Fridays with Franky: The Leap of Self-Discovery!
Hi everyone – it’s me, Franky, the WeHaKee camp dog! Thank you for joining me today. There is no question that sending a child to camp for the first time can feel like a huge leap of faith. But it might be more reassuring to shift one’s perspective and consider it more as a leap of self-discovery!
A recent blog post in MuseStream (hosted by the State Education Resource Center in Connecticut), by Jeremy Bond entitled The Sleepaway Leap, explored his 9 year-old daughter’s recent experience attending an extended overnight camp. We often talk about the gains in confidence and independence that children glean at camp, but through his daughter’s eyes, he looks deeper at the identity development and growth in self-awareness that his daughter and many campers experience during their time at camp.
“Every kid, no matter what they’re like at school, they come here with a blank slate.” a camper quoted in The Sleepaway Leap speaking about the defining power of the camp experience.
Bond points out that camp is very different from school in that it is primarily active and experiential. The campers are not being evaluated and they spend most of thier time outside. And for many campers, they are experiencing a community where most if not all of the people do not know them when they arrive. That can certainly be a bit scary for campers, but it also provides the freeing opportunity to re-invent themselves, letting go of those traits that they see dragging them down at school or in their neighborhood. Campers frequently describe this as ‘being themselves at camp!’.
“They realize new things about themselves: it looks like I do better with more/less structure. I like being active/sitting quietly better. I might want to be a teacher/camp counselor/forest ranger/astronomer” Jeremy Bond, MuseStream
Our WeHaKee alumni frequently share that their camp experiences were key to learning who they really were and what talents, gifts and abilities they truly had. In the Camp WeHaKee environment, they felt stronger and more confident to try new things and meet new people. And they felt that others percieved them more positively than what they had experienced at school.
Self-discovery is the conrerstone of postive growth and a Camp WeHaKee experience provides continuous opportunities for campers to discover all they are capable of achieving. Thanks for joining me today and have a great weekend!