We Thrive in Camp RoutinePosted by on March 27, 2020

As moms we (Beigette & Alicia) recognize the difficulties that everyone is facing in the midst of COVID-19.  In what seems like the blink of an eye our lives have changed in a multitude of ways.  We now find ourselves balancing the roles of moms, educators, and camp directors.  As we work to care for our own families we are also thinking about you and yours.  You are a valuable member of the Fernwood Cove family and we are here to support you through these difficult and uncertain times.  As recent days have passed we have come to realize how summer camp skills help us every day.  We thrive in camp with these skills and we hope you can too.  Particularly during the times when life doesn’t go as planned.

We are working together to provide you a series of resources to help both campers and parents use camp values, traditions, and routines to support you and your families during these times.  We thrive in camp routines. The first in this series we share how you can utilize camp routines like Bunk Clean-Up and Choice with Structure to help your family adapt to today’s new normal.  It has helped us bring a sense of calm and normalcy to our families.  As we continue to support the Fernwood Cove community, we hope it helps do the same for yours.

Daily Clean-up – How to incorporate in your home routine

During the summer each bunk has a chore/job wheel that the campers and counselors create. It includes the chores that need to be done daily during morning clean-up. Such items include sweeping the floor, emptying the trash and recycling bins, cleaning the bathroom sink, tidying the porch, and organizing the clothesline.

In the Gill household Beigette started the conversations with “Now that we are sharing more time and space in our home together, we all need to pitch in with the chores.  Just like at camp!” Returning campers will know exactly what this means. Additionally, the Gill Family created their chart together.  This helps to create a united and connected family team.

A sample of chores on Perrin and Sylvie’s chart include emptying the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, taking the trash out.  Additionally, they are responsible for personal things.  They also need to keep their rooms tidy, fold and put away their own clothes, and spend at least 2 hours outside. Each parent will need to determine age appropriate chores based on their child’s age. However, remember camp age children can do a lot!

At camp we use the Neatness banner award as an incentive. There is a friendly competition between bunks in the same grade to win the neatness banner. Whoever receives the highest score on inspection over the week gets to hang the banner up on the front of their bunk. At the end of the summer the bunk with the highest overall score wins the neatness moose pendent. This is awarded at our final campfire.  Those who have won the Neatness Moose truly value it and the effort it took to achieve it.  Think about how you can incentivize contributing to and taking responsibility for household tasks.  Maybe even adults can have jobs on the chore wheel!  At Fernwood Cove we thrive with clean-up routine and challenges.  We hope they help you thrive too!

We Thrive in Camp with Choice with Structure

In the Gill household we have created structure in the evenings. Once the kitchen is cleaned up after dinner, we do a family Evening Program. Each night we alternate who chooses the activity. Some of the activities include cards games, a 500-piece puzzle, dance party, and board games.

At Alicia’s house Gabi and Jax have received a significant amount of schoolwork from their teachers.  Initially Alicia developed a daily schedule that included time for each academic subject, recess, creative time, etc.  After a couple of stressful days of getting organized Gabi and Jax have established their own routines.  Gabi prefers to hammer out the work in the mornings, with minimal breaks.  Whereas Jax prefers blocks of work with breaks for recess, snacks, and general down time mixed in throughout the day.  By allowing them the flexibility to create their own routines they feel much more in control during this new and different “homeschool” experience.

At camp we provide “choice with structure” in our regular focus activity signup process.  As campers get older the requirements and structure around their activity choices decrease.  However, it never goes away completely.  It is important to keep in mind that different kids will need different levels of structure.  But by remaining flexible and providing your children with choice you open the opportunity for greater connection and the development of important life skills like time management and responsibility.

Family Dinner & Daily Reflection

Sylvie enjoys cooking creative evening meals for the family. Those who have returning campers should be able to utilize their cooking skills from camp.  Here’s the Summer 2019 Cookbook from Culinary Arts to use as well!  Cooking is a great way to introduce new skills as well as reinforce important math and science topics that many campers are learning.

Another major part of the camp day is daily reflection that occurs during evening meals where we sit by bunk.  Or during our evening Bunk Circles.  We thrive in camp by connecting and reflecting about our camp adventures.  At home general dinner conversation or an evening family gathering are a time to connect and discuss the day.  Here are some topics we’d like to share:

  • Through this experience what are we learning together?
    • Camp is about community living. The skills developed during this time in our lives could hugely benefit campers as they get older and face other challenges, whether at home, at college, or when they are parents too.
  • What did you do to help without being asked?
    • Taking initiative is an important life skill. The ability to think of others and how we might be able to help them is just as necessary.  By recognizing these choices and actions you are supporting the growth of your camper and encouraging similar choices in the future.
  • What was a kind deed you did for someone else today?
    • Ask any returning camper about a RAK Award and they will immediately tell you all about it.  RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Awards are given to campers who are caught being good deeds throughout the camp day.  For example, cleaning up or helping prepare for an activity or meal are great kindness moments.  Also calling or sending a card to someone is a great act of kindness.  What RAK Award winning moments are happening in your home?  Share your family RAK Awards with us on social media- remember to tag @fernwoodcove in your posts!

Certainly it is important to take a moment and reflect about your day and the current experiences we’re all going through.  It is also to keep things in perspective.  Children do not understand all the complexities of COVID-19 or a pandemic.  As we know, much of this is overwhelming to us as adults.  Our response will directly impact our children’s ability to cope today as well as in the future.  For that reason it is important to take a moment to recognize the good in each day and express that gratitude.  We hope that the circumstances we are currently facing are as short as possible.  However, we hope that the slow down in extracurricular activities, work trips, and general over-scheduled lives we are experiencing will help us realize the benefit of truly connecting, supporting our communities, and appreciating the little things.

We Are In This Together

Above all, please know we are in this together as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters.  We are preparing similar emails to help camp families connect with each other and with Fernwood Cove in the coming days and weeks.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.  We thrive in camp and we want you to thrive too.  The Fernwood Cove community is a strong network of individuals around the world.  Additionally, the Fernwood Cove Directors are happy to be a resource for connecting with camp friends and families or to simply be a listening ear.

We are here if you need us,

Beigette and Alicia

(and the rest of our year round team Jim, Caroline, Abby, Noel, and Debbie)