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BT Idol and Pandemonium

It’s been a busy few days here at camp. Sunday night marked the mid point of our session and it’s hard to believe that it’s going so fast! After dinner I watched one of my favorite programs: BT Idol. It’s a perfect example of how campers can learn life skills at camp without having any idea that they are learning (because they are too busy having fun). In this method of “dancing through personality differences” every cabin competes in a lip-syncing and dancing competition. This activity encourages the fun of dance parties and self-expression, but also provides an invaluable opportunity for campers to fortify their group bond as they navigate decision making “by committee.” This involves a fair amount of conflict management and resolution. Although some campers may think these conflicts will never get sorted out, their cabin performances are inevitably be met with wild cheers and applause. As cabin groups watch other groups perform, they discover that every cabin experienced the same process of working through conflict to the point or resolution. As the girls travel through this process of brainstorming with their cabins and counselors, eventually choosing one idea, and making that idea come alive on stage, they learn both the fun of meeting a challenge and also the bonding that happens when a group becomes a team working toward the same goal. If you had a chance to look at the photos from Sunday night you will see that there were a wide assortment of dances, outfits, and acceptable forms of success.

Sunday night was also the kickoff for our first session color wars. That’s right, it’s Pandemonium! Campers come together for color wars once each session in new, mixed-age groups to play and compete for the excitement of winning color war. Color war takes place over two days of all-camp interaction in which the girls are divided into five teams for a huge variety of activities and competitions. We choose a theme (friendship, teamwork, community, etc.) and the teams come together to decide how to best represent that theme and each other throughout the competition. This is the most direct way we can teach the ethics of teamwork and sportsmanship that camps are perfectly placed to impart. Further, color wars give each participant the chance to show her enthusiasm in ways that might feel too silly or over the top at school. This opportunity imparts what researchers call “the risk taker’s advantage” by showing each person the good that can come from getting out of your comfort zone and trying a new behavior. Much camp-based research shows the importance of using friendly competition to improve all the interpersonal and cognitive regulation skills that are integral to SEL.

Yesterday was the “prep day” where the girls created and learned their cheers, worked on their themes and got everything ready for the main event. Today will be spent in full Color War mode with creative representation of the themes, incredible cheers, very colorful costumes and a whole lot of fun. Please check out the photos on the website!

Because no trips are out during Pandemonium we take some time to attend to the health and wellness of our campers. Part of this includes lice checks. We bring in a lice company from Minneapolis to check every person in camp. If you did not hear from me personally yesterday, you daughter was declared lice free! We will do another check before the end of the session as well.

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