As I walk around camp the first week, I’m seeing kids doing cabin clean-up for the first time. Every morning after breakfast the girls need to work together to clean up their cabins. They are each assigned specific jobs in the cabin that they are responsible for, and they also take care to keep their own space tidy. It’s quite clear as I watch that this is teaching responsibility, collaboration, and respect for others in the group. I’m writing this after watching a cabin work as a team to get the job done.
I watched a scenario play out in which a girl was struggling to make her bed. The counselors stepped in with support, and even showed the camper how to tuck in her sheets and pull up her blanket, but they didn’t do it for her. They empowered the other campers in the cabin to help. The entire cabin rallied around the girl that was struggling to finish her bed.
This is a perfect illustration of one of the camp’s strongest values: that trust is earned and built when kids support each other and provide a safe community for each other. Kids learn to take emotional risks, open up, and experience being honest with themselves and with each other.
The camper that was struggling learned a great lesson. She now knows she is able to depend on her friends, and I think next time she may even feel comfortable enough to ask for help. She is learning that sometimes she can lean on others for help. She is also learning that she will need to advocate for herself.
The rest of the girls learned that stepping up to help a friend feels really good. They learned that collaboration brings great results. This may seem small but I assure it’s not, and it very well may transfer to life outside of camp.
Parent take away:
Sometimes as parents we may feel frustrated, irritated, and even critical of our kids for not doing what is expected. However when we pivot and begin to err on the side of collaboration and support, our kids can actually begin to implement and learn skills they otherwise don’t have.