Camper Care: The Inside Scoop on How the Magic Happens
“Camp Chi Magic is a feeling like no other. It’s the moments with your cabinmates and counselors that make you so overwhelmingly happy.”
– Montana M. Camp Chi Alumnus, Camper, and Staff Member
While it is no secret that Camp Chi is an inclusive community, it may come as a surprise to you how many and what types of measures we actively put in place and monitor to ensure that every camper, regardless of abilities, has a successful summer. We take pride in helping each camper feel like they are apart of the larger camp community. This feat isn’t accomplished by large sweeping actions, but rather it’s the little things we do that make this happen!
The first step in achieving our goal is starting with the most central component to success, our campers. We recognize that each camper is unique and brings with them their own skills, perspectives, and actions. We look at the camper as an individual not as the greater sum of their parts, we meet them where they and both literally and metaphorically get on their level so that we can determine exactly what they need to feel supported at camp.
Of course, as partners in the development of your children, parents and guardians are a second integral focus of a successful summer. By calling and welcoming all new campers and their families, by meeting campers for hot chocolate, ice cream, or simply in your homes or our office; we are creating an open dialogue, where we can get to know each other and creating a more cohesive community.
Our returning campers are the secret element in the plan of a successful summer for each camper. When we put out surveys or polls, or when you ask to meet with us, or when we host programs, we always want to hear about the experience, listen to the feedback and be better than we were before. The feeling of support and safety this gives our campers helps foster growth in communication and problem-solving skills in the entire camp community.
When camp is not in season, it is easy to list the ways we go about ensuring your camper’s happiness and success at camp this summer and every summer. When the summer comes and camp is in full swing, it’s not about a list of things we do, but it’s about what you see, what you hear and most importantly, what you feel when you are at Camp Chi.
Have you ever…
…seen a counselor and camper walking behind the group fully engaged in a conversation, both holding the other’s undivided attention?
…heard an Art specialist gather a group of campers and give them specific directions and schedule preview before breaking off into their specialties?
…listened to a camper during bed time ritual share something they achieved that day and something they need help to be successful in?
…taken part in the game room during song session or in our chill room?
…had a counselor help you make your bed without having to ask for help?
…been given a special meal option because you couldn’t find something that was appetizing to you?
…walked into a bathroom and notice the signage at eye level that helps you visualize what you need to get ready for bed?
…noticed camper(s) sitting either as a cabin or one on one with a social worker during a meal?
…wondered why our counselors always seem to pull out the right toy/book/game or fidget right at the exact moment you need it?
All of these and more are examples of how we create camper care and without our staff, none of this would be possible. We recognize that we needed to put supports in place for our staff to feel cared for so that they can care for your special ones. Not just training on systems and procedures but also creating spaces to have sensitive conversations and safe people for them too. We teach our staff the tools and strategies they need to not only care for themselves but to be better positions to care for the campers and each other.
Together, the full-time team and all the summer staff are passionate about and work hard to ensure that everyone in our community gets the highest level of care. Creating camper care is what we do and we have been nationally recognized for our program. The fruits of our labor are what leaves your campers with incredible summer memories and feeling of belonging and support that keep you coming back summer after summer. You know what they say…Here for Summer. Home for Life.
In March at the JCC Association Professional Conference, we were awarded the Kol Hakavod award for Program Excellence for our efforts in camper care.
If your camper is interested in exploring additional options or measures of support through our camper care team, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org