Tonight’s Evening Activity was an Open Camp Night. Years ago, we called it an “ALC Typical”, but the concept is the same - campers are given a few choices for activities for the evening. Tonight’s options were a tag game (“Dragon Tails”), canoeing on the lake, or painting watercolors on the hill by Art. Campers were free to choose any of the three options, and just like during the day, attendance was taken when they arrived at their choice. After Beach Day, campers and counselors were happy to choose their own adventure - and whether running around playing tag, enjoying an evening on the lake, or chatting with friends while painting with watercolors, everyone had fun as the day wound to its end.
ALC’s daily program operates in a similar way. Campers look at the schedule for their age group, choose one of the choices for that period, and head off to that activity. Counselors take attendance as campers arrive. We spend time in pre-camp helping counselors plan how to teach a variety of levels and experience in a given period, and they are poised to welcome everyone who comes to their activity.
Making choices is a lifelong skill that ALC campers practice each day at camp. Campers don’t sign up for activities ahead of time - each period is a choice (with two exceptions - campers attend a swim lesson period with their age group each day, and if they choose to ride, they are assigned to a riding group that typically meets a couple of times each week). Each period gives campers a range of options - within each period, campers have some choices are more physically active than others, some athletic, some arts, and often, something on the waterfront. Some campers prefer to plan out their entire day, while others choose as they go from period to period. Both methods work, as they both meet the needs of individual campers.
Each camper chooses her path, and as she does so, she is listening to her body and mind, choosing to be moving lots or sitting still, to push herself to learn a new skill or try a new activity, to attend an activity with friends or on her own. ALC’s choice based program, enables campers to practice mindfulness as each camper learns to pay attention to her needs.