We do a lot of intentional things to help children and teens make friends at camp…We start the intentional friend making as soon as campers arrive by getting them involved in games and activities on check-in day. Our returning campers are great about welcoming new campers, and we make an effort to bring them into the process. They all can remember what it feels like to be the new kid on the block at camp. Each day we also have “free time” for about a half hour before dinner, and all our counselors pay close attention to how the campers are interacting while we’re all outside together in a designated area. If any of them seem to be struggling to find a game to get involved in or campers to hang out with, a counselor might join in the game and gently coax the reluctant camper along. Meals are a prime time for campers to get to know each other, and we spend time in staff training coming up with conversation starters to use at meals to help this process go smoothly. Often we ask counselors to share some of those specific conversation starters with campers who seem to struggle with talking to people.
After attending the American Camp Association New England conference, I have lots of new ideas that I can’t wait to implement at our staff training and during camp. Most of all, I look forward to further exploring the things that counselors do to create truly exceptional moments for campers. The moments that have a lifelong impact. The moments that create the magic of camp.
- culinary arts
- fine art
- Meaningful Conversations with Children
- summer art camp
- summer arts camp
- summer jobs
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