We couldn’t be more excited about the summer ahead. We have a wonderful team of counselors, and our senior staff are putting final touches on programming updates. We’ve made more improvements to camp this past year than ever before, and Tom and the maintenance team are working feverishly to finish all remaining projects. Our fleet of 10 brand-new Ford 15-passenger vans has arrived. We’re at maximum capacity for enrollment—the first time that’s happened in decades! All this to say: There is a lot going on!
As much as we plan evening programs and activities and the schedule in advance, much of the magic of camp can’t be scripted; instead, it unfolds organically as kids integrate into their communities and begin bonding with their new friends and role models. The close-knit community we’re known for starts with our counselors, who arrive as early as mid-May to begin their orientation. That culture of kindness they create before camp even starts starts to trickle down to our campers on the first day of each session. We want Camp Pinnacle to feel like a second home; when our kids feel comfortable and supported and are having fun, it’s easy to take reasonable risks, challenge oneself socially and physically, and build confidence through repeated success. In addition to personal growth, summer camp is all about the opportunity to forge new friendships, spend time outside, and learn from role models.
From a child’s perspective, spending a few weeks at summer camp is all about fun. New friends right and left, activities they’d never have the opportunity to try at home, incredible food made fresh every single day, and something adventurous around every corner. For many kids, they’re experiencing success away from home for the first time—away from parents, siblings, school, athletics. They step outside of their comfort zone, but often don’t even realize it, because they’re being encouraged and cheered on by supportive peers. They’re completely away from technology, which is also a first-time experience for many adolescents. For a child learning about him/herself, camp is a chance to believe in oneself and start to realize who one wants to become.
Our goal (among many) is to use the natural advantages of the camp setting and program to help you, parents, raise confident and healthy kids. Parenting in the modern world is tough, and it’s not getting easier. Even if you’re lucky enough to be aligned with a great school, live in a neighborhood of similarly-minded parents, and have extended family nearby, it can still sometimes feel like we are all alone in trying to master this parenting game, where the rules keep changing, the bar keeps rising, and the consequences keep getting bigger.
We want to be a model of “good” for your kids, and to be a steadfast institution that you can count on to act in your child’s best interest. We want to be able to transport your child to a world that focuses on building skills for their long-term well-being. While we know that achievement is necessary for happiness, the pervasive emphasis on children’s success (driven by nervousness about their future, and coupled with the unintended consequences of smartphones and decreased free play in nature) is creating a society with all the symptoms of a mental health crisis.
At Pinnacle, we want to step away from the pressures of modern life and focus on kindness, respect, relationships, connections, and community. We continue to emphasize outcomes that align with the root causes of long-term happiness. According to Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania (who is generally considered the expert on happiness), the areas we focus on include:
- A positive mental outlook or optimism
- Commitment to purpose and others
- Building substantive relationships
- Accomplishment, as defined by exceeding our expectations of our capabilities
All that being said, we are so excited for summer to begin. We can’t wait to provide a place where kids can discover their best selves and like who they see, and spend several weeks filled with joy, laughter, and fun.