Even before a camper arrives at a traditional day camp, their schedule is already established. A traditional program may consist of sports first, then arts & crafts, swimming, archery, tennis and finally a nature hike to end the day. What if your child does not enjoy sports? What if your child is very artistic and creative? What if your child likes both? These are typical dilemmas that can challenge most summer programs which is why it can be difficult for many parents to match their children with an appropriate camp environment.
Our philosophy is that the camper should not have to match the camp, but that the camp should accomodate the camper. The MLDC has a unique system that actually gives campers the power to choose their activities and progressively build upon their achievements. Campers in grades 1 – 5 (Junior Discovery) participate in a core group of activities each session. These activities are designed to increase their global awareness, teach fundamentals that encourage teambuilding & cooperation in a non-competitive environment and foster self-confidence through achievement and individual success. In a camp group, campers may choose the remainder of their activities which account for 11 one-hour activity blocks. This method of choice promotes group decision making skills, commitment to that choice, and self-expression of a choice. Further, it prepares these campers for having the background and experience to make daily, individual decisions when they are old enough for the Teen Exploration program.
Our Teen Exploration program allows campers to customize their camp experience within the guidelines of our progressionary curriculum. Campers in grades 6 – 10 may choose four activities each day over the course of the session which allows them to program their own calendar for 16 activity blocks. To ensure diversity, campers must choose at least five different activity areas throughout the week. This method of programming encourages teens to be confident in the decisions they are making to best meet their perceived needs, as well as develop a new camp experience each day and each week. It also allows campers to express their own interests if they are fine tuning their skills in the arts, or trying to get that edge on becoming a faster athlete.
Because our curriculum is based on progressions, campers will not be able to choose an activity that they are not prepared for. For example, if a child does not know how to swim, they may not be able to choose the boating option until they have demonstrated competencies for swimming. However, our staff works with each camper to achieve individual goals and assist in the decision making process so that the camper will be able to choose the boating option when s/he is ready. Our camp philosophy allows campers to make educated decisions and have opportunities they may not have in other camp programs all the while participating in activities they may have never considered.
Some camps will offer a few periods of electives as a solution, however the bulk of a camper’s experience will be with the core program. Other camps that have attempted to mimic our choice system typically do not have the same scope, duration or availability of activities. Most importantly, it is the systematic integration of progressions that makes our choice curriculum uniquely effective. Something that is exclusive to The MLDC.
As a result of our system, The MLDC is never the same camp twice…unless a camper would like it to be.