Even for those of us who enjoy the change of seasons, this has been a rough winter. Low temperatures that haven’t been recorded in decades closed schools for an excessive number of days in January. It’s no wonder that when Children’s Beach House called to see who was coming for the weekend, 29 of our campers said YES! So what do you do at the beach on a cold winter day? The same thing everyone else does. You get ready for summer! This was the theme of last month’s camp.
Our Camp Director John Sadler and his talented team of counselors gave our campers the opportunity to develop their own set of rules for their stays at CBH. They were reminded of an important Children’s Beach House goal as they prepared to write their lists: Friendships, with Unique individuals, enjoying New experiences – in other words, make sure you have FUN!
Three teams of 8 or 9 campers rotated between three pairs of counselors, moving around the Beach House as they brainstormed lists of rules for how they would behave with each other. These lists grew large so campers voted for the rules they each believed were most important. They talked about each one, describing what it would look like when they were following the rule and what it would look like if they were NOT following the rule. The campers acted out different skits to demonstrate these examples to each other.
By the close of their weekend these are the rules all of the campers agreed to for the year ahead:
· Have Fun!
· Treat others as you want to be treated – follow the Golden Rule
· Be respectful to everyone at the Beach House, don’t yell or scream
· Be polite, be nice, be kind, be happy, don’t be mean, don’t judge
· Always use good manners, keep your hands to yourself
· Don’t hide in the closet
· Don’t stand too close to the fireplace
· No running
The counselors asked the campers if these rules were only for the time they were at the Beach House.
“Wait, maybe we should follow the rules on the bus too.”
“Coming to and going home?” “Yes!”
“We could follow the rules at school too.”
“Yes, that would be really good.”
“Maybe we could get the other kids to follow these rules too.”
“How about at home?”
“Wow, I would really like all of my brothers and sisters to follow these rules too.” “Yeah, my mom and dad would like that too.”
When you ask children what the rules should be, they will come up with some great ones, and be more inclined to follow these rules because they are theirs, not ours. This first weekend camp of 2014 was a terrific example of the Positive Youth Development Model at work at Children’s Beach House.
Please mark your calendars for our annual Golf Classic, Thursday May 22 at The Peninsula Golf and Country Club. You can learn more at www.cbhinc.org .