As an alternative to a formal final exam, one of my introductory business classes recently offered the opportunity to complete a project entitled “How I Will Change the World.” In small groups, we were challenged to come up with short seven minute presentations telling of how we would like to impact the global community through our professional and personal lives. My group members and I chose to present about expanding the availability of free or low cost camp-style Autism therapy programs, specifically here in the Denver area. During the completion of this project, we were really challenged to consider how to transfer the model of preexisting camps in the San Diego to a Colorado landscape. Some of our first ideas on outdoor activities that could be offered through the camp were horseback riding and hiking. A connection with nature is vital in these camp-style programs as it serves as a grounding means as well as creates a sense of distance from reality and the “real world.” Because it is so important to making camp-style treatment camps successful the environmental aspect was really a large part of our project.
When it came to building the actual presentation, we went on a search to find visual representations of all aspects that our camp would hold. When searching for a hiking image, the above picture came up and it really resonated with me. In viewing this image, I was instantly brought back to a recollection of a childlike since of community. I remember at a young age playing on the neighborhood playground with children of all ages. Some of these children I knew from school or extracurricular, and some I had just met. Yet we were all playing together as if we had known each other all or lives. Even though we were all different and had no real connection to each other, we were all still able to play together in absolute harmony. Putting aside differences in age, family history, culture and background, we were all able to extend each other the basic kindness of laughter and play.
In the midst of recent worldly events, it then struck me: at what point did we as adults loose this ability to so easily get along with people different from us, and view everyone as a friend? In Kindergarten, your entire class is your friend, and unbreakable bonds of friendship can be made over the transfer of a sparkly crayon or an animal cracker. Yet with the transfer into adulthood, innocent transactions of kindness become fewer and more far between. I am not satisfied with this answer. I personally want to live in a world where “random acts of kindness” occur so often that they no longer take people by surprise. I personally would like to live in a world that parallels more to the habits and kindness found within the hearts of children.
Written by Claire Boggs, WLLC 2015-2016