Fridays with Franky: WeHaKee, a Compassionate Camp
What is the common denominator? What is it that makes the camp experience so powerful? Why is this same level of impact seldom seen elsewhere? In reading a seemingly unrelated article – Give The Kid A Pencil (Chad Donohue, posted in Teaching Tolerance)– it hit me right on the snout. It’s compassion!
Chad Donohue explores the common practice when a student arrives at class without a pencil, the teacher will often send them back to retrieve one or leave them to suffer without one. This assumes that this negative experience will trigger a better choice the next time.
He asked a group of masters level students in education what they would do if a student arrived at class without a pencil. In small groups they arrived at a variety of mostly negative consequences, but they quickly ask him what would he do. And he simply stated “I would give the kid a pencil.”
Mr. Donohue goes on to advocate that when one creates a classroom that minimizes anxiety and humiliation “teachers reduce the chance that students will skip class, give up, become defiant or develop mysterious “illnesses” that cause them to stay home.” I would paraphrase that the teacher is creating a compassionate classroom where students feel cared for and want to be there.
There it is – sorry it took five paragraphs to get here! – it’s the link between Chad Donohue’s article and the power of the camp experience! The camp experience is all about compassion. At WeHaKee, campers are given the room to make mistakes, to fail, to struggle. But when this happens, the counselors, the activity leaders, the staff offer a hand & encouraging word as they help the camper pick themselves up, dust themselves off and give it another try!
Yes, at WeHaKee campers feel cared for and they want to be there. And because of that, they are more willing to try things they have never done before, to reach out to people they have never met before, to stretch themselves in ways they have never tried before. It is the ultimate compassionate classroom.
So think about possibility of you or your daughter joining next summer at WeHaKee Camp for Girls! And if you forget your pencil, we’ll give you one… every time! Thanks for reading and have a great weekend everyone!