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Experiential Learning at Camp

March 10, 2017

As the school year begins to wind down, we at Triple C wanted to talk a little bit about the type of education we do at camp.  Summer learning loss is a real thing.  Over the summer, up to one month worth of information learned at school can be lost (Cooper et al, 1996) while students are on break.  At Triple C Camp, we combat summer learning loss with intentional programming.  We have many tools at camp to aid us in this battle.  One such tool is our challenge course.  A challenge course is a combination of mental and physical challenges consisting of high and low elements.   Challenge courses have become very popular lately, but have been providing educational experiences for a long time.Water Wheel

In the United States, the first challenge course was built in Boulder, Colorado in 1961.  Early challenge courses followed the Outward Bound philosophy of learning through a direct experience with focused reflection.  Another key aspect of this learning process, credited to Karl Rohnke, is to help participants push themselves out of their comfort zone and into the stretch (learning) zone during a challenge course program.  This model has been successfully used for years to help individuals grow and develop as well as help groups attain outcomes such as better communication, problem solving, and planning skills (Gillis & Speelman, 2008).  Today, the challenge course industry is regulated by the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) which sets standards and best practices for construction and facilitation of challenge courses.

The scope of the ACCT has grown as the industry has changed.  Today, are more than 7500 challenge courses in the U.S., with 200 to 400 new courses being built every year.   Many of these newer courses are “pay for play” courses. The goal of these courses has moved away from experiential education to a purely recreational goal.  In the past, the educational experience was key.  Many of these new courses are about amusement.  They pump through high numbers of participants and exclude the facilitation aspect of the program that educates and helps participants grow.  These pay for play courses have their purpose, but at Triple C, we use our course as a tool for the development of our participants.

TowerOn our challenge course you can traverse sideways while leaning into a partner, standing two feet off the ground on a cable.  It’s called the Wild Woozey and it promotes planning before proceeding on the element.  The “Nessie” is an element where the team has to work together using ropes to move beams that are 35 feet in the air so a participant can walk across the beams (while harnessed in to a rope and belayer).  It requires clear and concise communication from the team on the ground to help the participant successfully cross the beams.  We have a climbing tower and 500 foot zipline that promotes goal setting.  There are numerous similar elements and activities that help teams work together and help individuals grow on our challenge course.  The physical elements are less important than the social, mental, and emotional experience though.

During our challenge course programs, our counselors structure each activity to elicit teachable moments that help participants learn about themselves and their team.  Throughout the experience, processing occurs where reflection is guided by the counselor.  Methods like active listening are combined with tools such as processing thumb balls to stimulate Nessieconversation and give the group the means to help themselves work through issues.  Processing is structured in a way that begins at a very basic, comfortable level and evolves into more in depth reflection that aids in the growth and development of the group. During summer camp, experiences on our challenge course help to bridge the gap between school months.

We also use our course during the non-summer months.  We offer birthday parties, corporate teambuilding programs and much more on our challenge course.  If you are interested in these educational programs, please contact Shannon Meyers, our Director of Year Round Programs ([email protected]) or visit our Year Round Program website: http://yearround.tripleccamp.com/

 

Fantastic February!

February 10, 2017

February is here, yet the first week has presented warmer days, and has us longing for summer.  Swimming, hikes on Kinser’s Trail, Arts and Crafts, GAGA, delicious camp lunches, and Wednesday dress up days will be here before we know it!

During these non-summer months, staff are busy gearing up for 12 amazing weeks.  Creating new games and activities for the campers to partake in, keeping camp looking spectacular, and hiring awesome camp staff!

Speaking of camp staff, we keep in touch year round with our staff members.  We recently had these great thoughts shared with us:

“What I love about camp is getting to be outside every day.  I am looking forward to all the new friends I’ll meet at camp this summer!” –Emily K.

“There is no place like camp!  It is a fun, safe place to grow and develop myself and others.  The friendships that I have made through camp are some of the longest lasting!  Getting to go to work every day and have a positive influence on kids, watch them grow, and become more responsible individuals is one of the reasons I love coming back each summer!” –Ryan R.

Our staff play a huge role in making camp happen!  For being early in February we are excited to announce an awesome group of returners including:

Sarah (Palmer) Adair, Jenny Belling, Julie Belling, AK Camper, Robin Carr, Hannah Ciucias, Vickkey Dickens, Abby Faust, Daga Gladys, Megan Harris, Henry Keith, Emily Kostanecki, Terri LaRue, Cat Maguire, Kasey Massih, Steve McCann, Emily Missana, Ellen Ralph, Ryan Rothenberg, Jen Schnelle, Bill Southern, Rohan Sultana, and Travis Yuille!

Not to mention all of the awesome new staff that will be here as well!

We look forward to making it a GREAT one!

Triple C’s Top 10 of 2016!

December 29, 2016

TOP 10 THINGS THAT HAPPENED AT TRIPLE C CAMP IN 2016!

We think 2016 has been a fantastic year at Triple C Camp, from making new friends and meeting new counselors, to Year Round Programs and the staff soccer team winning the SOCA summer league championship. 2016 has been a great one! Here are some of our favorite moments! Comment below to share some of your favorite moments from Triple C Camp!

1. The unveiling of the 2016 summer logo!

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2. The addition of The MAZE a new low ropes element. (Blindfolds and laughter encouraged!)

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3. We had the largest number of campers EVER in a single week! Way to go Week 3!

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4. Siog the Irish Fairy moved into the Loz to help our Irish Arts and Craft Specialist, Ellen!siog

5. BendYoga of Charlottesville encouraged mindfulness during “choice activities” with some of our younger campers.

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6. The Triple C Camp staff soccer team won the SOCA championship game in a sudden death shoot out!

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7. During 2016 we had over 200 Girl Scouts participate in our Year Round Programs!

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8. All of Camp was able to have a karate lesson from Super Kicks Karate, not once, but TWICE this summer!karate

9. When we were able to paint our counselors! Green is DEFINITELY their color!

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10. The invention of Teal Tuesdays!

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Thanks for making 2016 so wonderful. We look forward to making even more great memories with you in 2017!

Happy Fall from Triple C!

October 18, 2016

As the leaves start to change color, and the temperature starts to drop, we can’t help but imagine the warmer summer days at camp.  Learning new games, playing GAGA, s’mores, arts & crafts, and making friendships to last a life time!  Camp is a place like no other.

Here are some post camp thoughts from some of our staff–

Ellen (Arts & Crafts Specialist):

ellenFor me, working at camp this summer was my first proper experience of living away from home and it was an experience that I will never forget. As an international staff member from a country where summer camps in this manner don’t exist, I felt as if I too was a kid at camp every day, being amazed at what was on offer for the campers and the new experiences they had each week. I loved every aspect of camp, the tall trees, sharing of meals, camp songs, morning opening, afternoon round-up, school buses, purple vs. gold, friendship bracelets and so much more. As the Arts and Crafts Specialist, I was able to meet and get to know nearly every child at camp whether they were here for one week or the whole summer and that was an aspect that I really loved. I learned a lot about America, the camp world and working with children as well as about myself and my own capabilities over the few months I spent at camp. Some of my favorite memories were All Camp every Friday when the whole camp would get together for activities, the staff horse riding day, seeing Monticello, and of course having s’mores on the overnights! Now that I’m back in Ireland I am progressing through my fourth and final year of my teaching degree and hope to be finished next May. I loved my time at Triple C Camp and am so grateful for all the experiences I had there!

Aoife (Colt Camp Counselor):

aoifeMy summer at Triple C Camp was my best summer so far! From meeting all of my fellow counselors and staff members to working with all of the campers in Colt Camp it was an amazing experience. I have lots of favorite memories but the most rewarding thing for me was seeing the improvement and development in each rider that I had throughout the summer. Since I’ve left Triple C I have traveled along the east coast of the USA, visiting Washington, Boston and New York. I returned home for two weeks and I then moved to Agen in France to become a language assistant in a high school, where I will be helping all of the students to improve their spoken English, I am also looking forward to the chance to travel around Europe while I’m here!

Rohan (Trailblazer Boys Counselor):

rohanThis was my first summer working at Triple C and what an amazing summer it was!  I had an amazing time working there and got to meet loads of new people along the way.  It was such a rewarding experience for us counselors, getting to see a smile on the children’s faces each day.  I’d love to come back and do it all again!

 

Robin (Trailblazer Boys Counselor):

robinI worked at Triple C for the first time this summer.  It was a fun filled experience that has provided me with many great memories.  I also had the opportunity to work with and meet some amazing people and lifelong friends.  The experience I had has made me want to get back over to the States as soon as possible.  Since I have been home I have been refereeing soccer matches and catching up with other camp counselors. But, I recently applied for a coaching position in America so I hope I can be back over there soon enough!

Megan (Teen Scene Counselor):

meganThis summer at Triple C was as amazing and unique as my past summer at camp.  I enjoyed all of the amazing times with my co-counselors and Teen Scene campers exploring Charlottesville’s parks, trails, and educational attractions.  Our days were always filled with lots of s’mores, silly competitions and constant laughter!

 

Jessy (Pool/Colt Camp Counselor):

jessyMy summer at Triple C was an unforgettable experience!  I had an amazing time experiencing the American culture and the vibrant children that we work with!  The positive attitude at camp always has you wanting to do your best whilst encouraging that of the campers also.  I have met so many incredible people and lifelong friends; it truly was the best summer of my life!

 

Moira (Edge Counselor)

moiraHey Triple C! I miss camp so much. This past summer was one my favorite summers of all time. The Edge program was definitely a perfect fit for me. Before summer 2016, I would have said “high school kids are not for me.” But the incredibly funny, kind, and thoughtful campers that I crossed paths with changed my mind. They let me experience a summer full of learning and laughs – the best combination possible. From van checks, to singing at the top of our lungs, to camping out in the woods, to spit tournaments, to planning trailblazer choice, to free swim, to a multitude of cheez-its, to playing nuk’em every chance we got, those kids made me love being at camp every single day. And isn’t it wonderful to have a job you love? Edge – I miss you all! I’m excited to see where you go these next couple of years. I’ll be expecting updates! I’ve absolutely loved watching each and every one of you mature and grow. After the last day of camp, I moved up to Alexandria, Virginia, where I accepted a job teaching 6th grade in Fairfax County Public Schools. We’ve been in school for over a month now, and I’m happy to say I’ve found another job that I love just as much as camp. My golden bandanna with the Triple C logo hangs up behind my desk, and my students even commented on it the first day of school! (I LOVE GOLD!) Triple C will always be with me wherever I go. Thanks for the endless memories, the friends that I know I’ll stay in touch with for a long time, campers I’ll be forever proud of, and a place to call home away from home.

Sióg’s last week at Triple C!

August 17, 2016

Hi all!

What an exciting week it has been for the fairy! When I went down to the Loz on Monday, I was amazed to see some of the green rice that I had made over the weekend all spread out around Sióg’s door and all of her ornaments and presents laid out on the rice! Her letter explained to us that she had decided to create a garden for all her ornaments and she wanted to have somewhere for Benny, her pet ant, to play in! Remember last week when she told us she would be competing in the gymnastics? Well she came second in her competition! Fairy Sineád won the gold medal and Sióg told us that she performed an amazing routine and really deserved the gold. Well done to Fairy Sineád! Sióg left us her silver medal in her key jar for all of us to see. Sióg also told us that unfortunately, this is her last week at camp! She has had a fantastic summer here at Triple C and has really enjoyed seeing all the arts and crafts, dress up and other camp activities all summer! The boys and girls in Ireland are starting back school next week and she needs to be back home in time for that to happen! We have loved having Sió g here all summer and will really miss her when she is gone! Thanks to all the boys and girls who have written to her and made things for her all summer long!

Ellen

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Fairy Olympics!

August 12, 2016

Hi all,

We received an exciting letter from Sióg this week! She began by thanking a camper for the lovely boat she made for Sióg and telling us that she is going to store it outside her house and use it over the weekend! She also told us that in Fairy Valley, they have their very own version of the Olympics, known as Fairy Olympics! She is competing in the gymnastics section of the games, a very tough section to compete in! She told us that she has been training all summer long for the event but is very nervous as the other competitors are excellent! We all wish her luck in the event and cannot wait to hear the results! Sióg has also received some new ornaments for her garden from a camper! I’m sure she will have lots of fun this weekend laying them out in her garden!

See you next week!

Ellen

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Benny, the ant.

August 6, 2016

Hi all,

We began the week with another letter from our favo rite fairy, Sióg! She told us about her Irish visitor and how much she loved camp, especially last weeks theme ‘Prehistoric Party’! We also learned that Sióg LOVES Wednesday dress up and we all showed her what we dressed up as this week for ‘Shipwrecked’! Last week, she wrote that she has a pet ant and we finally found out his name – Benny! We are all going to be on the lookout for Sióg walking her ant! The more exciting part about this weeks letter was the drawing she drew of herself! She explained that she can’t use a human camera so instead drew a picture for us. We even had some sightings of her yesterday!

She hopes that everyone is having a great week at camp and she will write again soon!

Ellen

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A new letter!

July 29, 2016

Hi all!

We received another letter from the fairy on Monday! When I walked down to Loz, the doors were wide open, a sign that Sióg has left us something! Her letter thanked us for all the lovely presents, letters and pictures that campers gave her for her birthday. She also told us a bit more about her wings! They’re not only one colour, they change colour according to her mood! She said that they are mainly yellow because she is usually happy – except when people are banging on her door!! We also learned that Aoibheann (Ai-veen), Sióg’s cousin from Ireland, is visiting camp this week! We are excited to have another fairy to look out for and we are going to try to keep everything looking neat and tidy for her!

See you next week!

Ellen

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Sióg’s Birthday Week!

July 20, 2016

Hi all,

What an exciting week for the fairy as it was her birthday on Tuesday! She turned 256 fairy years old! Lots of presents were left for the fairy by her door and she celebrated with her friends last night. One camper gave Sióg a birthday cake and tea, her favourite drink! She must have had a great night as there are only crumbs left from the cake! Some groups sang happy birthday to Sióg, Triple C style of course! On Monday we received another letter from the fairy. She described her plans for her birthday and told us more about Fairy Valley, where she lived in Ireland. We learned that she will be returning at the end of the summer as she needs to watch over the children going back to school in September! We hope she had a great birthday and are looking forward to her next letter!

See you next week!

Ellen

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Sióg has answered!

July 14, 2016

Hi all!

We have had an exciting first week with the fairy living in the Loz! Lots of letters were written and pictures were drawn for the fairy last week and she wrote us some new letters this week! She told us lots about herself, including her plans for her upcoming 256th birthday! Some groups are beginning to plan celebrations for her! We look forward to what the following week has in store with Sióg!

Check out the letter she wrote back to the campers below…

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