One of the most basic reasons to love summer camp is the (nearly) nonstop fun! When the week is jam packed with games, canoeing, swimming, and rock climbing it’s easy for campers to not notice all the learning they’re doing. During these first three weeks of camp, I’ve been reminded again and again how much of a learning experience this is, not only for the campers, but for the counselors, other staff and myself.
One of my favorite groups to work with at Wolf Ridge is the Get Ready program. Get Ready is a Twin Cities based program that works on early college awareness to provide students that are underrepresented in college with tools and experiences to help motivate and prepare them to pursue postsecondary education. Of course, Wolf Ridge plays only a small part in the larger picture of this program, but we get to play a really fun part! The last two weeks have both been Get Ready students. Part of what makes Get Ready groups so fun is that it is a really great mix of kids who have never been to Wolf Ridge who are getting to experience so many amazing outdoors experiences for the first time (canoeing, adventure ropes course, orienteering, etc.) and the kids who have been coming to Wolf Ridge with Get Ready for years and are so enthusiastic about the camp that they keep returning. The kids get so many experiential learning opportunities as they are having fun running all over Wolf Ridge’s campus. They have opportunities to learn about the cultural history of the North Shore through Voyageur Life class, experience with animals through Small Mammals and the raptor program, along with the numerous opportunities for team building through games, classes, and overnight camping trips.
In my role as Director of Programming, Get Ready has been a forgiving group as I make mistakes and learn how to do my job most effectively. One of the big highlights of my week is the Color Wars. The Color Wars is an ongoing competition, but Friday afternoon is the culminating event where all the teams participate in 8-10 different games. Each week, I’ve been working to refine the games, how the games are organized and how to make them the most fun and fair. However, the first few weeks have had a few bumps in the road, unsurprisingly. The first week we ended an hour early (I improvised and started a game of the ever popular Capture the Flag). The second week, I spread the activities out and had teams do them individually instead of as a giant group, which solved the time issue, but took away some of the competitive spirit. However, the most important thing is that I think everyone was still having fun, and that I’ve learned tremendously in the past few weeks how to create the best experience possible for everyone involved in camp. Get Ready has been generous towards me and my learning and growth, and for that I am appreciative.