At camp we start each session with each group of campers being placed in “Tribes” (smaller camp groups) of three staff members and typically 6-8 campers. Each group functions as a smaller camp group within the larger Nuhop weekly program. Each tribe creates their own norms for the week and creates their unique tribe name for the week. On the first day of the session we engage the kids in social skills exercises through get to know you games and teambuilding programming. Through this, intentional community is built with the kids and staff, and this becomes a way of interacting with their tribe mates. The first day is such an important day as it spurs on these bonding connections.
Much of Camp Nuhop’s success begins with the intentional design of programming and concludes with guided group reflection and debriefing where appropriate. It is through this cycle of programming and learning that campers open up and begin to build their camaraderie and/or friendships.
Through the Nuhop experience, kids open up about their experiences and realize their experiences may not be that removed from other campers, and maybe just maybe, their experience is more normal than they once thought. It is then that our campers may see themselves or their tribe-mates in a new light. Through “ah ha” moments like these, new found skills and beliefs crystallize becoming something that the campers and staff carry forward when they go home.
The social skills programming often lead to children meeting a friend for the first time. Overwhelmingly this is what parents are most pleased with when they get to camp and see their child walking arm in arm with another child. Many campers plan their next experience so they will be able to see one another again.
By placing children in a safe and nurturing environment, our campers are given the opportunity to be themselves in all of their uncanny spirit and to be supported with all of their nuances. At Nuhop our culture is to provide each child with “unconditional acceptance.”