CAMP! provides traditional residential camp programming with a broad range of activities to meet a variety of camper interests and skills. Our program empowers campers to make choices that directly affect their experience. By expanding campers understanding of the impact of their choices, we hope they will be better able to make good choices in their own lives outside of camp to have a positive impact for themselves and communities around them.
The Awesome Workshop and Choice Workshop programs fill most mornings and part of the afternoon. Created and directed by our volunteer staff members, these activities cover a wide range of topics, including offerings through the Nature, Art, and Waterfront programs, as well as topics like bread making, dance, drama, woodworking, and sports. Choice Workshops last 45 minutes, and campers choose 8 over the course of the week. Campers also choose one Awesome Workshop, which is an hour long and meets every day.
The Nature program offers place-based environmental education, creating excitement and respect for the plants and animals surrounding the campers during their week on the beautiful grounds of Farnsworth. Campers are all introduced to the Nature building, where science-based discovery activities are offered throughout the week connecting campers to the local ecology of Vermont. Opportunities including bottle rockets, egg protectors, microscopic lake life, among others encourage campers’ to further explore the world around them through a scientific lens.
The Art program provides campers with a safe place to explore their individual creativity. All campers visit the art building to participate in a core activity where many campers experience the supplies and fundamentals of art for the first time. Craft activities featuring nature and household materials as well as fine arts supplies make arts and crafts accessible to all ages and levels throughout the week and give campers the chance to explore new tools and materials encouraging creative expression in their lives outside of camp.
The Music program fills the air with song each morning after breakfast and each night before bedtime. Many of CAMP!’s volunteers are musicians, so we benefit from their talents as we sing uplifting and empowering songs that the campers can learn and hopefully take home with them. A particular highlight recently was learning the Vermont State Song “These Green Mountains.” Each pod also comes up with a song to sing for everyone at the end of camp, and the pods often sing songs when they meet together.
The Waterfront Swimming program offers campers a daily swim lesson where some enter the water for the first time in their lives. On beautiful Lake Abenaki, campers are grouped by ability level and taught the fundamentals of swimming and water safety by our certified life guards. The morning “polar bear swim,” free swim time and numerous other swim-themed activities are offered throughout the week providing more opportunity to encourage and reinforce safe, active water play.
The Waterfront Boating program promotes a safe, fun active pastime for campers, many of whom have had no exposure to canoeing and other recreational boating. After being initiated with safety instruction, including the proper fitting of life jackets and paddles, campers are able to choose numerous boating activities throughout the week all aimed at providing positive water experiences and instilling further want for outdoor adventures.
The Literacy program is led by the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF). With an introduction to the importance and fun of reading, CLiF gives each camper a few books of their choosing to keep in their tent and take home at the end of the week. CLiF provides a lending library for campers and staff to use during the week, originated our Storytelling Night to help bring reading and books to life, and motivates our campers to continue to read after their week at camp.
The Health program is led by one or more registered nurses along with nursing interns who keep a watchful eye over camp and offer a refuge for campers when they are feeling ill or homesick. They carefully manage the distribution of all necessary medications for campers who come with specific medical needs while keeping all other medications (prescription and non-prescription) for both staff and campers safe and available as needed. They treat minor injuries and can triage any more serious injuries for transport to the doctor’s office or hospital if needed.
The Nutrition program aims to begin and reinforce healthy habits. Providing three balanced meals a day along with between-meal snacks, the carefully constructed menu includes a healthy and delicious variety of foods. Healthy habits including hand washing, hydration, and trying new foods are modeled and reinforced around the family style dining tables.
The Teen Leadership Program (TLP) provides an opportunity for teenagers to build their leadership skills in an environment that is familiar, welcoming and supportive. Team building activities, discussions focused on responsibility and positive role modeling, and opportunities to shadow staff members aim to build teen’s self-confidence and self-awareness while stressing the importance of giving back to the community, both at camp and beyond. This program gives a select group of campers who have aged out of the Pod Programs a chance to come back and develop leadership skills that will assist them in their adult lives, where many return as staff and counselors.