Do you have a camper who loves to help? A child that, while you were baking cookies, desperately wanted to help and ended up getting batter all over the kitchen? Or that time when your child spilled red paint on the carpet and decided to “help” by mopping it up with the fancy towels reserved only for guests? Children are natural helpers, and long to feel needed and useful. Of course, this applies to all of us and as our brain develops and we fine tune motor skills, our ability to help vastly improves.
Helping can build empathy and create a sense of responsibility and belonging. In 1997, a study by Joan Grusec found that when children help, they feel a sense of purpose. The caveat being, they need to be helping more than just themselves in the process. For instance, if a child is cleaning their own room, that doesn’t make a huge difference to their psyche (although it is an excellent habit to build!). If a child helps clear the table and put away clean dishes, they are helping the family and bettering a community. This directly relates to feeling responsible.
There are many ways children can learn the value of responsibility (one of our favorite Rs), especially while at camp. At Pinnacle, you live in a cabin community of 8-10 other people and will be responsible for keeping the space clean, tidy, and well organized. You will have daily tasks like sweeping the floor, taking out the trash, and keeping clothes lines tidy. Everyone also helps clean up after meals and through that learn to support each other and begin to understand the importance of shared responsibility in a communal space.
By the end of each session, one of our goals is for campers to feel that Camp Pinnacle is their home and a place where they want to return. We also hope that they bring this sense of responsibility with them and they help keep their home a place where everyone wants to be. We want to partner with campers and parents and have campers head back home more helpful, responsible, and kind than when they arrived at CP.