This was our 16th year starting school with 3 days of camp. Going to camp with over 1,225 students, 105 staff, and 60 plus parents and community partners over the course of 8 days for 3 schools is a lot of work and takes a dedicated team that truly understands the WHY.
We believe that to build a strong learning community we need to start by recognizing student’s individual strengths and develop a relationship with each student. Camp is that perfect opportunity for us to recognize the in-coming freshman and provide leadership opportunities for our returning sophomores, juniors and seniors.
This shared experience provides that place where we can teach and reinforce the four pillars: begin to live out community from the first day of the year, build empathy for diverse experiences in our mentor groups, practice critical thinking, and create a school environment that strikes a balance between the analytical and creative, the individual and the whole.
A student reminded me of the power of camp and this collective experience. She shared with me how she was very much looking forward to continuing to explore her interest in the visual arts because in the past she had little access to arts courses or resources. But what most excited her were the connections and friendships she was making and had made through her mentor group. She understood how being part of a family (her mentor group) that could share their struggles and success, and support each other through learning and life was more important than just her passion for the arts. She ended by saying “it’s so great to be a part of a community where I am using my art and passion to help others realize their dreams and passions, that’s my priority one”.
This is just one of many student stories that demonstrates the importance of community and a personal relationship. At camp we are truly able to establish a strong foundation, as students meet in their mentor groups and learn about our four pillars Community, Empathy, Thinking and Balance. As a result, each of us gains a larger perspective, and a passion for helping others.
SOTA, SAMI, IDEA