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The Beauty of Summer Camp

The beauty of camp is not just the scenic views on the waterfront or on the fields but the friendships, unique experience, and memories created at camp that live on for years. At Camp Robin Hood we see that beauty of camp daily and call it the magic in the trees.

We recently found an article that one father shared about what it meant to visit his son’s summer camp and remembering the beauty of his camp experience. It is a great reminder about why the time spent at summer camp is so meaningful from your first summer to 20 years later when you are sharing a memory with your child.

In this, my son’s fourth summer, I returned to camp over two decades later … It was an extraordinary seven days. Not easy, but extraordinary. I was forced by my exposure to so many kids, to look for and see my deepest sense of self. The camp asks children to be vulnerable, accepting others for the worth of their soul, not for their superficial cover. And, so while asking such from children, we adults are forced to do the same.  I observed and was moved by kids who normally wear every mask they can find to hide from the world, instead, remove the layers and serve up generosity in portions which if put together, might actually save our world.

I was moved by the depth of spirit and maturity displayed by the counselors in camp. They are barely adults themselves and yet, they hold the emotional and spiritual lives of real children, experiencing life on all ends of the human spectrum. When these same counselors return to the college campus in the fall, most of their friends will assume that their summers were carefree because they worked in camp. But the opposite is true.  These caring souls work eighteen hours a day and learn how to be mature and steady leaders because of their work. I believe that the best of them will build on their summer experiences to make meaningful and impactful lives for themselves.

Most moving, was the sense of freedom children seemed to feel by being at camp.  Not because they rule the roost, but because, in a safe environment, they are forced to independently make choices……about which activities they love, but more, how to connect in relationship. They are given room to fall down and not have a parent catch them. They don’t have parents there to micromanage their friendships. Their actions have consequences and it is not made better because of their parents’ wherewithal.

Freedom with boundaries and values says it best. All week, I observed children as they shed off their layers and found within, their deepest sense of wisdom and self. I heard children as they laid on the ground and watched the stars, talk with relief about being away from the drama of their home relationships, the constant talk of violence on television and the academic pressure to be perfect.

It is obvious that breaks from our routine are important, but this was more than mere vacation. These days away from home, school these children in character-building, value-evolution and independence-making. It is not magic; it is good old-fashioned, spiritual, wise, evolving, joyous freedom. The campers grew.  I grew. And all of us could use the time away from the same, somewhere, not for fantasy, but for independence from all which sometimes keeps us shackled.  We all deserve it.

Excerpt from The Spiritual Beauty of Summer Camp by Matt Gewirtz

Excelling at Camp Robin Hood: Why Girls Excel

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As part of our blog series we are discussing how campers excel at Camp Robin Hood. Today we are discussing Girls Camp. Since girls approach life a little differently than boys they benefit from the separate opportunities we offer at Camp Robin Hood.

At Camp Robin Hood boys and girls experience both a single-sex camp while still living in a dynamic co-ed community. To balance this Camp is laid out so Girls and Boys Camp are located on a different ends of our campgrounds. These separate environments help encourage growth through mentorship and community.

Why do girls excel at Camp Robin Hood?

    1. The Environment – Throughout the school year many young girls face daily pressures concerning everything from academics to their appearance. Girls tend to be less preoccupied with how they look or act in a single-sex environment which is why many of our activities are single-sex. At Robin Hood, our female campers are in a judgement free and inclusive environment where they are able to focus on having fun, developing skills and forming lifelong friendships instead of their appearance. Since we have a dynamic coed environment, girls and boys are able to build age-appropriate relationships during all camp events.
    2. The Mentors – Young adults, many college students, help guide our campers throughout the summer as support systems. Many of our older campers take on leadership roles and help foster self confidence in the younger girls through their activities and daily cabin meetings. Having the support of our older campers and staff means our younger campers will also learn how to be there to boost their peers confidence.
    3. The Community – To help foster a sense of community between all of our female campers we have their cabins open up to spacious common areas that feature swings, tetherball and basketball courts where the girls can mingle. Additionally, daily activities are conducted as single-sex activities to help promote individual growth without distractions. As parents of both sons and daughters, we recognize, that it’s important for our campers to learn how to develop healthy, age-appropriate relationships. Meals, evening activities, and special events is when our Girls and Boys Camps come together for more camp fun!

We are always available to discuss these benefits in more depth and we would love to learn more about your son and his goals for the summer. Feel free to email us directly at anytime: woody@camprobinhood.com.

Excelling at Camp Robin Hood: Why Boys Excel

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We are often asked by first-time camp parents about our Brother/Sister camp structure and how it is designed to help both boys and girls excel at Camp Robin Hood. Today we are going to be writing about why boys excel in this structure at Camp, followed by a blog post about girls coming soon.

Our Brother/Sister camp structure is designed to allow our boys to experience the important growth in friendship, mentorship and fellowship of a single-sex camp, while still living together as a part of a dynamic co-ed community.

Why do boys excel at Camp Robin Hood?

    1. The Mentors- One of the most important aspects of a summer at Robin Hood are the relationships built between our counselors and campers. During staff training we give our counselors the tools they need to become mentors for all of our campers. Why do we spend so much of our time focused on mentoring? A study found that children with mentors showed increased belief in their abilities to succeed and felt less anxiety related to peer pressure. Especially in young men, having a great mentor can really help propel our campers to success in college and beyond! 
    2. The Community- Majority of our daytime activities are conducted as single-sex activities, giving our campers and opportunity to focus on their own individual growth without any distractions. It also helps our campers develop deeper friendships and relationships with their group-mates. Our campers always come together for certain activities like drama, for meal-times and fun all-camp activities! This unique community structure also gives our campers an opportunity to interact and engage with our entire Camp. Any social issues that normally come up between the sexes at a coed Camp are minimized at Camp Robin Hood, allowing for both of the benefits of a coed and single-sex Camp.
    3. Skill Building – We all know that Summer Camp is the best place for children of all ages to learn 21st century skills! This is especially exemplified in the young men who attend Camp Robin Hood! Our Camp parents see an increase in leadership, communication and collaboration skills from their sons when the return home. There is really no better place to focus on skill building than at Camp!

We are always available to discuss these benefits in more depth and we would love to learn more about your son and his goals for the summer. Feel free to email us directly at anytime: woody@camprobinhood.com.