Log In

Reset Password
Opinion Editorial Cartoons Op-Ed Editorials Letters to the Editor

‘Make it a working camp’

A managed camp should help people get on their feet, not help them to put up their feet.

The Purple Cliffs trash aftermath is shocking. For environmentally conscious Durango, the trash left behind should be a wake-up call. Please have a drive by Purple Cliffs to see it for yourselves. To avoid a repeat of Purple Cliffs, we should carefully consider the objectives of a managed camp experiment.

My suggestion is to make it a working camp. Those willing to work could get lodging, food, social services, transportation, work clothing and a stipend. Seasonal or year-round jobs could be created by the city and/or the county (e.g., fire mitigation, litter pickup, park maintenance, etc.). Local government could get back a small fraction of its expense. It’s a voluntary choice.

For those who are physically and mentally capable, but unwilling to work, no camp and no services. Such a work-for-assistance program could help those truly seeking betterment and could discourage vagabonds.

Social psychologists embrace work as foundational for self-worth, personal security, and social identity. All great religions embrace effort for spiritual growth: through service, prayer, study, meditation, etc. Work binds communities together – it has for millennia. It is rational to ask for constructive behavior and it is not punitive to ask for work.

We all want a safe, clean and prosperous community. Freeloaders take scarce resources away from those seeking help. We operate with limited resources; let’s use them wisely.

Tom DeHudy