One of our five R’s at Camp Pinnacle is “reaching out.” We know our campers are excited to make great new friends this summer with folks from across the country and around the world. We strive to form a global camp community and are excited that this summer we will have students from more than 20 states and 6 different countries. Soon we will add more flags to our dining room as we celebrate our community at mealtimes.
It’s important to realize at an early age that people from different places may see things slightly differently than we do. It’s also nice to discover that when we share a unified vision for our camp community, it’s easy to work together towards a common goal and together create a community that fosters a culture of kindness, inclusion and respect.
There is a big wedding at Camp this weekend and on June 4, lifeguard training begins for our counselors. We do still have a few places left this summer. Please tell your friends. We can’t wait to see you!
Thanks to the more than 50+ folks who came to our Open House on May 4. It was great meeting many campers who will be new to us this summer and to see returners eager to view the many improvements. Several new campers arrived at camp nervous and uncertain and left counting the days until the exciting summer ahead. If you missed the Open House and would like to see Camp, give us a call (855.378.1928) and we would be delighted to give you a tour.
We are excited for you to meet our counselor team on opening day. You can read their biographies HERE. Our senior leadership team is featured HERE. Lifeguard training and leadership team orientation begin June 4th while the rest of our counselors arrive June 9th for 11 days of pre-summer training. We are eager for folks to arrive.
We still have more to do, but the new slide is a whole lot of fun! Grand opening - June 20!
Despite 32 inches of rain so far this year, we hear from old timers that camp looks “the best it has in 25 years.” and to this we eagerly reply. “And you haven’t seen anything, yet!” Nick, Tom and Alaska, our core maintenance team, have been joined by several Adventure Treks instructors who are busy painting, building, mowing and painting some more as we prepare for opening day on June 20. We just completed new changing rooms by the gym (so you can spend more time swimming and less time walking to your cabin to change) and we are busy building a new porch complex in Boys’ World. We had a water slide test party Friday and we saw a lot of smiles on young faces! No one complained that the slide was too slow!
This week Urban Outfitters will be at camp filming for their online catalog. On Sunday, May 19th at 1 Pm we will host the rescheduled Gnarliest Kids Adventure Race Ever. Over 200 kids will compete in an obstacle course race through nine different activities. There are still a few spaces left. You can sign up HERE. This will be so much fun.
New this summer is our Activities Book. We have made a huge push to improve the quality of our instruction in activities and this new book (which you get to take home at the end of the summer) helps you track all that you have learned over the summer. In addition, counselors are equipped with an upgraded field manual that reinforces their teaching skills. Activities Director Maggie Allen gets credit for an outstanding job creating this state of the art system.
We hope you too are counting the days until camp begins. See you soon!
We are not among the legions that see technology as an evil to be feared. (We love our I-phones). However, we do believe we should think through the ramifications of how technological changes affect our children before we automatically embrace the next and newest gadgets. To our knowledge no one has yet written a parenting guide for the digital age. We all know the facts: A child today is five times more likely to play a video game than to ride a bike. In 2010 the average 13 year old sent 3700 texts a month and spent 7.5 hours a day (53 hours / week) with some type of digital media. (Pew) By age 21, that same teenager, if a boy, will have played 10,000 hours of video games (compared with 4800 hours needed to obtain his bachelor’s degree). In 2013 the numbers are certain to be higher!
No one should deny that digital media is fun! The good news is that despite the obvious distraction of video games, most kids are still doing the same amount of homework (albeit frequently multi-tasking while studying) and still playing plenty of organized sports. It’s the time spent outdoors in nature in the company of friends that is getting displaced. Research shows that this collaborative play outside is the very activity that boosts kids’ creativity, collaboration and communication skills.
A recent post on our Facebook page from a kid we’ve never met gave us cause for distress. “I don’t see the point of going outside to hike and look at mountains. I can see everything I want to see on the internet…and that’s why we have the internet!” While this is not a typical kid in 2013, do we need to worry that it could be in 2020?
At Camp Pinnacle, we get to watch the benefits outdoor experiences bring to digital-age children every day. The cognitive and social benefits of time spent in nature are now well documented.The physical benefits are obvious; others are more subtle. Research shows that children have better brain development, and are both mentally and physically healthier if they play outside frequently. Nature experiences significantly reduce children’s stress, (and we are currently raising the most stressed out generation in history) while enhancing cognitive flexibility, problem-solving ability, self-esteem, and self-discipline. A 2012 British study on the restorative effects of nature demonstrates how time spent in nature can improve both executive function and creativity skills.
Camp Pinnacle is one of the very few places where kids will voluntarily give up their electronics and thank their parents for it! Camp Pinnacle is a reward, and providing a reward as an alternative to technology is always an easier parenting strategy than simply taking electronics away.
Camp Pinnacle unplugs us from the electronic umbilical cord. All communication is face to face and there are numerous opportunities to develop creativity and improve social competence and cohesion. At Pinnacle, kids get to practice interpersonal interactions 15 hours a day and they get better at it. This refinement happens naturally and in a fun and exciting environment. Perhaps the best thing is that they make new friends and learn from great counselor mentors who facilitate the process.
Another benefit is a more nuanced one, when students actually unplug from electronics, they learn how that feels. Unlike their parents, many kids have never experienced life before Google, video games or a smart phone. When they experience firsthand the benefits of cultivating the interpersonal skills that their peers may be neglecting, they develop a new framework that helps them keep their technology in perspective. When they return to electronics at the end of a two – week session, they are able to observe first- hand the fundamental changes in both behavior and communication styles that comes from leaving a technology free world and reentering a world powered by the I-pad. While a return to electronics is always thrilling, kids also realize that there were also benefits to a world without technology. They now feel more empowered to make decisions about how they think technology should fit into their own lives. They now know that technology need not be all consuming. They realize they have a choice… And sometimes just giving them that power (age-appropriate) is all they need.
By Steve Baskin and John Dockendorf, Executive Directors