We have had an amazing summer at the BDC for this Special Edition summer. Campers and staff have adjusted well to the changes. The essence of the BDC is still going strong. A majority of our staff are not only former F&W campers, but also former BDC campers. We have had a lot of excitement with the pigs and baby goats getting out. The weather has either been really hot or rainy. The campers don’t seem to mind either way.
Wednesday morning when I was walking into our Opening Circle, children started yelling out, “Are you really going to slaughter the goats.” This was something we had not planned to actually discuss with the kids because the goats were so young. However, once it came up in circle, I had to discuss it. I let the kids know that we are a farming camp not a petting zoo. Every year the pigs are killed for meat that feeds us and the surrounding community throughout the year. We don’t keep that a secret and believe strongly that this is part of animal farming. The pigs are processed after camp. However, the baby goats are processed while camp is happening. I talked to them about farming and about making judgmental statements and how that can be hurtful. I also explained how F&W was able to feed folks in Plymouth and Killington during Hurricane Irene when no vehicles could get in. Some of the staff discussed with their group the differences between factories that processes animals and how there is a broad range of ways to raise animals. Some talked about how some people have the privilege to choose to eat what they want, while others don’t have that choice. Finally, we talked about what it means to make a judgement about a culture that is not one they grew up with and how it’s important to open our minds to difference.
At the BDC, we seek to educate folks about different views so that campers can make their own choices. If we have an incident about social justice issues like race or gender, we “call in” instead of “calling out.” Often times at this age, kids do not even know what they are saying.