As human beings we all need and seek a sense of belonging. That sense of belonging is what connects us to the relationships we develop. If we look at the word Community, and break it into its root and suffix (common – unity) it becomes even more clear!
Most people want to be a part of a community because there is something lovely and intangible about being a part of a group who share something more substantial than a geographic location. Forming connections with people based on common experiences really drives that connection – that feeling of belonging and of feeling safe.
I have a theory that the longer we invest in developing these connections, the healthier we are mentally and emotionally. Full transparency – I haven’t read any scientific papers to prove this theory; I’m basing this on what I have seen over the years I have been involved in summer camp, and my own personal experiences. If you look back on your life, and times where you were more or less invested in creating your community, would you agree with this theory?
Adventure Valley Day Camp has always promoted that community is one of our core values. In creating community we take intentional steps with our staff and campers over the summer to build those shared experiences and solidify their sense of belonging at camp. As I shared above, campers who are invested in camp for multiple consecutive weeks will have the opportunity to heighten their sense of community and belonging. We encourage campers to stay at camp for longer periods of time for this very reason. It is also why we spend hours working on staff placements each week, with the goal of keeping staff and campers together in one group for as much of their summer as possible. These connections are also what drives our community at camp!
Camp goes beyond the summer though… at least, this is what we believe at Adventure Valley! Bringing our camp families together outside of camp, and hosting special events that remind us that we are a community, are very important to us. We look forward to each and every shared experience that brings us closer together.
And, my theory goes for all programs! When registering for a group program consider allowing your child the opportunity to really bond and have more shared experiences, by committing to a longer session. The investment will provide them with that most amazing, even if intangible, sense of belonging and community.