With school back in session and summer dwindling down, it means kids are back from their summer camps.
I spent many summers as a camper and a camp counsellor. Those long hot summer days, playing by the water and singing silly camp cheers all day long. Ask most young men and women who spent years at camp, and they'll tell you all about their cherished memories.
Some of my closest friends were ones I made at camp. When we get together, we still reminisce about the day we played a prank on the kids. The time we dressed up as famous characters as a part of a live game of Clue. Or the crazy things the kids did, like eat earthworms.
We always said that camp was different.
It was special.
That there was magic in the air.
We referred to it as "Camp Magic."
But why is this the case?
Well, the rules at camp are different. The societal expectations to behave a certain way is thrown out the window. No need to worry about standing out when you're dressed up as a cheetah running away from campers in a wild game of Animal Safari. You learn to thrive in competition when you paint your entire body and lose your voice as you cheer on your team in the Olympic Games.
Camp Magic allows both the adults and children to be kids. To let their imagination run free and capture the essence of play in innocent games.
The bonds formed between counsellors and their campers created comfort and safety. Everyone took care of each other, a sort of large extended family. They were your family for the 11 days together at camp. You didn't get to choose them, and nor did you always like them, but you still took care of them.
What can we learn from Camp Magic to our classrooms?
Change up the rules and expectations.
Let creativity thrive, and imaginations flourish.
Create internal fun competition.
Our staff must feel comfortable and safe.
We don't always choose our teams, but we take care of them.