Clare, the Drama Teacher Explains the Importance of Summer Camps
Campers arrive with varying levels of English speaking abilities. However, since students come from many countries the desire to learn to speak English is increased many times over. Students are eager to learn about one another and one anothers' countries. The only way to do that is through speaking the common language—English. They want to participate fully in classes and activities, and that also requires that students up their current abilities with the language.
The camp experience is an exceptional opportunity to leap ahead in English skills, social skills, and personal maturity.
Students at the camp's age group are making the remarkable transition from childhood to early adulthood. As peer relationships gain importance, they learn social skills to navigate those relationships. Camp allow many occasions and means to develop those skills: group activities, group discussions, team building exercises, free time in the lounge playing board games or cards—these and more give a well rounded experience in the context of spending time with people from other countries, other beliefs and other values. They learn their own strengths and develop additional skills.
They learn to listen, to empathize, to negotiate and more.
When the campers meet others in a safe environment (which staff work very hard to create and protect) they allow themselves to learn through trial of new experiences. The group is not the familiar one from school, so campers are free to try new skills or approaches. For example, a student may not have had the opportunity to be a leader at school but finds themselves in that position multiple times at camp, recognizes that skill and continues to develop it (check the story of Jose and Angel Vitanoff). Not every moment at camp is easy; however, even the difficult ones become an opportunity to relate, support and invest in one another with heart and soul.