Tag: what children learn at summer camp

Building Courage at Camp

We were thrilled to recently host a Weequahic Northeast Reunion. Seeing our campers and their families during the year is certainly a treat for us. It was also a great reminder of Courage, one the Weequahic Core Values, we teach. Let me explain….

At camp, we define courage not as the absence of fear but rather as acting even though the fear is present. Our campers practice this often by climbing further up the rock wall than they thought they could, learning to waterski for the first time, getting up on stage in the play, or being on a team they’ve never tried before.

It’s not just on the fields of play where courage is developed but in the bunks as well. Most of our campers arrive without knowing anyone at camp. It takes guts to go into a bunk of all new campers and build friendships. Thankfully, by the end of three or six weeks, these friendships are not only built but cemented into place!

Back to the reunion… many of our campers return the reunion without having seen their camp friends for some time. “Will they remember me? Who will be there that I know? These are questions we all struggle with at times, especially when we are young.

Thankfully, with camp friends, this brief moment of anxiousness was overcome by an outpouring of courage and mirth – campers jumped and hugged and laughed there way around the bowling alley, even those who started nervous of how the day would go.

Weequahic campers hold the value of courage highly. They understand it is a muscle needed to be used and trained in order to be strong and available when truly needed. Thankfully, we have so many wonderful ways in which to practice at camp. Whether in the bunks, on the fields, in the lake, or Activity Center, Weequahic campers are courageous!

The Subtle Pleasures of Camp

Have you noticed subtle pleasant but odd changes since your children returned from summer camp?  Have you peeked into your son’s room and noticed that he made his bed?  Were you tempted to take your daughter’s temperature the other night because she volunteered to clean up her room?  Maybe they just seem calmer or are better about sticking to routines about which you went hoarse more than once preaching to them before you put them on that bus or plane headed to their favorite summer zip code.  Perhaps they’re better about saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ or spend less time all out at war with each other over little things like the remote control and whether they’re going to watch The Voice or Modern Family.  Did they really mature that much at summer camp?

Not that you’re complaining.  It’s a nice, unexpected bonus.  When you initially enrolled them for camp, you were thinking it would be good for them to spend their summer working on arts and crafts projects, learning how to sail, going swimming, doing the silly things that kids do at camp, and playing sports instead of using up your entire cell phone data plan during twelve hour texting marathons or playing the Kinect so much that you can no longer tell whether you’re watching a video game or an actual television program.  You thought, ‘Maybe they’ll even make a few new friends.’  But, oddly, it’s the smaller things they seem to be bringing away from their summer camp experiences that you find yourself enjoying the most.

Sure, you read all about the benefits of sending children to summer camp before you decided to send them.  But you didn’t allow yourself to actually have expectations that your children would come home friendlier, more dutiful, more flexible, able to manage their time better, and generally happier–in short, more mature. Those are the special changes that you enjoy seeing and that make summer camp that much more valuable your eyes.

Camp Tools for School

Well campers, it’s time for school. I know you’d rather be at camp – so would I! However, it’s time to leave your camp gear at home and head off to the classroom. Butjust because you are going to school doesn’t mean you’ll leave everything behind. Here are a few suggestions of tools you learned at camp that you should take to school every day.

Confidence! You just spent a lot of time away from home this summer. You made friends with campers and staff from around the country and world. You helped mold your own daily schedule into something you’d love. You swam in a lake, tackled a climbing tower, got up on stage, created pieces of art, and laughed until your belly hurt. Weequahic showed you that you have what it takes to be a success and revealed the path forward. This confidence will be huge in your day to day at school. Use it!

Community! When you look back on your time at Weequahic, I bet you’ll think mostly of what went on in the bunk. You, your bunk mates, and your counselors spent a whole lot of time building a fun, caring, and welcoming community. It took patience and commitment. Watching everyone hug (and even shed a tear) on the last day of camp, I know it was worth it. So, think of what you’ve experienced in building a bunk community and take it to your classroom. You can help be a leader in building a great community at school.

Character! At Weequahic, we stressed to you that it’s your daily actions that matter. The big and little things you do everyday show who you are. While others may listen to your words, you’ve learned that they’ll imitate your actions. So choose your actions wisely! Remember: little by little, character is built every day. Take what you’ve learned at camp and show everyone in your classroom and school what a person with great character can do.

You learned so much this summer – how to water ski, climb, create a radio broadcast, project your voice, cook, etc. More importantly, you gained independence, built character, created a community, and increased your confidence. These aspects of learning at camp will help you every day at school and beyond.

Rest assured that while you are in the classroom improving your knowledge of math, writing, history, science, and more, we’ll be hard at work preparing camp for another fantastic summer of laughter and learning. Have a great year at school. Study hard, do good, and stay excited for camp!

Cole Kelly