Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Camp Time

"Transitions is a 100 percent child-driven program with a different take on life skills and learning. At the beginning of each session each camper is given $5 and two sets of bus tickets. Most kids have never had cash or bus tickets and are really excited about the cold, hard cash."
"If, against the counsellor's advice the camper blows the $5, there is a quick lesson in consequences. They are unable to contribute to group decisions and the fun is gone."
"Our counsellors are trained to look for campers' interests and ideas on how to use the money. In turn, the campers learn the responsibility of money and how to make decisions around it."
Deborah Thompson, Children's Village of Ottawa-Carleton summer program
Nickolas, Suzie, Mutombo, Adnan, Ryan, Suzanne, Mubohe and Samuel are some of the campers involved with the Transitions camps. Ottawa Citizen

It's certainly a different kind of camp for children. There are fourteen locations throughout the city. Some of them set up for the summer using summer-empty schools, taking place as well in community centres and all manner of community buildings. While children attending the camps are given opportunities to have the kind of summer-camp experiences that traditionally form part of summer fun for children like swimming and playing sports in city parks, this really is a different type of exposure for most children.

The camps are offered free to children from low-income and social-assistance families. Children whose parents are able to afford the two-week sessions at $290 may also attend these camps. They operate until late August and are meant to accommodate children in two age groups; between five and seven, and between eight and 12 years of age. The Transitions camps have been in operation for about 150 years, offering innovative childcare services.

The children vote on activities and the majority votes win the day. The rules are set by the counsellors and campers are instructed to listen to others, and to behave respectfully. The children become accustomed to planning around ideas and the importance of communicating. And how to plan and share experiences.

"We're very happy to have Transitions here and so are the kids. You can actually see the kids developing self-confidence along with healthy relationships with other campers. The program is teaching them decision-making, planning, organizing and money-management", explained David Walsh, executive director of the Caldwell Family Centre, one of the 14 community centres where the camps exist.

There was a time when enterprising young children set up lemonade stands on their own initiative or with a little bit of nudging and instruction, counting on a minimum of parental supervision. Children learning at a young age the satisfactions inherent in entrepreneurship. And earning money for the very first time, of their very own. Learning how empowering a sense of independence can be.

The same kind of idea is at work here, only it is consummated at a group level. The children decide on some type of enterprise to embark upon as a group; they plan the details, assemble the required items, and then undertake to become temporary salespeople. A one-day breakfast cafe as an example, with the group pooling their $5 camp allowance to purchase eggs, toast and pancake mix, develop menus, advertise the cafe and set up in the community centre's kitchen.

They charged a reasonable $3 for each breakfast served and ended up with a net profit of $300 out of their week of action. With another camp, the children pooled their money to buy beads and accent pieces at a craft store to enable them to make bracelets, necklaces and headbands. They set up stands at a local mall in the community and realized a profit after sales of $250.

On another occasion three groups of eight to 12-year-olds pooled the proceeds they realized in the operation of three Ottawa sites where they held car washes and bake sales. The pooled proceeds enabled them to rent a double-decker bus to be taken on a tour of their very own, all over the city. Their sight-seeing tour included a picnic at a city park.

That's initiative and enterprise and experience that will translate into prospects for future entrepreneurs.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet