Below, two students share what they took away from their Camp Snowball experience. A common theme from their sharing and across the participants was how to increase participation in the sustainability journey. They and we would be very interested in your ideas so please consider sharing them.
Camp Snowball Highlights
Sustainability starts with an inspiration. Students will begin to work with their green teams and comply with sustainability standards if they feel inspired to. As a school district we need to spark more inspiration; students do participate but we want the effort to be more voluntary and common. At camp I feel that one of the most valuable pieces of information I learned was how to increase participation. There are multiple ways to spark this inspiration.
An important lesson I learned was how to make sustainability a part of the culture. The strategy is volunteerism. People will comply with sustainability only if they want to. When people see those who comply with sustainability, the question arises why not. We cannot preach to the choir or force staff and students to change behavior. We can only encourage these best management practices.
By going to camp my view of sustainability has changed. I realized how it was a system that people need to comply with it. But it must be joined by others, not enforced upon them.
Key Learning from Camp Snowball
Camp Snowball was a great learning community where people from around the country, who had similar visions for the future, could come together and learn what they could do to improve. Something I saw was that many people were facing the same challenges as each other, but there were people who had overcome those same challenges and shared how they did so, in order to help others do the same. I know as a student at the camp, that while I collaborated with other students, I was getting a different point of view of their districts than I would if I had talked with an adult. There were many groups at Camp that had just started work towards sustainability and applying systems thinking. So seeing the diversity of levels everyone else was at was definitely quite interesting to see.
Although Tahoma has taken many steps towards sustainability, while in my Core Module at Camp Snowball, I gathered many new ideas about what we could do differently. For example, something I hope to see done across the Tahoma School District is more collaboration throughout the different green teams. Up until now, each team has been working individually to improve their particular school. But when we connected with each other recently, we discovered we were all facing similar challenges such as needing more student participation. So if we connected and looked at things from a different perspective or in “big picture” form, we would be able to make a much larger impact. And while at camp, I learned many techniques that could help solve some of these common challenges. So in conclusion, I am really glad to have attended Camp Snowball, and I am looking forward to applying all that I have learned into our school and community.