The Best Times at Summer Camp
According to campers, these memorable moments are when silence pervades, all eyes are focused and a song or a chant emerges. These are the times at resident and day camps when everyone belongs to the family and the collective 'doing' validates each individual.
These are the RITUALS of camp which bring campers back year after year ... but they must be tended to and treated with reverence by ALL campers, counsellors and staff or they quickly become perfunctory and meaningless.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
Identify your signature rituals. Evaluate each, eliminate those that miss the mark and commit to those that further your mission, strengthen community connections and increase camper outcomes. Confirm that each session contains ritual content.
What happens in a four-week session is likely to be more intense than rituals for a shorter session; however, rituals should be included in all sessions. Script out the 'perfect' scenario for each ritual.
Don't go to the place of how staff have been executing the event, focus on how you want it done and maximize the impact with timing, props, specific language and songs. Teach rituals during orientation. Establish the model, help counsellors see the value of the ritual and set expectations for performance. Monitor performance for compliance.
After each ritual, take time to mentor those who performed and establish expectations for the next team.
When you tend to your rituals, you give campers emotional connections that will make them tell their parents that they 'must' come back to camp.
(Note from Travis: Camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith nails it every time with her HINTS! If you don't already, you should sign up to receive theses HINTS in your email - in the right-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)