Recently, Holt’s senior writer, Robin Munro, sat down for an interview with Josiah Bell, a Holt adoptee born in Korea and raised in Alabama. This summer will be Josiah’s seventh season working at Holt’s adoptee camps – a six-week commitment for leadership staff, five weeks for counselors. When not at camp, Josiah works as a freelance artist specializing in portrait work for adoptive families. He currently lives in Birmingham, but plans to move to Brooklyn, NY at the end of the summer. View a couple of Josiah’s adoptee portraits below.
So this will be your seventh summer working at Holt camp?
This is my sixth summer on the leadership staff. The first year, I was a counselor.
What are your responsibilities as a leadership staff member?
We prepare the camp curriculum and schedule, and manage the counselors and camp staff.
How do you prepare the curriculum every year?
We have a foundation of subject matter that we talk about, such as race and identity. Every year, we tweak it. We brainstorm ideas of new and fun ways to relate those ideas to campers.
What’s an example of a fun way you relate issues to campers?
We always talk about identity on the first day. That helps us ease into being able to discuss other subjects, such as race and adoption, in a group setting.
When we talk about identity with the youngest group, we ask them to name TV characters that have multiple identities. They usually come up with super heroes and Hannah Montana. We talk about how Hannah Montana is sometimes Miley Cyrus, but she’s also a daughter, a sister and a student.
We always close that day with having the campers write down as many of their identities as they can come up with.
What do you hope the campers will get out of that exercise?
We want them to understand that we have multiple identities and they’re always changing – and that’s a good thing.
We definitely make the point that being adopted is an identity. That helps the campers acknowledge that about themselves, and empowers them to take on that identity with confidence.
Did you go to Holt camp growing up? Continue reading “Seven Summers at Holt Camp”