A Creative Interest-Based Approach to Summer Camps…
January 20, 2017
When that creative spark lights up childrens' faces, when the inner critic takes a backseat and imagination is allowed to flow, when there is a realization that we are comprised of and surrounded by infinite possibilities in each moment, we at Greenwood know our job has been well done. Our greatest hope is to support individuals in recognizing their capabilities, gifts, and passions, encouraging creative, empowered, loving and adaptive responses to the world around them - whatever the path they choose for themselves. By rooting this brilliance in care for the wild world and an awareness of the impacts on the wider whole, we hope to support a future that is resilient, sustainable, and bright for the generations yet to come.
It is for these reasons that we struck out last year to create a new and unique approach to our summer camps and offer interest-based groups for the children to learn and creatively explore within. While we had created an interest-based teen program before, this was our first time attempting it for a full youth summer camp. We call these interest groups “guilds”, and choose the focus of each one based on different personality leanings and with consideration of the various important roles within communities. In each of these guilds, the creative arts - including handcrafts, visual arts, healing arts, campcraft, martial arts, musical and theatrical arts, and more - are an important focus and are tailored to the interests of each specific group.
Having never before seen a camp completely organized into interest-based groups, overlaid with a theatrical role play storyline, held entirely outside, we were truly embarking out into new territory. What we found, was that within this structure, children felt honored, seen, and encouraged to stretch themselves in ways that suited their personal interests. We also found that by grouping various ages together within one interest group, an important and natural cross-pollination occurred, where the older children helped the youngers along, learning much themselves while teaching and supporting, while the youngers inspired the older children with their enthusiasm and bright perspective.
We also found that the role play storyline gave context to the skills and creative activities we engaged with and brought the experience alive for them. The children thrived when given the opportunity to don a character, shedding self-consciousness and having a safe space in which to explore different aspects of their true personality.
The absolute joy on the childrens' (and staff's) faces at the end of each day spoke volumes and told us that we had made beginning steps towards something truly beautiful.
You can learn about our 2017 summer camp offerings by clicking here!