Wow, I wish I had found this article prior to starting my summer camp. Published at the beginning of the pandemic in March, this article highlights the importance of routines as well as offers some innovative ideas on keeping kids actively exploring and learning at home (sounds familiar?). In many ways, the purpose of this article is similar to the motivation behind my virtual summer camp. As hard as it is for adults to keep active and maintain our hobbies during these times, it is no doubt much more difficult for kids who can no longer see their friends or do their favorite things. In the last couple weeks, I have discovered for myself many of the “strategies” offered in this article and implemented them into my camp. For example, through the Kahoots and simulations my campers are learning that working together to achieve a goal is just as important and fulfilling as winning.
One key point that the article does not discuss is making sure that children understand the reason why their lives have changed. This is something I dedicated the entire first week of my camp to. During that week I realized that most kids possess a much deeper understanding of the world than we often give them credit for. In our discussions about the coronavirus, my campers shared about noticing how tired and unenergetic their parents were. The mood was somber when we talked about the government shutdown because my audience understood the severity of what was happening. Too often, we assume that kids are clueless individuals that must be constantly told what to do. However, I believe that giving my campers time to process and understand what is happening in their world will instill purpose in how they chose to spend their time as well as allow independence for their thoughts and actions.