Monthly Archives: June 2012

GAC’s of Kindness

Our Vision: Gold Arrow Camp is a supportive community where lives are enriched through relationships and experiences.

Written by Audrey Monke of Gold Arrow Camp

 At Gold Arrow Camp, we focus on being a community that is inclusive and warm.  Our campers are expected to be respectful and kind to one another and to our staff.   “Put downs” and other negative comments are not allowed.  During training week, counselors learned about creating warm, fun, and welcoming environments in their cabin groups.  Our goal is for campers to use positive language with each other.  At their first cabin campfires, campers discussed their cabin’s code of conduct and agreed on how they are going to live with and treat each other to make sure that everyone has a positive experience at Camp.

Helping others makes people happy. It feels good to share, to give, and to be kind to others.  Sometimes in secret, and sometimes in front of others, we’ll do nice things for our fellow campers and counselors this session.  Leaving notes, doing a chore for them, making a friendship bracelet at arts and crafts, and listening intently to their stories, will all be acts of kindness that will make others happy and, in turn, make us happy, too!

One of the great things about Gold Arrow Camp is that so many people are happy when they’re here.   Some campers even describe GAC as their “happiest place on earth.”
Categories: Benefits of Camp, Communication, Community, Councelors, Friendship, Fun, GAC, Health, Kids, Safety, Self-Esteem, Social Skills, Team Building, Tradition, Traditions | Tags: | Leave a comment

Experience Nature: Fighting NDD and EA

Written by Audrey Monke, Director of  Gold Arrow Camp

Experience Nature: Fighting NDD and EA

“Nature Deficit Disorder” (NDD), coined by Richard Louv, and “Electronics Addiction” (EA – coined by yours truly and others) can both be combated by a camp experience. When was the last time your kid hiked through the woods or got a mosquito bite? For that matter, when was the last time your child took out their headphones or turned off their cell phone? In Lenore Skenazy’s book, Free Range Kids, she elaborates on how we have somehow skewed parenting into something resembling packing our kids in bubble wrap and avoiding all experiences in order to avoid any negative ones. We live in fear of all the “what ifs” and end up not allowing our children any freedom. Electronics fill in the gap nicely. In Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, he talks about what our kids are missing out on from not being exposed to nature. He coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” to refer to a generation of kids who may never experience nature because it’s too “scary” or foreign to them. He predicts they will grow into adults who prefer staying inside with their TVs, computers, and other electronics.

Most camps have “electronics free” policies and don’t allow campers to bring electronic games, cell phones, computers, etc. While disconnecting from technology, campers learn to relate better to other people, face to face, without headphones on or a cell phone in hand. This break from electronics is great for kids, as they quickly learn that they can get by without them. In this technology-crazed world, camp is one of the few remaining bastions of freedom from electronics.

Gone are the days when kids spent hours playing unsupervised in the fresh air, making up games, finding bugs, and just being kids. Instead, childhood activities are mostly structured and adult-supervised. Play dates are organized by parents and almost never spontaneous. While camp activities are supervised, kids still get an enormous amount of exposure to nature, a sense of freedom, and a chance to make new friends. For many first-time campers, camp is their first chance to sleep outdoors, gain a love for recreational activities ranging from archery to sailing, and see what the stars look like away from city lights. The love and respect for nature that camp experiences foster in our kids may ensure that they grow up to be adults who care what happens to their world. And who get off their computers and go outside once in a while.

Categories: Benefits of Camp, Campfire, Communication, Community, Councelors, Friendship, GAC, Health, Kids, Packing tips, Parents, Safety, Self-Esteem, Social Skills, Team Building, Technology, Tradition, Traditions | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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