Camp programs in specific camps are determined by certain factors that limit or extend the programming, such as: aims, objectives, and emphases of the camp and of the sponsoring organization, if there is one camper group staff camping place facilities, equipment, and materials for use of campers climate, weather season of the camping experience length of the camping period budget of the camp
(See The Camp Program Book for elaboration of these factors.)
Planning for the type of program that will evolve in a camp is the responsibility of the director, the camp committee, and some of the staff before the camp begins. The factors listed above are part of that planning. The camp that has equipment, facilities, and materials on hand for camper-counselor planning, and a leadership that is willing to let the campers make their specific plans, based on the program possibilities, will most nearly achieve the objectives listed earlier in this chapter. Planning of the day-by-day, week-by-week program is accomplished by the campers and the staff together, and through good planning, discussion, stimulation, and guidance, each camper develops his own camping fun, sometimes as an individual, often as a member of a group.
What, then, are the best types of activity for a camp program? Those, of course, that contribute to the development of the camper and that carry out the objectives of the camp. If objectives similar to those listed are used as a guide, some such criteria as these will be used to determine what activities are good for camp program, and which may better be left for in-town, year-round programs:
Does the activity develop enjoyment and appreciation of the out-of-doors?
Does the activity grow from the outdoor living situation, or contribute to it?
Does the activity aid in the development of the camper as an individual and as a member of a group?
Does the activity develop self-reliance, resourcefulness, initiative?
Is there an element of fun and adventure in it? Is there opportunity for self-expression, self-determination?
Basically, it will be seen that there are two major elements in an organized camping experience-people and the out-of-doors. Both of these elements are present in a good camping activity.
Innumerable opportunities will be found for campers to use their hands and their heads to create projects in camps. In almost every camp activity area there are needs for equipment, chances to use materials at hand, opportunities for individual expression. Often arts and crafts are so correlated with nature or the waterfront or campcraft skills that it is impossible to separate the activities, if indeed there is a desire to do so. Arts and crafts present good activity possibilities in themselves, also, and many fields of arts and crafts will meet the criteria suggested above.
Just as there are 'good" camp activities, there are "good" arts and crafts activities. The objectives of any arts and crafts program in school, in hobby class, or in camp will be the same, and standards of performance will be the same in any craft situation. When the activity is carried out as part of the camp program, those objectives and standards of arts and crafts that specifically aid in the achievement of camping aims and emphases will help determine the suitable projects to be offered.
Arts and crafts should help an individual to explore and experiment with media and techniques, should present opportunities for creativity and for individual expression. Such criteria as these will measure the worth of an arts and crafts project:
There should be opportunity for the individual to get acquainted with craft media and techniques, and to explore and experiment with these.
These media should be in the accepted fields of arts and crafts.
There should be development of respect for tools and materials, and experience in care and use of them.
There should be development of honest work habits.
There should be opportunities to solve problems by one's own efforts.
There should be development of appreciation of beauty, of materials, of craftsmanship, and of artistry.
In addition, for camp activities, arts and crafts should:
Develop appreciation and enjoyment of the out-of-doors. Make use of designs from nature, and/or materials found in nature-used with good conservation practices. Extend basic camping skills. Develop objects for use in camp living.
From the camper's point of view, the satisfactions of "making something," of expressing himself in some familiar or new media, and of increasing his ability and his appreciation will spell the success of the projects undertaken. From the leader's point of view, this is not enough, for it is not the object or the project that is most important, but what happens to the camper in the making or the experiencing of the activity. Opportunities to awaken interest, to challenge, to guide, to suggest, to encourage, to stimulate exploration of materials, individual expression and work, and enjoyment and appreciation-these are the goal of the arts and crafts leader in camp.
Competition that selects the "best" or the "most" has little place in a creative arts and crafts program. Progress is to be measured in relation to the individual camper's development and expression, rather than by adult standards of skill and performance. For each camper there is a starting point of his own, and counselors must recognize and honor that starting point.