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ICF Ripples

Drop a pebble in the water:  just a splash and it is gone;

But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on

Spreading - spreading from the centre, flowing on out to the sea

And there is no way of telling where the end is going to be.

We are two months on from the International Camping Congress in Antalya Turkey and the ripples that have emanated from that important international gathering continue to spread. Membership and membership interest continues to grow with our latest reports indicating that we have reached into 81 countries to camping professionals with interest in the work of ICF.

The presentations from the Research Forum at the Congress and from the ICF Research Committee headed by Deb Bialeschki and Stephen Fine are now posted on the ICF website. Each of us should be using this material to inform our approach to everything we do - from our business plans to our conversations with the public about what we do.

On almost a daily basis, social media is rich with photographs and retrospectives of time spent in Turkey before, during and after the Congress. These pictures and postings prompt another break in each of our days to reflect upon the impact that these experiences have created. Behind these public postings are the even more important ripples between and amongst the individuals involved. Messages, plans and exchanges by these friends, new and old, reach across borders and distance to strengthen connections, share information and make preparations for future meetings, experiences and work together.

In North America, we are approaching conference season. Like the Congress itself, these conferences and meetings allow us to re-connect with friends and associates while examining the successes of last year and the challenges in the next. Some ICF members will gather in Toronto Canada at the Ontario Camps Association Annual Conference and New Orleans, USA at the American Camp Association National Conference. The ICF Annual Meeting will take place in New Orleans.

While the ICF Board is making its plans for the Annual Meeting and other projects, the real success of the organization is achieved in the contacts and connections at the individual member level. Bringing together the world of outdoor experience does not make us all the same.  It is a sharing of ideas and a critique of different approaches. It is an understanding of what makes us different and what we have in common.  It is a link to the people who can help one camp, one camp leader, one camp association, one camping movement reach to another in order to find the resources, ideas and strategies to chart a path to a better place.

These ripples do not push apart. They connect us together.


The rest of the poem about ripples invites us to think about the types of ripples we make. Perhaps, it can be useful in your staff training --- or your personal lives. Happy New Year

Drop an unkind word, or careless:  in a minute it is gone;

But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on

They keep spreading, spreading, spreading, from the centre as they go,

And there is no way to stop them, once you’ve started them to flow.


Drop a word of cheer and kindness:  just a flash, and it is gone;

But there’s half-a-hundred ripples circling on and on and on

Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave

Till you wouldn’t believe the volume of the one kind word you gave.

May the camping ripples that we produce in 2015 reach even more children, more camp leaders and more places where camping can make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Camping Fellowship
Dec, 30, 2014