The 5 R’s
In 2019, Camp Pinnacle exceeded my already high expectations on every level. And they did it again in 2020 in the midst of a global pandemic. As my son Levi said, “It’s hard to explain. Stuff that would embarrass me normally just didn’t there. I got to be myself all the time, and it was cool.” I’ve known Dock and Jane personally for 20 years, and I worked for Dock at Adventure Treks, so I went in with high expectations based on my prior experience. However, I was still blown away. The daily posts detailing out the philosophy and progression throughout the session were so helpful and insightful. – Laura Belanger, parent from Hendersonville, NC
The 5 R’s are the foundation for our philosophy at Camp Pinnacle. We want campers and counselors to use these five words as guidelines for being our best selves!
We want everyone at Camp Pinnacle to respect themselves, others, camp, and the environment. We begin with modeling a culture of kindness where everyone feels listened to and respected, and we embrace the unique attributes that each of us brings to the camp community. We model a tolerance for diversity and individual differences and work to constructively resolve the small conflicts which naturally arise through the joys and challenges of group living.
Communication is an important aspect of camp. Every evening before bed, each cabin comes together for evening circle. This is a special time for cabins to discuss the day’s events. All campers have the opportunity to share their thoughts while respectfully listening to others. We work to collaboratively make every day just a little bit better than the last.
By giving campers fun and exciting experiences in beautiful outdoor scenery, we strive to instill a love and respect for the natural world.
Responsibility at Camp Pinnacle begins with campers learning to take care of themselves away from parents. Our counselors, though always watchful and helpful, use opportunities inherent in cabin living to give kids the beginnings of real responsibility. Whether it’s sweeping a cabin, setting tables for dinner, or collecting firewood for a bonfire, Camp Pinnacle offers constant opportunities to learn responsibility.
We encourage campers to take pride in the things they do well, use the inevitable mistakes we all make in a learning environment as opportunities for growth, and be aware of how one’s actions can impact those around them. Ultimately, we want to teach campers that by taking responsibility, they have an element of control over their lives. During evening circle, campers discuss how their action and initiative can help make the experience better for themselves and others.
3. Reaching Out
One of the most important parts of creating a strong camp community is working to include everyone. We encourage our campers to be confident in initiating conversations and friendships with others. We stress what being a good friend to others means, and we cultivate an environment where our campers help and encourage each other throughout the day. It is our observation that people who give readily to others are also those who live the fullest and most joyous lives.
4. Reasonable Risk
Risk is a normal and healthy aspect of appropriate child development. We recognize camp as the perfect place to take reasonable risks. For a first-time camper, simply coming to camp and having fun away from home is taking a risk. Climbing a rock is another great example: Being 30 feet off the ground can feel a little scary, but it’s perfectly safe. We ask all our campers to step out of their comfort zones in a safe, supported, and supervised manner. We make nightly “safety checks” part of our evening circles as we work to develop judgment, assess probability and consequences, and give our campers the tools to make good decisions when they return home. We want to set a framework for a life that is neither risk-averse nor risky, but embraces the calculated, reasonable risks we all need in order to grow.
We want our campers to build resilience through appropriate challenge. We believe in challenge by choice, but ask all campers to step away from the familiar and embrace something new. We guide them into understanding that success comes primarily as a result of hard work, not innate intelligence or talent. We use failures as lessons for future success and embrace failure as an opportunity for growth. We learn to thrive in situations that may not always be comfortable such as a rainy hike or a steep uphill climb on a mountain bike.
We chose Camp Pinnacle because of the 5 R’s and how clearly the philosophy was outlined online. The 5 R’s easily apply to family and school life to help create children who are ready to handle adversity and make the world a better place. We do lots of outdoorsy stuff as a family, so the outdoors reinforcement is appreciated and a reason we chose CP. This year, I felt confident in the plans CP communicated to parents. I feel lucky that all sessions remained COVID-19 free. – Kelly Opipari, parent from North Bethesda, MD