How Camper Choice changed Summer Camp for the Better

Last summer, we made a change to our summer camp schedule based on feedback from campers, their families and our fabulous staff team. Campers were looking for more opportunities to try as many camp activities as possible and we listened! Camper choice was a huge hit last summer so we are excited to see its permanent spot on the schedule moving forward.


What is Camper Choice?


Camper Choice is a period at summer camp right before lunch each day. Campers choose an activity to try right then and there from a list of choices. They do the activity once and then can sign up for it again the next day or try something completely new. There’s a different offering for junior and senior campers to ensure there is a wide variety of age appropriate activities. Campers can see the day’s options at breakfast and then come to sign ups ready with an idea of what they want to do in mind. Once they have signed up, they are whisked off to get stuck in and have fun at their activity. Campers could try mountain biking, crafts, archery or the climbing wall among so many others including some silly, creative ones that you could only find at Camp Mason! 


Camper choice high ropes activity


Choice matters


A lot of the time children and young people follow along with adult choices and plans, it’s the society we all live in. When we can make it happen it’s important for kids to have some say in their own schedules and about how they spend their time. At camp, we build in three periods a day where campers can decide what to do themselves. Camper choice is in the morning and there are two activity periods after lunch. Choices like this give kids the chance to try new things, learn what they do and don’t like, make mistakes and feel accomplished too, especially when things go to plan! 


Learning to make choices and weigh up the options is a life skill that kids need as they develop into adults. Choices at camp give kids space to learn this skill in a safe environment with fairly low stakes! The worst scenario is that archery is full that day and they’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get to the range. And in the meantime, there’s the garden, mid ropes or candle making to try instead!  



Guiding campers to make decisions


We know that decision making is tough.


Should I pick the activity you really want? Or should I go with my friend and try their first pick? What if I need a second choice? Will I like it? Can I make it up the climbing tower? What if I can’t? Am I scared of heights? Does that matter?….


The questions keep on coming and our brains can go into overdrive. There are social elements at play and a lot to consider! So we make sure campers know the options ahead of time, get fair chances to choose their activities first and support them as they make their decisions. If somebody looks lost or needs extra help, the counselors are there to help. When someone is having a tough day and needs a boost, we might help them get to an activity they like or with in one with a staff member they relate to. All of these things are happening as campers sign up for a fun activity at camp. 



Camper Choice is fun


At the end of the day, this is what camp is all about – having fun outdoors as a part of a safe, welcoming community. Being able to do an activity each morning, simply for fun is a good thing! Life is busy and hectic, and full of pressures. Kids love to get stuck into fire building, go on a nature hike or play soccer for an hour before lunch with no big end goal. They don’t need to master a skill or get to the top of the climbing tower during Camper Choice, so long as they are having fun and trying their best. That’s what Camper Choice gives campers – time to have fun doing something awesome!


Read this post about Free Time and learn more about our camp day. Each part of the day is intentional and well planned to be fun and help kids learn and grow throughout. Then make sure you’ve saved you spot for the summer, it’s shaping up to be an incredible one! Register here.