We strive for International diversity.
In 2016 we had a record number of farmers from non-US countries: Australia, Belgium, China, the Dominican Republic, Guinea, Italy, Haiti, Jordan, Kuwait, Nigeria, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK and Venezuela.
International campers represented 19% of our population last summer, up from 15% in 2015. We are very proud of this. We have been working hard to boost our international numbers in recent years.
Our goal is 25% international by 2018. To help us achieve this mark we created the international discount.
Why It Matters
There are a few reasons why international diversity matters to us.
Creating a Vibrant Community
We want to create a vibrant community every summer. Diversity is the key; not just international diversity but lots of kinds, like ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic and LGBTQ. We're working on all of them.
Living with people who are different exposes us to different ways of living. People from different backgrounds have different perspectives about how the world. Seeing different perspectives helps us to think about ourselves: maybe it makes us think about our values; maybe it makes us grateful for something we took for granted; or maybe it makes us reconsider a belief.
Communicating with English Language Learners
Our international campers speak English as a second language (or third or fourth). Communicating with an English Language Learner is not always easy.
To communicate effectively, we sometimes have to make adjustments. Maybe we have to speak more slowly. Maybe we have to e-nun-ci-ate. Maybe we have to repeat ourselves or find a new way of describing something.
All of this takes patience and compassion. Developing this skill at an early age means you can apply it for the rest of your life.
Building Trust Across Cultures
Developing relationships with international students can have a lasting impact on your child.
Maybe your daughter will befriend a girl from Honduras. Maybe they will become Facebook friends and meet up again in college.
Maybe bonding with someone from a different country will give your son a curiosity he never had before. Maybe the next time there's an international student at school he will reach out to him and be inclusive.
In today's society, building trust across cultures is very important; yet it's not easy even for adults to do, as anyone following the news can tell you. Maybe future generations can show us the way.