Dr. Ell B. Sorenson, Koos Kamp and Horizons For Youth

In the summer of 1969, during a time of great racial unrest in the United States, Ell was instrumental in facilitating the relationship between Koos Kamp in Koosharem, Utah, and a pilot project with a New Jersey school district to “attack some of the major problems of our society.” The project was called Horizons For Youth, and it brought fifty young men of mixed races and economic backgrounds to a camp on a working ranch in southern Utah for six weeks of ranch work and wide-ranging outdoor activities, including 4-day survival expeditions in the Escalante Desert.

In the following report by the project leader, Dr. James Kimple, Superintendent of Schools, he states, “Some remarkable results were achieved as these young men lived and worked together. They changed their attitudes toward work, toward others, and toward themselves. They developed a sense of personal worth and a great deal of confidence in their own ability to cope with unfamiliar situations. The implications of this program for schools, both city and suburban, are great and far-reaching.”

Foreward and Excerpts From The Horizons for Youth – Summer 1969 – Report

FOREWARD

Industry, schools, community members, parents and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs formed a unique coalition during the summer of 1969. Purpose – to conduct a pilot project designed to attack some of the major problems of our society.

The purposes and procedures are described in some detail in the attached proposal entitled “Horizons for Youth, Proposal 1970.”

The following pages are devoted to a description and evaluation
of the 1969 summer program . Fifty youngsters, mixed racially and
economically, accompanied by 8 teacher interns, 2 South Brunswick teachers, the Superintendent of Schools and an industrial consultant, spent 6 weeks in Utah .

Some remarkable results were achieved as these young men lived and
worked together. They changed their attitudes toward work, toward others
and toward themselves. They developed a sense of personal worth, and a
great deal of confidence in their own ability to cope with unfamiliar
situations.


SUMMER 1969

(As Described by Dr. James Kimble, Superintendent of Schools, South Brunswick, New Jersey, at the end of the 6 weeks at Koos Kamp)

We left Koosharem, Utah on Saturday afternoon August 23rd. The
five young fellows, 3 black, two white, riding with me were strangely
quiet.

Floyd Merrill finally broke the silence, “Dr. Kimple don’t ever take me anyplace that I don’t want to leave, again.”

Chris Breetveld responded almost wistfully, “I wish I were back in cabin three.”

Martin Van Lieu, cheerfully replied “I’d rather be hunting jack rabbits. I never saw so many rabbits in my life.”

“How many did you get?” I asked.

“Nineteen.” He replied, obviously pleased.

“He should have,” chided Greg, “They were sitting on the end of his gun.”

Martin grinned. We all knew that a single shot .22 wasn’t very effective on jack rabbits running through ‘the sage brush, but we also knew Martin was the best shot in the group.

“How would you like to be back on the desert?”

“Man that was rough.”

“It wasn’t too bad.”

“It depended upon who went with you.”

“We walked 52 miles.”

“That wasn’t much, we went 65.”

“Gosh that old muddy water sure tasted good, can you imagine drinking that stuff back home?”

“Boy those spiders were big.”

“I never thought I could do it, but I did.”

Back and forth the conversation flowed as they relived some very vivid experiences.

At one point Chris Breetveld confided, “Dr. Kimple you’ll be interested to know that I’ve begun to enjoy things which are good for me.” I was elated for Chris had originally been one of the least enthusiastic participants.

“You fellows sound as though you don’t want to go home.”

“We don’t.”

With rare exceptions this was the reaction of 50 youngsters black and white, from South Brunswick Public Schools after they had been away from home for nearly seven weeks.

For some it had been the first time away from home, for others the first time at camp, but it was to most “the best summer I ever had.”

For six weeks, they had worked, played and learned together, sharing each others problems; each others successes and pleasures. They had worked, fished, hunted, swam, water skied, ridden horses, hiked, camped, visited national parks and spent 4 days on the Escalante Desert with nothing but a sleeping bag, a knife, a canteen and their own determination to make it.

They’d been challenged physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. They had seen country too beautiful to describe, made friends with youngsters from California, become acquainted with people who differed in religion, were complimented by people who lived primarily by their own physical efforts and perhaps most important of all had found that they could “do something I never thought I could do.”

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