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Reflecting on the value of summer camps

Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
1:39 pm PDT July 15, 2014

After having the fortune to meet and interview Rich Lawson and Ray Humphrey, who respectively instructed the surfing and flag-football camps this summer, I took some time to reflect on the kinds of summer camps I went to as a child and what I got out of them.

The one that I remember most was held out of Mission Viejo High School, which operated a small farm and agricultural program. The summer camp was called “Barnyard and Hoof Prints,” and I’m still amazed I remember that much to this day.

For one or two summers I attended this camp with my older sister, and we did everything from tending to the garden, to collecting eggs from the chicken coop, to cleaning the pig pens as well as caring for and riding the horses.

While every other child seemed to enjoy the horses the most, I was the child who got a kick out of the chickens.

Yup, the chickens.

While I can’t remember what I ended up naming her, I had a favorite chicken who always let me pick her up and give her a gentle hug.

I won’t say that single chicken is the reason why I love and respect animals so much, but I will say memories like those are surely factored in – and my point here is that it was made during summer camp; I learned more than how to take care of animals, I learned how to care about them.

Lawson’s surfing summer camp teaches children not only how to ride a surfboard, but how to have respect for the ocean and the people who respected Malibu’s land for thousands of years. 

Humphrey’s flag-football camp teaches children not only how to play football, but how to be members of a team – and that’s a skill we all will continually learn throughout life, but early exposure is crucial.

I look forward to featuring more of Malibu’s summer camps in the coming weeks.