Our Approach to Social and Personal Growth:At camp we provide a fun social learning environment that fosters personal growth through a wide variety of activities and guidance from specially-trained staff. Each day begins with a unit game that highlights the core strategy of the day, such as looking through another’s eyes or trying new things. Campers then enjoy a day filled with classic summer camp activities, canoeing, hiking, arts and crafts, comic strip creations and other fun activities, with our social strategies seamlessly woven throughout.
Helping children with social challenges
A common approach to helping children with social challenges is to teach rote social skills: how to introduce themselves, say goodbye, or look people in the eye. The limitation of this approach is that when used in isolation, it does not help children think about others and themselves. In more technical terms, social skills are not the same as social cognition. The child who meets a new peer, politely offers a handshake in rote fashion, but then only talks at length about his or her special interest has displayed a social skill, but does not make a social connection with the other child. Social cognition develops through repeated experiences, guided by a role model who helps develop and reinforce core strategies that can be used across settings and for a lifetime. At Camp Alsing, we take the time to work with campers so they understand and practice strategies, thereby gaining confidence and friends in the process.
Offering opportunities with appropriate support
Each activity at camp is intentionally designed to offer opportunities for connections with others and to safely extend campers’ comfort zones. As an example, when campers experience the thrill of swimming in a Maine lake for the first time, some may be hesitant about the unknown. With the help of their counselor, success can be recognized as the steps they take in trying something new, and not necessarily getting it right on the first try. Later, during a quiet period, there is the chance to reflect with the staff and put the day’s events in perspective. In this way, campers have tremendous fun, try new things and enjoy positive peer relationships, all within a supportive framework that fosters their growth. At Camp Alsing we learn by doing.
A lasting effect
One of the keystones and goals of Camp Alsing’s program is giving your child new skills that they can use away from camp and to return home filled with memories and friendships that they find nowhere else. Because of the time we take to know each camper, we are better able to guide and teach them according to who they are. Camp Alsing is a treasured community that campers return to each year and provides a source of confidence, strength and skills.
Communication throughout the camp experience
During camp you will receive weekly email updates providing information on your child’s accomplishments, challenges and growth. After camp, you will receive a report describing your child’s camp experience, highlighting strategies and offering suggestions for continued skill development at home. Our camp director, Emily, will also schedule a call to discuss the final report in more detail.