I was fortunate to have an opportunity to attend the Princeton camp at Blairstown in 1946 as a young camper. African-American youngsters in a very different racial climate were invited to participate in a Princeton experiment to evaluate our ability to fit in with majority expectations. Sixty years ago, Princeton University students, who managed the camp, respected our humanity and supported our dreams, and since then I have experienced a lifetime of participation with both institutions.
The University’s former vice president for student life, Janet Dickerson, reminds us of Princeton’s remarkable change since 1946 with her comment in the article about Princeton-Blairstown’s role in Princeton’s transition to a modern university.
Princeton Summer Camp became Princeton-Blairstown Center, but the center continues to focus on the needs of the young in the greater community. The center and the camp have also valued the close relationship with the University since 1908.
The University and the center appear to have similar interests in the needs of the community beyond the Princeton campus. Both would like to have University involvement and student participation in this effort to bring hope and opportunity to those seeking a better life. And both hopefully recognize potential rewards for both institutions and enhanced value for the community if they can work together. After so many years of shared interest and combined effort, a fractured relationship is hard to comprehend.