The Magic of Experiential Education at Camps

When you think back on all of your childhood memories, do any of them involve you at camp? Maybe you were a helpful and mature teen counselor or simply an adventurous kid who loved the outdoors. Either way, it was those experiences that taught you valuable life lessons and allowed you to form new relationships with others. Camps have long been areas in which children can develop connections, participate in team building exercises, be exposed to the natural world and interact with caring adults in a healthy and accepting environment. A primary focal point of camps is its integration of experiential education but what does that mean?

Well, in a nutshell, experiential education is when “educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities” (“What Is Experiential Education?” Association for Experiential Education, www.aee.org/what-is-ee). It’s all about the educator, who in this case is a camp counselor, directly engaging with the student or individual through exercises that allow real-time decisions to be made. Think hands-on learning with an immediate application of knowledge.

What can experiential education help with?

A variety of things, it all depends on the subject being covered! With regards to camps or recreational environments, this type of teaching style may help individuals to better bond with one another or conquer their fears through activities such as those that promote team building. These sorts of exercises help create impactful human connections and a sense of community in a supervised setting. The hands-on act of learning and working through problems with guided assistance is what allows kids and teens to leave their camp experience feeling enriched in a new way.

How do RCI adventure products come into play?

With RCI attractions, camps are able to provide the experiential benefits indoors or outdoors to those visiting while still maintaining throughput and profitability. For instance, teachable moments can occur within Amaze’n Mazes™ as campers work together to plan and find the way out in the fastest time or individuals can help one another gain courage when it comes to overcoming a fear of heights on a Sky Trail®. Whether it is a maze, Sky Trail® or even Clip ‘n Climb® climbing walls, RCI attractions allow campers to open themselves up to new experiences, engage in a healthy activity and stimulate both the mind and body. In an increasingly digital world, it is important for developing minds to still have the opportunity to physically interact with one another. Camps are able to provide that experience and further enhance their offerings with the unique addition of RCI adventure products. Campers and counselors alike will be able to participate in a safe manner and make memories for years to come!

 

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