Developing a Sense of Identity at Camp
Take ten seconds and think about how you would describe who you are to someone that you have just met. As adults, most of us will talk about what we do (our role at work) to describe who we are. “I’m an electrician” or “I teach first grade.” We identify with what we do and as adults spending 40+ hours a week at work, we tend to identify with our roles on the job (Arnett, 2004). It’s the same for stay at home parents. Many will identify themselves as just that. If work is our main source of identity as adults, what do children have to point to as their identity? Recreation can answer that question and help children have a strong understanding of who they are.
At Triple C Camp, we see hundreds of children come through our programs every year. One trait we consistently see in campers is an ongoing development of sense of identity. Identity is a sense of who one is and how one contributes to society (Sokol, 2009). Identity is being developed in many ways at camp. Camp fosters this development by providing quality recreational experiences as a springboard for identity formation. Next time you’re at camp, take a look around and see what’s going on. From a distance, it looks like kids playing and having fun. Look a little deeper. Sure, recreation is happening all over camp. There is more going on though. Campers are examining what peers are doing, looking for reactions from adults, acquiring new skills, finding a social group to fit in to, expressing themselves, “trying on” different personalities, and learning values. In short, campers are discovering who they are through intentionally designed recreational experiences.
Recreational experiences, combined with feedback and validation from counselors and peers help campers to make this discovery. At Triple C Camp, activities are facilitated and scheduled in a way to give campers a small sampling of a multitude of engaging recreational pursuits so campers can figure out what they like to do and in turn, figure out who they want to be. These activities are coupled with down time where counselors have a chance to talk to campers and praise their effort, sportsmanship, adherence to the rules, etc., to give them the validation they seek in building an identity based on the activities they enjoy. Hearing another camper in their group say that they are really smart when it comes to science experiments or having a counselor tell them they are a natural leader in a basketball game can spark a passion within them that can lead to lifelong hobbies that become a large part of their identity.
Here is a list of some of the great identity-forming recreational activities we offer at Triple C:
Physical Sciences Archery Reptiles Cricket Rock climbing
Horseback Riding Swimming Music Volleyball Natural Sciences
Hiking Drama Gardening Paddling Tennis Outdoor Skills Karate
What will your camper become this summer at Triple C Camp?
Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Sokol, J. T. (2009). Identity development throughout the lifetime: an examination of Eriksonian theory.
Graduate Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1(2), 14.
The Countdown Begins!
The New Year is here, and with the warm weather we have been having, it certainly feels like summer is just around the corner! 132 days around the corner to be exact!
We have been busy at camp gearing up to make it another fantastic summer. Here is a glimpse at what we have been up to!
Hiring. Every year we hire from all over the world to work with our campers. We have a great mix of returning and new staff. From Australia, to South Africa, to right down the road in Charlottesville. Every staff member is individually interviewed by our awesome full-time staff. We talk about camp, their experiences, what a Triple C day looks like, and what an amazing experience it is to work with our campers. The hiring process is multi step with accountability and follow thru from our applicants, not to mention all the “regular” things like background and reference checks.
Gaining Knowledge. Camp conferences are a big part of our “off season”! We love attending these events around the country to help further our knowledge about the camping industry so that we can pass it on to our campers, giving them the ultimate summer camp experience! We learn about things like: programming trends, liability issues, marketing, risk management, best hiring practices and more. Chris, one our Assistant Directors just ventured to Richmond to recertify his Wilderness First Responder Training. Eryn, Katie and Libby went north to Chevy Chase, MD to attend the American Camp Associations educational conference.
Camp T-shirts. Each summer the Triple C Camp t-shirt changes, designing a new, fun logo for our campers to see! Ideas are thrown around, colors are matched together, and the result is another set of great camp shirts for both our campers and staff!
New Programming Ideas. Every Fall we sit down and go through everything that was learned from the previous summer, suggestions of campers, staff, parents, and what we gain from the conferences we attend, and put together awesome new programming ideas for the upcoming summer. Some of last summers ideas included a rock throwing range, music circle, bouldering wall, and 9Square! There are exciting new things planned for summer of 2018 as well. We love surprises!
Updates to the camp facility. With 1000+ campers, 70+ staff, and 150+ program days that occur throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall, the Winter is a key time for us to make updates to all the facilities at camp. This includes tightening loose screws, wood chipping, vacuuming up leaves, implementing new storage facilities, building new programming areas and so much more!
Registrations. After the first of the year our registrations for Summer 2018 opened and they are flowing in! It is always exciting to see names of returning campers pop up on the screen, and the names of new campers who will be attending camp for the first time!
Planning for Spring programs and events. While summer is certainly our busiest time of the year, we also have programs and events that occur in the Spring! The first for 2018 is the Albemarle Family Summer Camp Expo at the Double Tree Hotel on February 11th. (We hope to see many of you there!) During the Spring we have many groups on our ropes course, host Birthday Parties, and conference style events. We will have a great week of fun April 2-6 at our Spring Break Camp. (Registration is open! Be sure to secure your spot!) And finally, our Open House on April 15th is a great time to come out to camp, play, visit counselors, and ask any questions you may have.
A Parents’ Perspective
This is my first ever blog post, so I wasn’t sure exactly how to start. So, I began thinking of what Triple C means to my family and wondered how in the world I could put all of those feelings into words. Then one sentence came to mind that somewhat captured how we feel: simply put, Triple C Camp is FAMILY. This is not a place that just “watches” your kids during the day- no, this is a nurturing, caring, supportive learning environment that guides and encourages your children to become better versions of themselves, while having the time of their lives. The kids come home every day dirty, tired and happy- exactly how it should be after a day at camp. During the day, the kids get to experience the variety of activities you’d expect at a high-quality camp, such as archery, swimming, sports, games, nature, exploring, canoeing, arts & crafts, and a challenge course. But, as a parent, I’ve found that it’s the camp culture and diverse staff surrounding the kids while they participate in these activities that are the true blessing of Triple C and why it stands above the rest in my mind. These folks honestly love what they are doing and care very deeply for all the children. They make them feel special, regardless for how long they are able to attend camp. They expect the children to show respect, positive attitudes, and good sportsmanship and they role model these behaviors at all times.
My son began attending Triple C as a rising kindergartner and has attended every summer since; he is now a student at Fork Union Military Academy. This year he has finally realized his dream of becoming a counselor and I think he is even more excited for this year than ever before. I think he says it best: “without Triple C, I wouldn’t be who I am today; my camp counselors were my role models and I wanted to grow up to be just like them. Now I want to be that role model for other kids, even if it’s just one because you don’t know how that will affect their lives for the better.”
Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Preparing For A Summer At Triple C…And The Answers!
1. Do campers get to swim every day?
Yes! Everyone swims every day! The Pioneer and Trailblazer groups have a structured swim lesson for the first 15 minutes, then recreational swim for the remaining 20-25 minutes. The Explorer groups have a structured pool game for their first 10-15 minutes at the pool, with recreational swim after. Our camp counselors are also in the pool with the campers at all times.
2. What does my camper need to bring each day?
In each campers backpack they will need a water bottle, towel, sunscreen (we recommend putting this in a Ziploc bag if it is a lotion), and clothes to change into after pool. We ask that campers come to camp wearing their bathing suit each day. Males wear their trunks as shorts, while females wear their suit under a shirt and shorts.
3. What happens at a camp overnight?
We offer eight overnights over the course of the summer (Weeks 3-10). Overnights are an awesome extension of the camp day. There will be a delicious camp dinner, extra swim (weather permitting), field games, and s’mores at the campfire before bed! On Friday campers will wake up to a hot camp breakfast and hop right into their camp day.
4. What are some activities that my camper might do during the camp day?
Campers participate in a wide variety of activities during their camp day and week. These include: swimming, arts and crafts, nature, horseback riding, sports, science, hiking, archery, and so much more! A day is generally divided into 8-10 forty minute blocks, which means 8-10 different and awesome activities each day.
5. Do I need to pack a lunch for my camper?
No. Lunch, as well as a morning and afternoon snack, is provided each day. Lunch includes a main entree (kid friendly items such as hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, etc.), salad, a vegetable (peas, green beans, corn, etc.), a fruit (pears, peaches, fruit cocktail, etc.), and a “crunch” (pretzel, Frito’s, potato chip, etc.). We also offer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (or just peanut butter or just jelly) each day.
Experiential Learning at Camp
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.
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.
On 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 conversation 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/
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!
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!
2. The addition of The MAZE a new low ropes element. (Blindfolds and laughter encouraged!)
3. We had the largest number of campers EVER in a single week! Way to go Week 3!
4. Siog the Irish Fairy moved into the Loz to help our Irish Arts and Craft Specialist, Ellen!
5. BendYoga of Charlottesville encouraged mindfulness during “choice activities” with some of our younger campers.
6. The Triple C Camp staff soccer team won the SOCA championship game in a sudden death shoot out!
7. During 2016 we had over 200 Girl Scouts participate in our Year Round Programs!
8. All of Camp was able to have a karate lesson from Super Kicks Karate, not once, but TWICE this summer!
9. When we were able to paint our counselors! Green is DEFINITELY their color!
10. The invention of Teal Tuesdays!
Thanks for making 2016 so wonderful. We look forward to making even more great memories with you in 2017!
Happy Fall from Triple C!
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):
For 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):
My 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):
This 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):
I 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):
This 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):
My 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)
Hey 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!
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!
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!