originally published on ACACamps.org
In an increasingly connected world, today’s children experience an ever-decreasing connection to the natural world. As a result of hours of screen time, lengthening school days, and increasing participation in organized out-of-school activities, children are spending less time outside than ever before. Because of this lack of outdoor time, their connection to and understanding of their natural surroundings is startlingly absent.
With proven positive impacts of spending time outdoors, it is undeniable that increasing children’s engagement with their natural world should be a priority. Camps are uniquely poised to provide children with a high-quality, engaging experience outdoors that will equip them with the skills, mindset, and passion to continue their natural exploration when they leave camp property. With limited time and resources, it is imperative that camp staff maximize the time they have to share their passion for nature with their campers.
An outdoor education experience must do more than simply provide a camper with information about their surroundings. Ideally, an experience will leave a camper with the following outcomes:
This guide to effective outdoor education explores each of these four outcomes and provides methods to achieving them. Because no guide is comprehensive, this represents a starting point from which a camp program focused on nature can be devised or a training program implemented.
As the sun came up this morning, Camp Swift Session 2 officially started to come to an end. Our final morning on camp was bittersweet with many laughs, hugs, tears, and loving goodbyes.
This week was jam packed with fun activities that taught team building, creativity, how to set attainable goals, the importance of taking the steps to help us attain our goals in life, like attending college, and more. After the campers ate their last delicious meal of from-scratch french toast and scrambled eggs the campers had the opportunity to tell us about their experience at Camp Swift.
Even though the campers are leaving camp today, each one will take away valuable lessons and friendships. In college, students must make important decisions, test their skills and creativity, solve challenges, and even work together to learn and gain a degree to help them pursue their dreams. The campers did just this through programs at Swift University, and their hard work paid off at the Swift Graduation ceremony during the final dinner. Today, the campers were surveyed to better understand how well Camp Swift achieved the goals we set through programs and we will use the data to plan programs. The outcome of the survey will be published in the fall. Both campers and counselors also took a survey about their camp experience before they left.
Once the campers finished packing up their last few items and then helped clean the camp they love so much, the campers headed to the buses to say our final tearful goodbyes. Before boarding the bus, each camper received a cabin photo in a picture frame that they had painted themselves as a unique souvenir to remember camp. They also got a new camper shirt, and a nutritious sack lunch for the road. Although this session and season of Camp Swift has come to a close, we had one of our best years yet and are so looking forward to this school year!
Staying true to our mission of "creating the path from present to potential through peer mentor relationships", Swift offers a host of meaningful opportunities for our campers and counselors to stay connected all year long. If you would like to learn more about our opportunities, please sign up for our monthly E-Newsletter and you will be the first to receive our 2019-2020 program dates when they are released in just a few weeks.
All in all, this was another great season of Camp Swift and we are so grateful for everyone who made this memorable camper experience possible. If you would like more information on how to help, check out our page of opportunities!
The final full day of camp began with a delicious pancake breakfast. Some campers shared their stories about how they make pancakes with their parents at home and said that “with pancakes, you can never go wrong.” Perhaps because today was the last full day of camp, the campers were in a very enthusiastic mood. The cheers during breakfast were definitely the loudest and most exciting cheers out of all the previous days.
The morning activities were filled with numerous exciting programs. Frame decorations, shaboogie, and ropes for our youngest unit; cooking rock wall, hiking, science and sports for our middle unit; and canoeing for our oldest unit at the lake. During lunch, the campers, the counselors and the staff enjoyed another delicious camp specialty, made from scratch chili! The lunch, as usual also included healthy options like salad bar with plenty of ingredients to choose from and fruit bowls with pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes! DEEE-LICIOUS!
The final afternoon activities at Camp Swift included camper’s choice for all units where they had the opportunity to experience their favorite activity one last time before wrapping up another great session of camp. The art shack was a buzz with so many campers participating in our long-time camp favorite - tie dye! Campers also had a blast playing gaga, tennis and taking one last dip in the pool. All in all the final afternoon of camp was a blast!
The very last night of camp swift was a very special night where campers were able to experience the highest level of celebration!! The campers were invited to Cafe Swift for dinner where they entered a specially decorated lodge in our session theme - college! Then, they enjoyed a very fancy and college themed dinner of barbeque chicken with vegetables and mashed potatoes We also celebrated another camp swift birthday! Uasean turned 13 today, and the whole camp enjoyed delicious chocolate cake to celebrate. After everyone ate, there was another dance party in the lodge to warm up for the fun to come at the Swift Carnival!
Swift Carnival was a night filled with games, dance parties, and really cool prizes that campers got to take home. At the end of the evening, the entire camp swift community gathered for one of the final highlights of the camp: the Camp Swift slideshow! The video included a montage of pictures, videos, and songs from the past week of adventure and excitement. Once the night wound down, each camper went back to the cabin to reflect on all the cool and exciting memories and friends they made along with the friendship they will have forever!
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