Seeking shelter from the flurries and wind on an unusually cold Nashville day, I duck into a bookstore to await the arrival of my lunch partner, a former camper enrolled as a freshman at Vanderbilt University. Prominently displayed on a nearby shelf is a large book emblazoned withthe title Heroes just above the black and white photographs of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Muhammad Ali. I have been thinking a lot about heroes lately, because I’m in town to talk about mentoring to camp directors attending the annual conference of the American Camp Association. So, I’m intrigued.
What – or who – is a hero, anyway? Would young people today identify as one a national political figure, a civil rights crusader, or a sports legend? Given the relatively newfound propensity to build up public personas only to then tear them down, my guess is probably not.