Camp Kanuga Staff ’22 Embraces Ubuntu Circles

06.08.2022 - Uncategorized
After much preparation and training, Camp Kanuga staff welcomed session one campers and parents for its 91st season.

In addition to studying safety protocols and practicing technical skills over the last several weeks, the staff had a special experience in learning how to lead, how to love, and how to connect with each other, nature, and the Creator through the lens of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu describes the African worldview of humanity, and nurtures empathy, belonging, compassion, and reconciliation through small group gatherings and circles. While hundreds (at least!) of years old, Ubuntu was brought by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to the forefront of Christian reconciliation and compassion following the end of Apartheid. Over the years, Ubuntu has been adopted in the Church to help us work through a wide variety of challenges.

At Camp Kanuga this summer, Ubuntu was facilitated by Melanie C. Gordon, who is the founder of the Do.Love.Walk Collective, which partners with children’s ministries to develop experiences in compassion, justice, worship, and devotion. Melanie trained with her mentor, The Very Rev. Michael Battle, who was her advisor at Virginia Theological Seminary and is now Director of the Desmond Tutu Center at General Theological Seminary in New York, a prolific author, and founder of Peace Battle consulting. Michael was ordained by Tutu, with whom he was in residence in South Africa for two years. Adding another special layer to the story is that Michael served as Camp Kanuga Chaplain when in his early 20s.

The time our counselors and campers have here at camp, away from the steady flow of technical distractions and obstacles to face-to-face interaction, is critical to healthy development. The impact of the Camp Kanuga experience lasts a lifetime, and we appreciate how our camp staff embraces and sustains this legacy. What they have learned about the essential human virtues of humanity and compassion through Ubuntu will transform their own, and their campers’, experiences this summer and beyond.