Teaching Teachers

Call campers by name. Learn the names of all the campers as quickly as you can. There are tricks you can learn to remember names, like name games, physical characteristics, looks like someone else you know by that name, name tags and memorize written lists.

Modify, modify, modify… You need to do whatever works most effectively in your situation. Change equipment to make it larger, smaller, lighter, or heavier.

Increase or decrease the size of the playing area. Provide safe zones or rest areas for campers. Change the rules of the game or have campers make up their own rules.

Set time limits or don’t keep score. Reduce the size of teams. Require different things from different players. While playing beach volleyball, those who play on a school team can only hit the ball once during a rally. You need to challenge those who are talented while making the time for others to practice needed skills.

If campers enjoy what they are doing, they will continue to participate. Campers get bored when the activity is too easy, too hard, embarrassing, or not developmentally appropriate for their age or skill level. Do not put boys against girls or play only “traditional” male activities.

Last, but one of the most important strategies, hold campers accountable for learning those essential skills that help make games and physical activities safe and fun.

You don’t want someone to fall because they tied the wrong knot while rock climbing or get lost in the woods because they told you they could read a compass.

Check them through demonstration, oral or written evaluation, or some means of confirming that they know and can do the necessary skills that will keep them safe and having fun.

There is an old Chinese Proverb about learning, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” So… Let’s get kids doing -– inside, outside, at school, at home, and at camp!

Dr. Ruth Arnold is an Assistant Professor of Physical Education, Springfield College and IISA Level I In-Line Skating Certified Instructor. Dr. Arnold has also been a camp counselor and director.

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