When kids arrive for the first time, we make them feel extra comfortable and at home. Goofy skits by counselors (Opening Night Show, Cabin Inspection, etc.) give kids ample opportunity to laugh at their role models and take the pressure off themselves.
For some kids, camp is the only place where they only hear nature and the voices of friends. Being alone with our thoughts and not being constantly distracted with external information is a critical life skill. Undistracted time in nature leads to realizing our meaning and purpose.
We give campers the opportunity to try lots of new things (activities). Camp is unique in where you get a large sample of new experiences in a short amount of time.
Every child must face and conquer homesickness in order to thrive. Our counselors create a safe place of empathy and encouragement that makes camp the perfect setting to conquer this life milestone.
In the words of Brene Brown, “True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.” By the weekend, campers’ sense of belonging runs deeps in part because they have a high level of self-acceptance. They can be themselves. This is modeled as kids are initiated with open arms onto their Tribal Competition Team. On Friday, they compete for the first time with their new family tribe.
The weekend at Huawni is purposely unhurried. Campers begin to treasure more and more laughter and conversations with friends and throwback traditions like Sing Song beneath the star-filled sky.
Every few nights, campers gather ’round to hear short stories that uncover the hidden truths in life, namely related to the questions “Who am I? Why am I here?”. These Pow Wows also give counselors dedicated moments to listen to and care for each camper.
Through competition we teach kids grit – courage and resolve; strength of character. Winning and losing, not giving up, and putting others above yourself are paramount to all day Tribal Competition and the Huawni Triathlon.
Through end-of-session ceremonies like Summer Tree and Huawni Initiation, we pause to remind kids that no matter what, they are loved.
Every child is a one-of-a-kind treasure, and on Closing Day they’ll take home a Fields of Gold Booklet specially crafted by their counselors reminding them of who they are. Years 2-4 Consistency & Growth. Years 5-7 2nd Home. Years 8+ Significance & Purpose. As campers get older, they join our Running Deer Program (10th + 11th graders), giving them extra experiences and diving deeper into what true significance and purpose looks like lived out.