March 7, 2013

9 Skills You Didn’t Know You’d Learn From Camp

Going to summer Resident Camp is a world apart from our usual routine! It is an action packed, fun environment where we learn many new skills. Girls who go to summer camp can plan on taking in a TON of helpful knowledge that will help down the road. Most people know that campers will learn about hiking and nature, they may learn to paddle a boat, or how to make the most amazing friendship bracelets. Campers will definitely leave camp knowing far more silly songs they knew when they arrived, and they may even learn about archery, climbing, and sling-shots. These are all super fun things to learn about, but you will learn many more skills than that, that you may have never expected! Here are some of the things I learned as a camper and counselor at summer Resident Camp.
Growing up while growing down: (Responsibility and Silliness)- Summer camp was one of the coolest places in the world because I got to be in charge of myself, while at the same time being able to be as silly as I wanted to be! Although my counselors were there to make sure that we had time to brush our teeth, and our hair, it was our responsibility to make sure these daily tasks got accomplished. I took great pride in making sure that I was taking care of myself while I was at camp, and at the same time we were given the freedom to laugh and run and play. We spent hours day dreaming skits for campfires (that were just as silly as we could make them), and our hikes were filled with songs shouted at the top of our lungs. In this way I learned that being responsible doesn’t always necessarily mean becoming boring!

  • How to cope when you forget your rain jacket: (Consequences)-
  • When I was at camp, for the first time in my life I had to be truly responsible for my belongings. At the beginning of each day I was in charge of packing my bag… and there were days when I didn’t want to carry one thing or another (namely my rain jacket). I learned very quickly that when I decided to not carry my rain jacket, and it rained, I was the one that ended up with a sopping t-shirt. I knew that it was my own decision to not carry it, and so if it rained I would be the one dealing with consequences of that decision.

  • How to make a 10 minute costume: (Creativity and Imagination)-
  • Okay... ten minutes to go before dinner, which just happens to be ALIEN THEMED!! You look around your cabin and dig through your bag. Eventually you settle on using a trash bag for your space-suit and you throw some sticks in your ponytail that look like antennae. Okay, so you aren’t going to receive the Oscar for best costume, but you used your resources creatively and came up with a great functional costume that will probably be the envy of many other camper’s eye. Now you can use that type of creativity when you get home in cooking, crafting, at school and many other places!
  • What to do when you are the last one awake: (Enjoying Nature)-
  • When we wake up in our rooms at home in the middle of the night we can listen to our iPods, or maybe play a video game. If we are really scared, we can even choose to wake-up a parent. But out here, in the woods we have to find different ways to cope with being the last one awake. At camp you have the wonderful opportunity to close your eyes and really listen to the sounds of the forest. You can use your nose to smell the scent of the pine trees around you, and really enjoy a few moments of quiet, in a worlds that can be all too loud.

    • How to make friends instantly that will last a life time (social skills)-
    If you have ever gone to camp by yourself, you know it can be VERY scary, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life! Stepping out of your comfort zone, will really help you meet new people that you may not have met otherwise. Camp friends often become long lasting friends, not only because of all the fun and adventure that you have at camp, but because sometimes going to camp makes you feel like you have really made it through something together. Maybe you and your buddy have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and you are both scared, but you get through it together! These are the types of experiences that make friendships grow strong and last long!

  • How to sleep in the longest, and still get to breakfast on time (time management):
  • At camp you are running, playing and going all day long. Sure there is a rest hour after lunch, but lets be honest, who really uses that time to catch up on their zzz’s? So when it comes to waking up, you want to maximize your sleep time and minimize your prep time for the day! But remember when we talked about taking on the consequences if we don’t pack well? This is no exception! The only way to get those last few minutes of sleep is by learning to manage your time wisely in the morning. So maybe you get your things ready the night before? Maybe you make yourself a check-list of everything you need so you don’t have to use your fuzzy-just woken up brain to do the math for you. Anyway you slice it, it is up to you to get everything done before your counselors are hollering for you to head to the dining hall!
  • What to do when your last t-shirt is dirty: (Problem solving)-
  • Things comes up at camp that we can’t always expect. Maybe you get caught out in a thunderstorm, or maybe your shoes get wet. But camp is a messy place to be, and sometimes we get messier than we had planned. So what happens when you didn’t pack enough clothes for your week long adventure? That is a great question, and it is one that can only be answer by you! At camp you don’t have a parent who can buy you a new shirt, get you a sparkling clean one from the dryer. So you have to make a decision about what YOU are going to do. Will you assess your already worn tshirts and see which one is the least dirty? Maybe you will ask your counselor if you can get one of your shirts washed. Maybe you can figure out a way to rinse one of your shirts and hang it up to dry overnight. But one thing that is for sure, is that you will have to solve this problem on your own!

  • What to do when one of the girls in your tent won’t help clean-up (conflict/resolution)-
  • Since the dawn of time, humans have lived in communities. And since then, we have had disagreements about things. Perhaps it was over who would go hunting and who wouldn’t, or who got the ride the Wooly Mammoth that day… who knows. But the fact of the matter is, since we learned to communicate, we learned to navigate conflict. Camp is a great place to learn conflict resolution skills. Although your counselors are there to help you out if a conflict grows of control, you should take charge of resolving some conflicts among your peers. So what would you do if one person in your tent wouldn’t help clean-up? Would you ask them nicely and see why they weren’t helping? (maybe they were feeling really homesick, and felt to sad to help out, and they really just need your support!) Would you just bottle your feelings and clean up the mess yourself? At resident camp, you will get plenty of opportunities to experiment with your own strategy when it comes to conflict management!

  • What to hit the bulls eye when at first you can’t even hit the target (perseverance)-
  • There are so many new things that you will learn at camp. Some of them you may even be really naturally good at. But chances are, there will be some things that you aren’t that good at. So what happens when you really want to be good at something and you aren’t? Well, you have two options, you can decide that it isn’t worth trying for, or you can decide to work hard at it, take guidance from your counselors and peers and get better at it! To do this you just have to keep trying. Even when it feels like you aren’t improving: keep trying! And eventually, as long as you set realistic goals you will reach them!

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