Sending your kids away to summer camp can come with the worry that they won’t make friends or may feel uncomfortable. The early teens years often bring insecurities about their appearance and how they are perceived by peers. But there is one camp that is taking a stand against “body talk” among campers and counselors and focusing more on fun.
Today reports about the Jewish summer camp called Eden Village Camp in New York that has a strict “no body talk” rule which means campers and counselors are not allowed to talk about their or anyone else’s appearance. This goes for compliments too because the idea is that if someone were to compliment someone on a hairstyle it may lead to another camper feeling like their hair doesn’t look nice enough.
Eden Village Camp co-founder and co-director Vivian Stadlin explains why her “no body talk” rule helps to make summer camp a more worry-free and safe atmosphere for young adults. She says, “Camps have a golden opportunity to be a salve to mainstream culture, and to create an immersive world that accepts each young person as they are, without need for painful, expensive, and/or chemically intensive treatments to feel more confident.” Stadlin is speaking of the need some campers feel to have their body hair waxed before summer camp to avoid ridicule even if they are very young.
And it seems that whatever Eden Village is doing is working to make campers feel more confident. Former camp attendee Aliza Heeren wrote a letter to Stadlin talking about how the “no body talk” rule helped her feel comfortable and confident. She wrote, “I was introduced to the concept of 'No Body Talk' at Eden Village when I was 17 and in the midst of my high school years. For the first time in my life, people whom I had never met before, most of who were older than myself, were interested in looking beyond my appearance and into what made me, me. This brought about a comfortable confidence that I hadn't even known was possible, and allowed me to explore myself — you never realize what is hiding inside until the outside becomes invisible.”
What do you think of this summer camp’s “no body talk” rule?
Do you think a rule like this can help teens feel more comfortable and confident?