Participation in a combination of the following four programs, provide the foundation of Camp Towhee’s therapeutic approach:
The Adventure Based Learning (aka – Excel) provides campers with opportunities to participate in activities that challenge and encourage them to stretch beyond their perceived or self imposed limitations, discover untapped resources and strengths, and explore problems or challenges rather than become overwhelmed or incapacitated by them. Through participation in a gradual progression of activities that require cooperation and positive interaction, to unique and challenging problem solving activities requiring mutual trust and effective communication, a supportive atmosphere is created to help campers to take safe risks that are social, emotional, and physical in nature. The peak experience for many campers in the Adventure Based Learning program involves the use of a High Challenge Ropes Course and Climbing Wall. These activities, which involve elements that are up to 40 feet off the ground, are supervised and operated by a highly skilled and trained Adventure Program Supervisor assisted by trained and experienced Adventure Program Leaders, who follow stringent safety procedures and guidelines. In all Adventure Based Learning activities “Challenge By Choice” allows the participant to choose his/her own level of participation, and no one is ever forced to do more than he/she is comfortable with and ready for. Every Adventure Program activity allows for different levels of participation, and therefore, if a camper chooses not to actually “climb” or do a high ropes course element the role of support person that they will play for other campers is just as rewarding and beneficial. Processing the campers’ experiences in meaningful ways allows for the transfer of learning and outcomes back to the home, school, and community environments.
The Outtripping and Outdoor Living Skills program is designed to develop self-confidence and self-reliance by giving campers opportunities to learn skills that allow them to enjoy outdoor camping experiences. Campers work with their cabin mates to learn and practice outdoor skills, and make all the necessary preparations for canoeing/camping trips in beautiful wilderness settings. They will gain an awareness of and respect for their natural environment, and develop confidence in their ability to work with others, and contribute positively to a powerful and meaningful group experience. All trips are accompanied by a trained and qualified trip leader who possesses a minimum of Bronze Medallion, Standard First Aid and CPR, and extensive canoeing and tripping experience.
The Waterfront Program at Camp Towhee provides fun and recreational swimming programs, and allows each camper to work toward their desired level of comfort in the water. The program is adapted to the campers’ individual needs and abilities, and provides a safe, supportive environment, in order to build confidence and self-esteem as campers develop new skills. The Waterfront Program is supervised by a highly qualified team of staff, all possessing a NLS (National Lifeguarding Society) certification. The program leaders and supervisor work to ensure a safe and supportive environment where campers are able to participate and have fun in a variety of ways both on the beach and in the lake. Through engaging and challenging activities, campers are able to experience positive social interactions and build self-confidence while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Hurricane Lake.
The Experiential Arts Program is divided into two streams, both of which are often facilitated by creative arts therapy students, arts educators, artists and musicians. The two streams are music and fine art, with a drama component present in both. The focus of the experiential arts activities is on process and exploration rather than the final product.
In the music stream, fun non-performance based activities, where campers are exposed to percussion, guitar and piano are included in the one hour sessions. Individual and group goals are established, with the group leader and the participant, at the beginning of the camp session. Campers have the opportunity to contribute ideas that reflect their own interests in order to get the most out of the program. Some past examples of programming include songwriting, radio interviews, drum circles, drawing/meditation to music, lip synchs and musical/dance performances. Campers also have the opportunity to learn or work on musical skills (guitar, piano, bass, percussion) if they desire.
In the fine art stream campers are introduced to an array of materials such as clay, paper mache, wood and plaster, as well as paints, oil pastels and pencil crayons. Campers are encouraged to explore all of the materials and participate in leader-directed, as well as individual-directed, projects. Again, a focus is placed on the process of creation rather than outcome. Encouragement to explore and utilize the natural resources of the camp environment and the creation of traditional “camp crafts” such as beading, candle making and woodworking also takes place in this program area.
Although drama is not a formal program stream, we know that “camp” is not “camp” without improvisation, energetic dramatic games and skits. Many campers take on a leadership role in creating and participating in plays and performances throughout the camp session. As well, for the campers who love to role play but not perform, improvisation and drama clubs are offered!
In addition to the five program areas described above, campers will also have opportunities to participate in cabin group activities with their cabin counsellors, special camp-wide evening programs and theme days, special interest clubs such as the “Towhee Tribune” newsletter, and day trips away from camp with their cabin group. These activities enhance the campers’ overall camp experience, by providing variety and breaks from the daily routine, creating a fun and enriching camp atmosphere, and developing a strong “camp spirit”.