Top Programming Ideas 2003

The flexibility and creativity is dependent on your program team. Allow for optional entrance. Send a letter to the cabin challenging them to compete.

Give them their first task and a time limit to complete it. Those cabins that do not complete it are eliminated. Now, take the number of cabins that completed the first task and design the rest of your week to eliminate the cabins down to two.

The final two are voted on by the entire camp to see who gets the great final prize. Keep in mind the tasks and make sure they balance between the older and younger ages. Do not try and make all the challenges physical — mix it up.

We love following clues to get puzzle pieces, and then constructing the puzzle! Twice this summer a cabin of the youngest girls went to the finals against a cabin of older boys (the girls were voted the survivors!).

Here’s a sample of what goes out to the camp on Day 1 of Survivor…

Dear Cabin ______,

Do you think you have what it takes to be the Kern survivor cabin? Is your counselor tough enough? Because your counselor doesn’t know anything about this game, they must compete with you.

Over the course of the next few days your cabin will be given the opportunity to compete. Each time you successfully accomplish a challenge you will proceed to another. If you fail any challenge‚Ķ you’re out! But don’t worry; you will get a chance to vote for the final cabin. Are you in? If yes, then proceed.

Challenge One: The Beginning

1. By Tuesday morning your cabin must construct a campsite on the property. Your campsite must include.

a. Fire pit

b. Your campsite needs to be large enough room for entire cabin to gather around the fire pit.

c. Stacked wood (enough wood for one night)

d. Place to hang your self-made cabin name!

2. You must choose a tribe name and create two items that display your tribe name. We suggest you make these out of wood.

a. Keep your tribe name a secret. If you succeed at this challenge you will need these “name plates” later. Be creative in your name.

3. When steps one and two are finished your counselor must turn in a signed piece of paper addressed to Survivor Officials.

a. Turn the paper in by Tuesday lunch to Shannon in a sealed envelope.

b. Include your secret tribe name. Only the officials will know the truth.

If you complete your campsite and construct your identity symbols on time then you will receive further instructions later.

Good luck survivors!

Survivor Officials

P.S. The prize, if you are interested, is a pizza party for your cabin and a trip to Dairy Queen!!

–Jeff Merhige is the executive director of YMCA Camp Kern, Dayton YMCA, Dayton, Ohio.

(Here’s where the next one begins)

We live in an era when young athletes are specializing in one sport for the entire year or young athletes want personalized attention at camp to improve their skills.

As a sports camp director, or one who provides sports programming, it is essential to have planned and well thought out methods of creating skill specific groups or teams.

Dividing the campers by age may have adverse consequences. In some cases, campers who are younger may be more experienced and skilled than their older counterparts and the reverse is also true.

One way to handle diverse skill levels would be to organize technique stations for the first session of camp to determine the areas of strengths and weakness of the campers.

From the initial screening the camp director can then determine the most competitive and appropriate environment for learning for each young athlete.

– Dr. Dina Gentile is associate professor of sports management and head soccer coach at Endicott College, Beverly, Mass.

In 2002 we moved into a new dining hall and incorporated a new “Honor Loft” into the program. As cabin cleanup is always an issue, we built use of the honor loft into the daily cabin cleanup competition — have the highest score in your age group for the day, and get use of the honor loft for either lunch or dinner.

The honor loft is just that, a 500 square foot loft that overlooks the main dining hall. In addition to the regular meal, honor cabins enjoy sodas, ice cream sundaes, a shuffleboard table and pinball machines. All of the sudden cabin cleanup got pretty competitive.

–Blake Smith is the camp director at Camp La Junta, Hunt, Texas

At camp, we program about three hours in the morning and afternoon. For some campers, especially our younger ones, by the end of the second hour they may be programmed out and looking for some down time.

For many of these campers they may choose to “cabin squat”, which is a big camp no-no as supervision is an issue. During that last hour in the morning and afternoon, we have a “free hour”.

This is not a new idea to camping. However, it is important to think about a few special activities that you open only during these times.

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