July 10, 2019

Above and Beyond

With 2 weeks under our belts we’re starting to really get in the groove of camp life. Campers are feeling settled, staff are confident in their jobs, and we’re starting to see the next level stuff that only comes from spending this much time at camp (one of the reasons why we have such limited 2 week programming is because it takes that long to put down the supporting roots that are the foundation of challenge and growth). Campers are working on high class awards and putting in countless hours of dedicated practice outside of period time (thanks to committed instructors who get up early and stay late to give them individual coaching).

All over camp counsellors are organizing creative special activities for their cabins. On my walk home from the office at 9:30 tonight I saw a cabin in the middle of the lake returning from a sunset voyageur canoe paddle, a cabin around a campfire roasting marshmallows and making summer bucket lists, and another doing cabin circle on the dock watching the stars come out. It’s also written eval time for the staff, and we’re experimenting with a new format: in each of the core categories of their jobs, staff get a ranking from 1 (doesn’t meet expectations) to 5 (exceeds expectations), and if they receive a 4 or below their supervisor must explain what they would need to do to achieve a 5. Both of these things reminded me that at Arowhon doing the bare minimum isn’t enough. Both campers and staff here go above and beyond. It’s a positive feedback loop: we give clear expectations, hold all members of our community to high standards, and celebrate their achievements (social, emotional , and physical – in that order), and they create a culture where kindness, courage, and ambition are valued.


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