The time approaches for some SERIOUS FUN!!
Hmmm . . . serious fun? Yes, serious fun! The fun is everywhere . . . the arts, target sports, horses, water play, drama, dance, Playstations, evening programs, delightfully fun special wakeups, playful evening embers, field games, gymnastics, high ropes, low ropes, CAPP, music, cabin activities, ninjas, fire play, hammocking over the creek, the natural splendor, the outdoor skills and knowledge, or maybe just some fun time hanging out at snack, chilling in rest hour, chatting over a meal, or . . . The fun is indeed everywhere! But what’s this serious part? Like crazy, awesome, amazing, incredible fun, like that?!!? Well, yes, that kind of serious fun. And, something more. The fun of being tickled when you’ve learned that you can do something you’ve never tried before, be that a physical skill, or emotionally learning that you can play and be like that. That’s me? That’s seriously fun! The fun of finding a life-long love of arts or horses or climbing or . . . The fun of marveling at the intricacy and diversity of nature from the mosquito that bites you (try smiling anyway!) to the seed that turned into beauty and food. The fun of experiencing WISH, WONDER, and SURPRISE in the myriad of ways that they show up at camp on a daily basis, especially when you smile and find out it is infinitely more common than you first imagined. The fun of living in community, both joys and struggles. The fun of a camper overcoming homesickness or seeing that they don’t have to be better than someone else (physically or social stature) to be better. The fun of being in your challenge zone, and sometimes even your panic zone, and realizing that you’re still okay, perhaps after some TLC from your community fellows. Failure and frustration can be fun?! Cool! The fun of being selfless and contributing to so many other human beings. This serious fun stuff is something I can get used to! I invite you all to have more serious fun than you’ve ever had!
Our camp program includes small group, large group, and individually chosen activities. We have thoughtfully selected program activities that will provide opportunities for each camper to be challenged and succeed, to explore and develop their creativity, and to just plain have fun. The summer program is designed for boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 16, while a leadership development program (CIRCLE) has been designed for campers aged 16 & 17. We also have family camps, wilderness trips, and a mini-camp.
All activities at Camp Augusta are aimed at individual and social growth through the organized camp experience. Through education, enjoyment, support, and successful interaction between campers and staff, we hope to grant the campers and staff an experience that will supplement their lives outside camp.
The philosophy of community living is also incorporated in the Camp Augusta program. We feel by creating an environment in which people meet their individual needs through commitment to a group, we are providing experiences that benefit us on not only a local level, but as campers travel through the numerous groups of their lives. A key factor in community living is embracing diversity, and utilizing it to its full benefit for the individual and group growth. Discipline, established boundaries, a nurturing attitude, empathy and the desire to both teach and learn are the qualities that enable our activity leaders and counselors to work together in meeting the objectives of our camp program.
Many activities have been divided into levels, with specific skills to be learned and demonstrated before a camper graduates to a new level. We have found our program much more successful when we provide campers clarity in activity objectives, and clear forms of evaluation through which they can experience their own growth and progression. This component is key to the safety of our programs, as all participants are involved in levels appropriate to experience. We operate all programs with the fundamental belief that people love to learn; this belief is continually reinforced as we experience 75-90% of the campers returning year after year, excited about achieving that next level on the ropes course or advancing to the highest riding group with the horses.
Campers will register to participate in “clinics” while at camp. These are emphasis areas in which your camper may choose to strengthen his/her skills. There are more clinics and activities at Camp Augusta than your camper could participate in during even a nine-week stay. Some clinics are limited based on ability as deemed appropriate (e.g., open-water swimming for non-swimmers).
The clinic signup process. On the first day, campers hear little fun presentations about most of the offered activities. During dinner, each cabin goes to the signup board with their counselor and picks activities. Each camper can choose whatever they want during the four clinic activity periods each day. Each period has between 20 – 30 offerings.
Every day thereafter, campers sign up during lunch or dinner for the following day’s activities. A rotation is set up among the cabins, so that every cabin gets a fair chance at all the activities. As the days progress, different levels are offered for activities that have a level system. For example, on Wednesday, there may be two Level 1&2 Archery classes, and two Level 3 Archery classes. Thursday, there may be only one Level 1&2 class, and Friday there may be none. Offerings depend on where the camp community is as a whole, which is evaluated twice every day. On Thursday, if a camper wanted to try Archery for the first time, Level 1&2 may only be offered in the morning, and it may “compete” with a horse program the camper wanted to take. Two-week sessions offer far more opportunity to try activities and develops skills if so desired.
The choices and combinations require reflection, but the counselor, village leaders, program directors, and director are all there to help. Encourage your camper to seek help – we can usually make things work out. Finally, note that Playstation and Cabin Activities are separate of clinic times. They occur every day as well, as does an evening program.