April 29, 2013


Posted by Rebecca Burkhead, Day Camp Director at Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

Who doesn’t know that boys and girls develop differently?  Or that 8 year olds have different needs from 11 and 14 year olds? This winter I’ve been working on games and discussion topics for our counselors to use to meet the specific developmental characteristics of all of our campers.

We know that younger campers love “activities” that have rules. In sharp contrast, our teens would rather choose what they do, like discussing, interacting, and creating collaboratively. The middle “tweens” prefer to use maps or Global Positioning Units to explore their surroundings. But these generalizations have many exceptions. We can't do anything one-size-fits-all because people are dynamic.

Realizing group dynamics vary with age and gender we’re going to have counselors working to the age group’s strengths and interests throughout the day. Challenging campers to learn new skills or build existing strengths.  Like in the past, we’ll be working on building not only camper inter-relationships, but also between staff and campers. It’s our goal to help everyone build character and self-esteem.

Just like the Osprey is returning to its nest, many campers and counselors are coming back for another summer. There are lots of new folks coming, too. Together we’re going to have so much fun!

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