Living life as a group of ten boys in a primitive environment creates an interdependence as life experiences are shared. At Camp, boys learn to work together as they plan their daily activities in a balanced way to get needed work done, enjoy fun activities, and learn new things as a group about the world in which they live. Boys can look forward to their plans and carry them out. They also learn from each incident through fair evaluation as the day progresses and as they review the whole day prior to bedtime, sharing with each other how their experiences affected them personally.
A B C's of Camp
While at the Camp, boys have routine and structure which creates positive habits in their lives. At the most basic level is what we call the A, B, C's of Camp: 1) Clean Camper, 2) Clean Camp Tent, and 3) Clean Campsite. Orderliness and a 'Camp' way of doing things gives boys a feeling of 'it's done right' in their external world which helps them know what to aim for in their internal world. Living in a place where many things can be counted on, such as: three delicious meals served on time at Chuckwagon, a hot shower, wake-up time, and living according to our agreed-on plan for the day all give stability to our Campers' lives. The interest, encouragement, and care of staff, and especially his Chiefs, is the most important constant for our boys.
Camp serves 'boys experiencing problems.' For all of us, though, life consists of a multitude and myriad of problems to solve. Most of our problems are small, practical ones – such as, how to fix something – while some are much more significant – like the loss of income or a loved one's death. Adults, and even most children, work through these difficult times in life and mature because of them. Our Campers, however, are characterized by an inability to work through their larger life struggles in a positive way. This inner frustration results in their small issues becoming overwhelming, which bring verbal and physical outbursts or sullenness. These responses can pull family, friends, educators, and authorities into a downward spiral of unpleasant experiences on possibly a daily basis.
A primary goal for each boy at Camp is that he learns problem solving. Life at Camp is full of little 'problems' that our Chiefs can help a boy become successful at solving: a messy bed, an incorrectly set table, an empty stomach, or a muddy trail. Building on the success of small and natural problems solved, we tackle behavior and attitude struggles in the same, familiar way: every day…throughout the day. Camp celebrates small problem solving successes, and lends support to solve more difficult challenges. We teach boys to: 1) identify a problem to understand if we are looking at the surface or root of it, 2) offer solutions and recognize the pros and cons of each, 3) choose and execute a solution, and 4) evaluate whether the chosen solution and execution could be improved upon.
At Camp we look at challenging situations as problem solving opportunities. Such teachable moments do not hold until an appointed counseling session, so we begin immediately by allowing the task that the boys were in the middle of to wait until the group solves the problem. This makes everyone friends again so life can be enjoyed anew. At Camp, every problem, natural or emotional, big or small, is an opportunity to learn and grow for everyone – each boy in the group and staff members alike. Problems at Camp are not avoided nor looked at negatively but embraced and overcome using whatever resources are necessary. All of Camp is behind problem-solving! While at Camp, a boy learns to solve his major problems and help others do the same. When a boy graduates from Camp, his life will not be problem-free, but he will know how to own and solve them appropriately.