February 06, 2012
M is for Mondays...and Music: Musical Memory, Teach Your Children Well
Musical Memory: CSNY Teach Your Children Well/Stone Environmental Camp
Madison, New Hampshire - Fifth Grade, 1993
I remember connecting strongly to big issues as a small child - especially, environmentalism. A few times a year my parents would take me to the Museum of Science in Boston. At the end of each of these highly anticipated trips, I was allowed to pick one thing from the gift shop. After a visit, in second grade, I chose Going Green - a handbook on green consumerism for children.
The little radical within was awakened.
Shortly after reading Going Green cover to cover - I staged my first protest. Yes...in second grade...at seven years old. I found out that my elementary school was NOT serving dolphin friendly tuna. I drew morbid little pictures of dolphins with X's over their eyes caught up in nets - and stood at the front of the lunch line with my best friend Kailey - urging my fellow students not to choose the tuna roll, but the clam strips instead.
The teachers thought it was cute...kind of funny...until the cafeteria ran out of clam strips and there were 50+ grade schoolers refusing to eat the tuna. I was promptly dragged to my seat, fist pumping in triumph. Not so cute.
Fast forward to fifth grade - 1993. I was the dirtiest hippie of a 10 year old you would ever meet...therefore it was with great jubilation that I received the news that our entire class would be spending five days and five nights away from home at Stone Environmental School. Environmental camp?! Yes, please.
We spent five glorious days learning about water conservation, composting, and yes, there was literally some tree-hugging action. It was a wonderful experience for me. The counselors were awesome, all-knowing, greenie gods and goddesses - and I felt like I had found my tribe.
Me and my classmates at Stone. Want to find me? Look for the happiest kid in the picture - beaming front and center in the green and navy striped shirt.
Alas - my tribe and I were not destined to be together forever. The five days came and went, and on the last evening of camp, our counselors encouraged us to take what we had learned and teach it to others. In true hippie-crunchy style - they conveyed this message to us in a song...
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Teach Your Children Well
To this day, when I hear Teach Your Children Well, I am filled with nostalgia for environmental camp. I remember a warm sense of belonging, but also a sense of importance. It was at Stone that I developed a deeper connection to the big issues, and learned that even a 10 year old could play a tiny part in affecting big change.