First, there are the caveats to our guideline: In our yoga and culinary arts instruction and the like, we talk about postures, breathing, nutrition, etc, as part of growing physical health, skills and body awareness.
Obviously, any health or safety issue needs to be talked about.
There’s some common sense stuff, like if someone’s fly is down or they have spinach in their teeth, it’s compassionate to let them know.
We discuss body image quite a bit, as called for by the unique community in each bunk and tribe. These conversations and programs are crucial for processing the messages and pressures young people receive and empowering campers to be a force of change in their home communities. We have optional conversations about reclaiming a positive culture around menstruation, the way boys and girls get socialized and noticing/interrupting those patterns, and more.
Beyond this, there can for sure be merit to talking about bodies in safe, supportive contexts, like discussing one’s appearance as artistic self-expression, or expressing physical appreciation within a healthy relationship. While we haven’t carved out caveats for these kinds of scenarios, we find the guideline extremely helpful in creating that safe, supportive baseline context.
Remember, camp is just one or two months of the year – our aim is to equip our campers to thrive in the other ten months and for their whole lives. And no one is policing every interaction – it’s just a guideline to raise our awareness, not a hard-and-fast rule.