The program that is carried on in the organized camp has many facets, all of them designed to help young people develop into healthy, happy individuals. Because the setting of a camp is in the out-of-doors, the major activities are those related to living in the out-of-doors, learning to know, to enjoy, and to appreciate the natural surroundings and to make use of the resources to be found there. The activities include learning to live happily with other people, learning skills that make living out-of-doors simple and fun, such as fire building and cooking or lashing and tent pitching, or activities that make use of the out-of-doors, such as hiking, swimming, boating, and campfires. In many of these activities there are opportunities to employ arts and crafts media for enjoyment, appreciation, and usefulness. Because arts and crafts can play such an important part in the organized camp program, this book has been written to help the tent, cabin, or small group counselor as well as the specialist in arts and crafts to relate these media and techniques to the program of living in the out-of-doors.
The Camp Program Book* presents the picture of camp programming in organized camps in its entirety. Reynold Carlson, past president of the American Camping Association, says in his Introduction to that book: "The term 'program' includes everything the camper does in camp, planned and unplanned. The program is not an end in itself but a means whereby the camper develops those personal qualities, attitudes, skills, and interests that are the primary values of camp life. Through the program the counselor and the camper-we hope co-operatively and democratically-work out their camp projects."
The Camp Program Book presents three sections of activities that may be part of the camp program-. Living in the Out-of-Doors, Related Program Activities, and Composite Programs. Prefacing these is a section on Planning for the Camp Program, directed to the administrators who, by their pre-camp planning of site, staff, equipment, materials, and emphases, make possible specific planning by counselors and campers during the camping season.
One chapter of The Camp Program Book deals directly with Arts and Crafts in the camp program, and many of the chapters outline possibilities in creative handwork linked with nature, waterfront, music, dramatics, and other activities. Any of the chapters of that book might be enlarged to an entire volume, and this book has been written to do just that for handcraft activities in camps, because handcraft in all its phases can be such an important tool in meeting camping objectives.
General discussion of planning for camp program will not be repeated in this volume; rather this will supplement the first publication, except for a brief review of objectives, features, and factors in camp programming.
Camping is a general term used to describe living places for armies, gypsy bands, tourists, and many other groups. Camping, or organized camping, is also the term used by organizations, churches, schools, individuals, and similar groups for the vacation-time programs carried on in the out-of-doors by youth leaders and groups of young people. This is the meaning of the term as interpreted in this volume. Within this definition of organized camps there is great diversity, for some camps are organized for an eight to ten week period of the summer, some for week-end and vacation periods during the year, some for daytime periods only, and some on an itinerant basis with no definite campsite for the traveling trip camp. Camps are operated for boys and girls of all ages, for family groups, for young adults, and also for "oldsters." In "Camping, What Is It?* the American Camping Association defines organized camping as a "recreational experience in the out-of-doors which provides special opportunity for education and for social adjustment through group living. . . . The primary focus is on the camper and the utilization of all the facilities of camp, both personal and physical, for the pleasure, growth, and welfare of the camper in terms of his needs and interests."
* Catherine T. Hammett and Virginia Musselman, The Camp Program Book (New York: Association Press, 1951).
Objectives for specific camps are expressed for each camp, but, in general, most camps have some such aims as these:
Development of the camper as an individual, and as a member of his own small living group and of the wider camp community.
Development of appreciation and enjoyment of the out-of-doors, with a growing sense of responsibility for the wise use of natural resources for that enjoyment.
Growth in initiative, resourcefulness, and self-reliance. Gain in total health.
Fun and adventure, especially that which cannot be enjoyed in town, or at other times of the year.
*For further information on books mentioned throughout this volume, see Books to Help at end of each chapter.
Camps present a unique part in the total education of young people. The influences of the home, school, church, and year-round affiliations are supplemented by a camping experience. Because camp is different, the experience adds something unique to the growth of the individual camper. How is it different?
The setting is different because camps are established in the out-of-doors.
The activities are different because of the possibilities offered by this setting.
The group experience is different, for campers live in a camper-community with opportunities to govern themselves, to plan and act by themselves, under the guidance of leaders, in small living groups or in the wider camp community.
More time for guidance of individuals is available because of the closeness of the living of groups and leaders; there is more time for growth in physical skills, for the planning and carrying out of activities, for the practice of democracy.
The camp is isolated from other influences; the camper is away from home and on his own in his own peer group for twenty-four hours of the day, week in and week out. There is isolation from the hustle and bustle of city life and the year-round school and home situation.
The leader-camper relationship is very close in this living situation; leaders in camp are guides in an informal situation, free from curriculum and pressures of the town situation. In general, camp leaders enjoy being out-of-doors themselves, and set a happy, healthy example of good fun and living.
There is a readiness on the part of the campers for camp life, for it is fun, it is different-full of adventures found in the out-of-doors, with experts to guide and companions with whom to share. It is vacation time, and therefore a time for enjoyment, new learnings, new experiences.
(See The Camp Program Book for elaboration of these factors.)