Life Skills & Camp – It’s Only Natural
SPOILER ALERT to our campers! Amid the fun, craziness and creation of new friendships with campers from around the globe, us camp professionals have been secretly sneeking in more of what’s good for you than simply adding green beans to the buffet line! We’ve been creating & enhancing an environment where you have learned new life skills that will help you succeed when you return home and throughout your life. So… continue reading at your own risk!
Life skill education has only recently become all the rage among school based educators. And, as silly as it may seem, there is a rather heated discourse as to whether life skills are soft (non-cognitive) or intellectual (cognitive) in nature. And depending on the viewpoint, life skill education is either integrated into the whole education of the child or simply relegated to a social or elective based offering.
In a recent HuffPost Education blog post, Ellen Galinsky emphasized the need to push life skill education to the forefront (Let’s Take Life Skills Learning Seriously). She advocates that life skills such as self-control and taking on challenges are clearly intellectual as well as social & emotional skills. As she shares in her post, Paul Tough (author of How Children Succeed) suggests the other perspective that skills such as self-control & persistence are soft or non-cognitive.
Whatever one’s take on the intellectual nature of life skills learning, most would agree that helping our children acquire a solid set of life skills is important for our children if they are to grow successfully toward adulthood. It is interesting that only recently have schools embraced the concept of life skills learning. Here at Camp WeHaKee and throughout the camping industry, life skills learning has been deeply embedded in our programs and experiences for a long time.
Certainly we have been helping our campers increase their self-control, take on challenges and enhance their persistance. But we have also helped them improve their decision making, resilience, negotiating skills, ability to work as a team member, conflict management abilities, cooperation, communication and so on. This is done first by providing strong counselors who can effectively and accurately role model these skills. We then train our staff to be able to recognize or create settings where our campers can try out these skills, and we provide a culture and community that is positive & supportive of each individual member.
Perhaps our schools could consider tapping into the rich knowledge and wisdom of camp professionals who have willingly and effectively been engaging in learning skills education for decades. In the meantime, we will continue to ‘sneek’ it in to our fun and exciting camp programs right under the noses of our campers!
Thanks for reading and have a great week everyone!