Sunday Snippet: The Nature of Camp!
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and as a result, there have been many bullying-related articles and posts circulating about the internet. But one article caught our eye; Is Nature A Cure For Bullying? penned by Jacki Ostfeld of The Huntington Post. She seemed to suggest that camp experiences, such as those had at WeHaKee Camp for Girls could go a long way in turning bullies around to becoming more sensitive and caring individuals.
An experience at WeHaKee Camp for Girls takes place in the pristine, natural setting nestled in the lake country and Northwoods of northwest Wisconsin. Girls and young women spend nearly all of their time in nature beneath the tall virgin white pine along the shores of Hunter Lake. The setting creates an idyllic community of mutual respect and acceptance where girls are consistently observed providing support and encouragement to each other. In a greater culture that frequently highlights the conflicts between girls and women, labeling them ‘catty’ or worse, the natural camp environment of WeHaKee seems to successfully counter that notion that groups of girls can’t get along.
But what is it about the camp experience that enables this positive and nurturing behavior? Several things influence this environment of support and encouragement. First of all, we are very intentional in creating a welcoming environment at WeHaKee from the moment a camper arrives (or steps on the bus to camp!). And we maintain that welcoming nature throughout the time at camp to ensure that each camper develops a deep sense of belonging ~ a feeling that WeHaKee is their place! This sense of belonging creates a feeling of ownership within each camper that empowers them to be proactive & protective of their welcoming and accepting camp community.
Secondly, we strive for a high level of supportive supervision, which is not designed to stifle camper energy and enthusiasm, rather to direct it in positive and exciting ways. On the backside, this aids in diminishing the opportunities for campers to engage in negative or bullying behavior beyond the eyes and ears of our staff.
But lastly, the natural setting of WeHaKee is overpowering in its ability to soften even the ‘hardest’ individual who may initially not want to be at camp or get to know others in the camp community. Perhaps it is the sense that one is not the center of the universe, but more a small (but significant) part of a greater world of beings and creation. Experiencing the beauty of the Northwoods fully with all five senses gives a person pause to reflect on how they might contribute to making this world as wonderful as it is at camp.
Have a great week everyone!