clock education. Some of that education is skills-based instruction – how to rig a sailboat, roll a kayak, throw a pot on the wheel, or develop film in a darkroom. And much of it is what can be called character education.
Pick almost any trait today’s parents hope to foster in their children and I guarantee it is one developed through Kabeyun’s program and modeled by our staff members. Resilience. Grit. Empathy. Emotional awareness. Growth mindset. Respect. Leadership. Responsibility.
Kabeyun’s completely elective program, in which boys choose their own activities and trips, fosters independent growth. Boys learn the payoff of persistence as they work to master skills in different activities. Cabin life and family-style meals help boys learn to coexist with people from different backgrounds and to practice conflict resolution, guided by staff members and completely unplugged from phones and tablets. Boys spend much of their time in mixed-age groups, where boys of all ages teach one another, developing their capacity for empathy, respect, and leadership in many spheres.
This aspect of what happens at Kabeyun every summer is challenging to articulate, but those of us who have spent time at camp know it to our core.
Kabeyun gives boys a welcome break from the pressures of adult-led academics and competitive athletics that govern the rest of their year. Childhood has changed greatly since the days of “be home when the street lights come on.” Kabeyun offers a taste of that, giving campers room to roam and shape their own play in a way that is increasingly rare. Boys move independently through camp and chose how to spend the unstructured time that is intentionally built into each day. They may laze around the Panther’s porch, build a stick village in the creek, make music in the Lodge, or fish from a canoe at evening dock. Whatever they choose, they are exploring on their own terms and their own pace.
Living among peers and making their own choices for a month offers boys opportunities for growth that home and school simply cannot, and ones not often found at one- and two-week camps. That’s because it takes a little time for cabin groups to gel. Once everybody settles in, Kabeyun’s culture allows boys to experience both success and failure in a safe and supportive setting. The Kabeyun community talks a lot, especially on Sundays at Pine Point, about the value of taking risks and what we learn from failure. At Kabeyun, failure is tolerated – even encouraged – as a means of self-discovery and growth.
Unlike privately-owned, for-profit camps, Kabeyun is a non-profit, operated since 1973 by the John and Anna Newton Porter Foundation. The foundation’s purpose is to run a camp that promotes citizenship, character, and leadership. It’s governed by an all-volunteer board of trustees, comprised of former Kabeyun campers, counselors, and campers’ parents. No one is getting rich here. Simply put, we are not running a camp to make money; we are raising money to run a camp.
Like most camps and independent schools, Kabeyun’s tuition does not cover the full cost of each child’s experience. The Annual Fund underwrites every aspect of camp, including our facilities, equipment, and supplies. It helps us attract, train, and retain a stellar staff – this summer, 76% of our staff members were Kabeyun veterans. A robust Annual Fund also helps the Porter Foundation extend need-based financial aid. We strive to connect with deserving boys and their families, widening the circle of boys who experience camp’s delights and challenges. In 2019, 13% of campers received a total of $76,119 in financial aid, up from $58,400 five years ago – proof that your contribution makes a direct impact.
I and other Porter Foundation trustees believe sending boys to camp serves a larger social good. The positive relationships, the hard skills, and (especially) the soft skills boys develop at camp send them out into the world better able to learn, grow, collaborate, empathize, and lead with principles.
I hope you will join my family in supporting Kabeyun’s 2019 Annual Fund. You can give online through this link or send a check to the camp office. All gifts are meaningful, from a first-year camper sending his allowance to an old-timer making a gift of stock. Thank you for supporting Kabeyun and our mission.
Jay Remington is a Porter Foundation trustee and chairs its Finance Committee. He is a former camper, intern, and staff member whose entire family is now part of Kabeyun. Jay’s two sons are current campers and his wife works in the camp office.
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