We love watching our campers grow up.
Many first join us after Kindergarten and end up going all the way through our high school leadership program. For Susie Ma’am and myself, it is like having bonus children we get to watch grow and move into the world.
A fellow camp director likes to say that running a camp puts you in the position to truly know and love people. As a result, we have been to school plays, sporting events, and (more and more often) weddings of former campers and counselors. We even have about 10 children of former campers/counselors who are attending camp this summer.
[Note: if you are wondering if that has the effect of making your humble narrator feel a little old – it kinda does. But in a good way.]
One of the places that we have become especially involved has been the college application process. The vast majority of campers who graduate from the Senior Camper program will use their Mission Statement as the basis of their major essay for the Common Application. Susie Ma’am and I write dozens of letters of recommendation for college.
And, occasionally, we even help with standardized testing.
Every summer for the past 6 years, we have had at least one camper take the SAT or ACT in Marble Falls rather than at home. We allow them to sleep in guest rooms in our home and then Susie Ma’am drives them to the local high school.
Here is my favorite stat. Every camper (without exception) who has taken a standardized test here and elsewhere has scored higher in Marble Falls. That is over 10 test-takers. This might sound odd, but it actually makes sense if you are familiar with the research on brain function and stress. The best way to enhance performance on any test is to minimize stress and maximize happiness/laughter prior to the exam. Most stress reduces mental capacity, especially if a person is in “fight or flight” mode. Camp has a lot of smiles and laughs. Also, it is almost uniquely non-academic, so there is none of the “oh my gosh, I have a test tomorrow” vibe. The test just sneaks up on them while they are still in ‘camp mode’. As a result, they are more relaxed and have more of their mental capacity available to them.
Camp as test-prep? Who knew?
Before I go, I want to explain the photo at the start of this blog. This young man is certainly not sitting for an exam tomorrow, but he did make a piece in ceramics.
“I love you bro.”
He made this for his newborn brother who turns 3 weeks today!
Maybe we will be at his wedding someday.