Notes From the Field

A Cultural Study at camp

Margaret Mead, a leader in the field of anthropology, dedicated her life to studying the interactions of cultures foreign to the western world. Your work as a new camp counselor closely mirrors that of Meade and her colleges.

You begin your “field work” by leaving your own comfortable world and entering into a culture you know very little about. Of course, you’ve completed as much research as you can- you’ve explored the camp’s website, spoken with the directors, and perhaps have even made contact with others who have worked in the camp community. Even with all this preparation, you’re still unsure of what you are about to encounter.

Upon arrival, you take vigorous mental notes. Everything is new to you. Even the “jargon” doesn’t fit into your own catalog of words- “Be-Bop”, “Dog-Trot”, “Hi-Ups”. You have no meaning to attach to these words just yet.

The interactions among members of this community is conduct that you have experienced in your own culture, but not to the extent as it is observable here- the girls are so friendly and encouraging to one another. No one seems to be concerned with make-up or physical appearance. Girls spend the majority of their time laughing and playing. They conduct their lives in a noticeably carefree manner.

Within three months, you have become fully indoctrinated by this new community. Your work is brave and tireless. You have transformed something enigmatic into something comprehensible.  Although your work may never be published or studied in its own right, you will, like Margaret Meade, change the world.

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