How, you ask? Well, let’s start with their college application, and specifically, their college essay. Over the years, I have met so many former campers and staff who have written about their experiences at Camp Kawaga. They’ve shared stories of their growth, their exploration of themselves, the challenges they overcame, and above all, their ability to reflect and communicate emotionally and persuasively about their passions.
The last of those is essential, and this self-reflection is part of every single week (and more) spent at Camp Kawaga during our Pow Wows and our sacred Indian ceremonies. Campers share and reflect on the day, themselves, and each other, and through it develop the essential skills of patience and compassion while gaining the confidence to articulate thoughts and communicate with their peers. All together these experiences can be called Emotional Intelligence and it is an imperative skill to have in today’s ever-changing world.
Once your child reaches college he/she is going to need independence in abundance, perseverance, responsibility, and a growth-orientated mentality. College is hard — academically and socially — and these skills will help them towards being successful in classrooms and lectures halls, as well as in forming new friendships, developing mentor relationships, and with communicating their ideas. These also happen to be skills that teens learn at Camp Kawaga, through our activities, values-driven culture, and challenging experiences.
Independence is a given in a camp environment, and we foster camper choices within our scheduling to further enhance this experience. Your teen will choose from a range of activities and sports and focus on developing an interest in a new skill, such as archery, water skiing, sailing or pick up a new sport — much like their freshman year of college. This also develops a mentality of growth and discovery that will push them to try new things, meet new people, and develop their self confidence.
Our 5 pillars of Leadership, Enthusiasm, Spirit, Sportsmanship and Fellowship are our core values talked about regularly and it is practiced here through learning to take ownership of actions, looking after our camp environment, and forming mentor relationships with our younger campers. Taking responsibility for others is a seldom-utilized path to confidence in oneself, especially for teenagers, and it’s incredible to see this develop at camp over a summer.
Of course, we are also a heap of fun! Summer Camp helps teens form friendships that will last well into college and beyond, and here at Camp Kawaga we build strong individuals with confidence and character to help them succeed — regardless of their post high-school goals.
Credit to Frost Valley YMCA for originating this post