I’m just back from a wonderful three week break camping near the beach at Woodend, North of Christchurch. We set up a ‘tent village’ for all of the (extended) family, and enjoyed a complete break from cell phones and the internet, instead making the most of swimming in the surf each day and enjoying regular bar-b-qued meals.
It’s great to have such a break, not only to enjoy such intimacy with family, but also to appreciate the simplicity of the lifestyle, away from all the things we surround ourselves with back in our ‘real lives’.
One of the things I couldn’t help but reflect on was the way in which the sense of ‘community’ is established in these camping grounds. With such a crowd of people sharing the ablution facilities and the washing machines etc, it is interesting to note the patterns of behaviour that emerge regarding how these are shared, and the conversations that emerge at these places. It’s quite different from the patterns of behaviour I see in the city, where we’ve lost that sense of sharing and community, preferring instead to ‘insulate’ ourselves in our own homes and ensure that we have everything we need available to us (and to noone else) when we need it etc.
Perhaps in 2011 I’ll find ways of using my camping experience (and reflections) to inform the work I’m doing to develop online communities and the development of professional learning communities.