Your article “What role for Blairstown?” (Campus Notebook, April 6) is timely, as the University considers whether to change its relationship with the Princeton-Blairstown Center (née Princeton Summer Camp) by ending its status as a support organization. Such a change not only would represent a profound loss, it also would be harsh and out of character for a university of Princeton’s stature with a widely touted commitment to teaching, research, and service.
As the article points out, the PBC has gone through some tough times in recent years with frequent leadership turnover, a fall-off in Princeton undergraduate involvement, and other challenges. Rather than focus on these problems and cast doubt on whether the center’s mission is congruent with its own, can’t the University and its relevant departments collaborate enthusiastically and constructively with the center to maximize its potential? This is a wonderful opportunity to reinvigorate and expand a historic partnership based on a shared commitment to community service. It is also a chance for the University to burnish its image as an institution that genuinely cares about its community.
Gifts, grants, and income from the center’s endowed funds cover the bulk of its operating costs. The vital support and services the University provides are a comparatively small price to pay to preserve and enhance Blairstown’s mission and to enrich the University’s co-curricular offerings for its students.
Let’s celebrate the enormous impact Blairstown (and its predecessor located on the Jersey shore from 1908 to 1930) has had — and can continue to have — on the lives and values of generations of Princetonians and, most importantly, on the future of urban youth and families.