Childrearing

For These Austin Kids, Buses Mean Freedom

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One of the things I keep in mind when fretting about my toddlers being out of sight is that my father used to travel Denver by city bus when he was five. All in search of candy, I’m told. He’s one of the most adventurous and fearless men I know and I’m sure it’s related to the freedom he was given as a child.

My godson, now an adult, used to travel to his private kindergarten in Boulder, Colorado, by bus. I think his family was more alarmed by the surprise this received from others than anything else. They had grown up on farms in the northern midwest where children that young were routinely given responsibility and freedom.

I thought of these stories when I learned about this camp being held in Austin, Texas, this summer where teenagers learn how to use a city bus.

Camp explores Austin on CapMetro: kxan.com

explains that the whole point of this camp is to help teens learn to exert their independence.

I commend Sheila Gordy for coming up with the Urban Explorer Camp idea and in no way can deny the need for its existence, but it is kind of sad.

Sheila Gordy came up with the idea for Urban Explorer Camp last year when her son was 12 years old and noticed he and his friends wanted to go exploring on their own.

“When you have been catered to for 13 or 14 years and all of a sudden you yourself can get somewhere and you don’t have to ask, that’s really empowering,” said Sheila Gordy, Urban Explorer camp director.

It’s yet another great argument against catering to your children at all, much less into the age where they’d have been considered adults a few generations ago!

My favorite part of the camp is that each day the group decides where to go and then has to map out their route to get there. I’m appalled at how few adults know how to read a map and I fear that the rise of the machines (in the form of GPS positioning systems) will mean that humanity loses the skill entirely in a few years.

Also, the camp costs $310 per week. I wonder if I could start one here in the DC area …