While camp is usually a place for fun and games, the foundation of any camp are camp goals that the community strives to live by each year. Usually some or all of your goals are included in your camp’s mission statement. For religious camps, goals might include closer connections to your faith and for sports camps, you might prioritize skill building.
No matter what your camp’s focus is, we think there are a few main and overarching goals that should define every camp. These goals, when achieved, benefit you and your campers, and will keep campers coming back for more!
#1 Camp Goal: Have fun!
This is one of those “duh” goals, but it’s important to keep in the forefront of your mind at all times. If campers aren’t having fun, they won’t come back. Even more important, if they aren’t having fun, the other goals you’ve set, like the ones below, cannot be achieved. When campers aren’t enjoying themselves, they are less likely to open up, engage with other campers and their counselors, and they won’t get the most out of your programming.
Goal #2: Make Friends and Build Social Skills
Whether your camp is focused on sports, religion or no particular theme, a goal of any camp is to build social skills and foster friendships. Otherwise, kids could just stay home all summer and interact with no one! Programming that challenges kids to step out of their comfort zones, especially when it comes to interacting with other campers, is key for growth. Camp is a great place for kids who might not otherwise be friends at “home” to engage with one another, learn about each other, trust others and create friendships that can last a lifetime.
Goal #3: Learn New Skills
This is a broad goal and can be refined to fit any camp. But the general theme of learning new skills is the heart of every camp’s mission. Whether you offer practical skills, like physical sports or outdoor challenges or your skills are more education based, giving campers something to “learn” is what motivates them daily to achieve the challenges you’ve set out for them. It is through this learning process that campers step out of their shells and work with their peers to solve problems.
Goal #4: Build Independence, Responsibility and Character
There is something magical about being away from home and not having parents nag you every day to do your homework and finish your chores! Campers thrive in an environment where they are taken out of their daily lives and get to experience something new. Set expectations and responsibilities for campers and they usually will rise to the occasion. As they are challenged to act like adults and as they learn new skills and gain confidence socially, they build character and increase their confidence to act and live more independently.
Goal #5: Adapt to New Experiences and Situations
This encompasses goals 2-4, but we’re keeping it separate to make one final point. Challenging kids to step out of their comfort zone and what they are familiar with, is where true growth and learning lie. Campers that are able to adapt to new situations, new places and new people, will be that much more prepared for new experiences they encounter in the future.
Camp is a place for kids to step outside what they are used to, learn new things and grow as people. By providing a safe place where these goals can be achieved is paramount to your success!