CONVERSATIONS TO CONSIDER
It is our philosophy that campers have the highest potential for a successful summer when parents collaborate with us on camper goals and expectations and help reinforce the values of Ramah Berkshires. We encourage you to consider the questions below and talk through the themes with your child prior to the first day of camp, regardless of your child’s age and how many summers they have attended camp.
INDEPENDENCE AND ADVOCACY
Independence to care for oneself is a strong measure of camper readiness and one predictor for a successful summer. While staff are always available to support campers, it is also an expectation that campers can take care of their own basic needs.
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your child’s ability to be independent? Keeping in mind the expectations for overnight campers, what skills should your child practice now to foster independence this summer?
- How does your child react when they have misplaced something meaningful (item of clothing, stuffed animal, homework assignment, phone) at home or at school? What steps do they take independently to locate the object and address their emotional reactions?
- Is your child comfortable and prepared to advocate for their needs and concerns? (Consider things such as: dietary needs, not receiving a first-choice activity, when others’ actions are upsetting or concerning)
ATTENTION, LISTENING AND FOLLOW THROUGH
We are proud to have a high camper to staff ratio in the bunk as well as a strong presence of adult staff at camp. It is important to note that young staff members, ages 18-22, are the primary supports for your child throughout the summer. These staff relate to children in meaningful ways, as they have for generations, and at the same time, they are not professional educators. It is the expectation that your child is capable of listening and following through with staff instructions and feedback.
- How does your child respond to authority figures?
- How easy is it for your child to follow directions?
- How does your child handle when asked to participate/follow directions for a non-preferred activity?
- Does your child have to tools to respond kindly and civilly—and with appropriate emotional reaction—when they have a differing viewpoint from others?
- Is your child prepared to have a positive attitude toward all activities and participate in ways that are behaviorally appropriate and expected at camp?
COMMUNAL LIVING/SHARED SPACE
One of the most meaningful parts of camp is the opportunity to share a living space with close friends. The camp experience fosters an environment that promotes respecting others, understanding how to share space, and learning how to navigate conflict with peers.
- Would you consider your child to be an introvert or extrovert?
- How does your child handle being surrounded by others for long periods of time? With minimal personal space/quiet alone time?
- How does your child navigate conflict with peers? What skills do they have to manage when things do not go their way?
- How does your child do when they are unable to get as much sleep as they might need?
- Is your child prepared to keep track of and manage ALL of the belongings that you are packing for them, in the small space allocated?
With the support and encouragement of staff members, campers are expected to make good, healthy and safe choices regarding their behavior.
- What skills does your child have in place to practice making good choices?
- When your child is interacting with peers who are not behaving in the way that is expected, is your child able to make independent decisions about their own behavior?
- How does your child respond to peer influence?
- Does your child recognize that while camp has a different structure than school, there are rules and expectations that need to be followed?
CAMP SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT
One of our core values at camp is inclusivity. Our community is comprised of individuals from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. Some campers come to camp knowing many others from home or school, and some knowing no one. It is the expectation that all campers to demonstrate behavior that is kind and inclusive.
- How does your child react to meeting new people?
- How has your child practiced branching out of their social comfort zone to lead with kindness and inclusivity?
- Does your camper recognize that while they may have close friends at camp, exclusionary and unkind behavior is unacceptable and goes against our mission of meeting new friends and widening social circles?