Perpetual Motion

Camp owners are always looking to add value to the camp experience. Camps that have added value can easily attract new campers. If the added value is truly delivered, the dividends are usually great pride and loyalty in campers who will want to return year after year.

What is added value, really? The answer to this question is usually in meeting the immediate needs of the campers in ways that they consider fun.

How can you identify these needs? Camp owners can do this by looking at the headlines of the local newspaper to see what parents are struggling with as they raise their kids: violence in schools, obesity, drug abuse, the pressure to get them into a good college, even in the stress of the new SAT format and the scholarship money that is given to students who score in the highest percentile.

When you look at the challenges that your campers and their parents face, it becomes clear that kids need to develop the ability to make good decisions. If you promote that your camp programming develops strong critical thinking skills that can transfer to success in the classroom, people will see that your camp helps campers to develop what is at the heart of being successful in life.

By developing camp programming that improves stronger critical thinking and communication skills, you could be well on your way to 100-percent capacity camp enrollments, season after season.

Education for Life

Too often, the education process is seen as only taking place in the classroom, when in fact, people may learn more when there is hands-on application of a principle.

For example, learning that the lower the center of gravity is in the body, the more stability is created by using a mathematical formula and calculating the maximum force that can be applied before a tipping point is reached, might be more meaningful and easier to grasp, if the center of gravity principle is explored through the golf swing…

A narrow stance makes it more difficult to maintain balance through the transfer of weight that occurs during the back swing. As the stance is widened, the learner can plot how the club plane is improved during the back swing.

Giving learners a chance to experiment to see how the center of gravity affects the accuracy of the back swing and ultimately the success of a golfer at the tee box, can make learning more effective… and more fun!

You and your campers (as well as the campers’ parents) may not be aware that many camp experiences already are helping campers to think critically to become good decision makers.

Critical thinking skills involve analyzing a task or a problem and evaluating which solutions would be the best for that situation.

Many camp counselors and instructors who want to invest in their campers’ learning give cues that help campers evaluate the important factors that need to be considered to find the best solution to a problem or to improve their abilities to perform a skill.

You may already have staff members who naturally gravitate to the process that researchers have termed “the constructivist’s approach to learning.”

With this in mind, camp directors might want to examine how instruction is given and the mentoring process that takes place throughout the camp experience.

Are your instructors and counselors doing the thinking for the campers and basically dictating what campers need to do? This teaching approach is not uncommon and can produce immediate results. It is a command style of teaching, and while all the information about a skill or task is given very efficiently, you would be amazed at how little of this information is processed or even remembered by even the most motivated or talented of campers.

Also, even if students so learn enough of this skill to perform it well, they probably won’t be able to tell you why the technique works and they view learning as a robotic function.

The constructivist approach not only puts campers in the driver’s seat but it makes learning more fun. The instructor’s role shifts from the dictator to the facilitator.

The instructor gives the campers a task or a problem to solve and usually gives guidelines that must be followed to ensure that the activity is safe and not completely frustrating for the campers.

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Counselor Query
  2. What Campers Say About Camp
  3. Steps to Jump Starting Your Brand Marketing
  4. Community Exchange Programs
  5. College/Camp Connection
  • Columns & Features
  • Departments
  • Writers