Kid’s Camp

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June 17, 2019
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August 23, 2019

The Kids Camp of Callawassie Island – Warmth from Within

It has a life of its own; you can feel it. When Kids Camp is in session, you sense a kind of kaleidoscope of enjoyment. Active children, attentive teen counselors, engaged adult volunteers, and organizers – they radiate several kinds of satisfaction, fulfillment, and yes, joy. Even a visitor can pick up the vibe. Not a single soul seems to be doing what they have to do, but rather what they want to do, and often what they love. If you could see this feeling, it might look like a surrounding, billowy cloud, or maybe a rainbow arching overhead.

This rare and widespread feeling began about 20 years ago, and it started from within. A few Callawassie Island residents saw the opportunity to get their arms around the sporadic joy of welcoming their grandchildren to our Island. Playing host to Paradise was too good to leave just to the occasional holiday or school-vacation visit. In addition, they wanted their children and grandchildren to experience the warmth of Callawassie Island from the viewpoint of residents and members, people who know it well.

To say they wanted to “teach” their children and grandchildren what residents know about enjoying Callawassie Island would sound too much like work. Let’s just say they sought a way to share the warmth in greater detail and to leave within the kids a memory they would make an effort to come back to.

So Kids Camp began like that, from within, from initiative, from the desire to create a legacy of feelings that might magnetize the kids to our Island home, but which would, in any case, live on within them as family memories for a lifetime.


Learning Grows

Just as the kids might learn golf or tennis, kayaking, fishing, arts & crafts, or an appreciation of horticulture from Kids Camp, so too the Callawassie Island volunteers consciously look to learn from the experiences of the year’s Camp. They make a concerted effort to keep improving on success. There is a relatively formal – or at least conscious and concerted – post-analysis soon after the conclusion of each year’s Kid’s Camp.

As an example, this year’s Camp was composed along five age-groups rather than the four that structured the participation in years past. This was the result of observing that six and seven-year-olds had sufficiently different levels of interest and ability to make then separate groups for proceeding through the offerings of Kids Camp. Currently, the Kids Campers are grouped this way: 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 8 – 9, 10 – 11, and 12+. It’s long been part of the Kids Camp story that happy campers late in their teens often come back as counselors, sharing their enjoyment through the years.

The established Kids Camp custom of having at least one off-island excursion stems from these post-analyses, too. This year Campers went to Honey Horn for a session on the skills and heritage of sweetgrass basket-making. (Certainly a quieter return trip than last year’s excursion to the kazoo factory in Beaufort.) Visiting presentations bring passionate experts to Camp to share the interest they’ve found in Nature, or crafts, or heritage. This year Campers learned about raptors – birds of prey – like the Island’s owls, hawks, and occasional eagles.

Often a topic is extended into more than one avenue for enjoyment and knowledge. This year, for example, Campers build raptor houses in response to what they learned, offering rare birds even more reasons to spend time with us on Callawassie Island. Also this year, staff horticulturist Ann Sauers instructed Campers in how to pot plants so that they’ll thrive, and Campers then made a crafts project out of decorating the pots in which their plants are taking root.


Fun is the Medium

In case this sounds too much like school outdoors, make no mistake, it’s all about the fun. Volunteers and counselors have an uncanny, moment-to-moment pulse of the Campers’ interests and attention, and they never let a lag occur. For example, a consistent winner for keeping the momentum of the Campers’ day going is the water-balloon toss. Just enough action, just enough skill, and just enough “stakes” it seems, to galvanize the kids’ attention and focus their energy, between more seemingly “constructive” endeavors.


Commitment Calls the Tune

The remarkable organization and professionalism of Callawassie Island Kids Camp seem to stem from cooperation more than conspicuous forms of leadership. Joanne Amendola and Linda Lyndon have offered their guidance for the past few years, and the intensity that this requires seems tempered by grace. Their confidence in the commitment and engagement of the forty volunteers and the dozen counselors appears to go a long way. Detailed planning, continual communication, and their presence on-site achieve instead what discipline and bravado might provide in a different kind of regime. Kids Camp appears to be led with a more organic, less noisy kind of influence.

The home-base for Kids Camp was traditionally the River Club. Last year, while the River Club was receiving its thoughtful and accommodating renovation, our main clubhouse, the Callawassie Island Club hosted Camp. The facilities and the nearness of variety there turned out to be unexpected advantages. So it’s yet another sign of the cooperation we’ve come to know as home here, that the Club provided facilities for Kids Camp again this year. With the Callawassie Island Club and the River Club both taking part, our yearly, four-day celebration of the young takes place in the best of both worlds.

The warmth, balance, and connection of our Callawassie Island home are so thoroughly exemplified by Kids Camp – its origins from within, the teamwork it calls forth, and the dedication to a vision that it demonstrates – that we are grateful to see it continuing to thrive again this year.


The Kids Camp of Callawassie Island – Warmth from Within

It has a life of its own; you can feel it. When Kids Camp is in session, you sense a kind of kaleidoscope of enjoyment. Active children, attentive teen counselors, engaged adult volunteers, and organizers – they radiate several kinds of satisfaction, fulfillment, and yes, joy. Even a visitor can pick up the vibe. Not a single soul seems to be doing what they have to do, but rather what they want to do, and often what they love. If you could see this feeling, it might look like a surrounding, billowy cloud, or maybe a rainbow arching overhead.

This rare and widespread feeling began about 20 years ago, and it started from within. A few Callawassie Island residents saw the opportunity to get their arms around the sporadic joy of welcoming their grandchildren to our Island. Playing host to Paradise was too good to leave just to the occasional holiday or school-vacation visit. In addition, they wanted their children and grandchildren to experience the warmth of Callawassie Island from the viewpoint of residents and members, people who know it well.

To say they wanted to “teach” their children and grandchildren what residents know about enjoying Callawassie Island would sound too much like work. Let’s just say they sought a way to share the warmth in greater detail and to leave within the kids a memory they would make an effort to come back to.

So Kids Camp began like that, from within, from initiative, from the desire to create a legacy of feelings that might magnetize the kids to our Island home, but which would, in any case, live on within them as family memories for a lifetime.

Learning Grows

Just as the kids might learn golf or tennis, kayaking, fishing, arts & crafts, or an appreciation of horticulture from Kids Camp, so too the Callawassie Island volunteers consciously look to learn from the experiences of the year’s Camp. They make a concerted effort to keep improving on success. There is a relatively formal – or at least conscious and concerted – post-analysis soon after the conclusion of each year’s Kid’s Camp.

As an example, this year’s Camp was composed along five age-groups rather than the four that structured the participation in years past. This was the result of observing that six and seven-year-olds had sufficiently different levels of interest and ability to make then separate groups for proceeding through the offerings of Kids Camp. Currently, the Kids Campers are grouped this way: 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 8 – 9, 10 – 11, and 12+. It’s long been part of the Kids Camp story that happy campers late in their teens often come back as counselors, sharing their enjoyment through the years.

The established Kids Camp custom of having at least one off-island excursion stems from these post-analyses, too. This year Campers went to Honey Horn for a session on the skills and heritage of sweetgrass basket-making. (Certainly a quieter return trip than last year’s excursion to the kazoo factory in Beaufort.) Visiting presentations bring passionate experts to Camp to share the interest they’ve found in Nature, or crafts, or heritage. This year Campers learned about raptors – birds of prey – like the Island’s owls, hawks, and occasional eagles.

Often a topic is extended into more than one avenue for enjoyment and knowledge. This year, for example, Campers build raptor houses in response to what they learned, offering rare birds even more reasons to spend time with us on Callawassie Island. Also this year, staff horticulturist Ann Sauers instructed Campers in how to pot plants so that they’ll thrive, and Campers then made a crafts project out of decorating the pots in which their plants are taking root.

Fun is the Medium

In case this sounds too much like school outdoors, make no mistake, it’s all about the fun. Volunteers and counselors have an uncanny, moment-to-moment pulse of the Campers’ interests and attention, and they never let a lag occur. For example, a consistent winner for keeping the momentum of the Campers’ day going is the water-balloon toss. Just enough action, just enough skill, and just enough “stakes” it seems, to galvanize the kids’ attention and focus their energy, between more seemingly “constructive” endeavors.

Commitment Calls the Tune

The remarkable organization and professionalism of Callawassie Island Kids Camp seem to stem from cooperation more than conspicuous forms of leadership. Joanne Amendola and Linda Lyndon have offered their guidance for the past few years, and the intensity that this requires seems tempered by grace. Their confidence in the commitment and engagement of the forty volunteers and the dozen counselors appears to go a long way. Detailed planning, continual communication, and their presence on-site achieve instead what discipline and bravado might provide in a different kind of regime. Kids Camp appears to be led with a more organic, less noisy kind of influence.

The home-base for Kids Camp was traditionally the River Club. Last year, while the River Club was receiving its thoughtful and accommodating renovation, our main clubhouse, the Callawassie Island Club hosted Camp. The facilities and the nearness of variety there turned out to be unexpected advantages. So it’s yet another sign of the cooperation we’ve come to know as home here, that the Club provided facilities for Kids Camp again this year. With the Callawassie Island Club and the River Club both taking part, our yearly, four-day celebration of the young takes place in the best of both worlds.

The warmth, balance, and connection of our Callawassie Island home are so thoroughly exemplified by Kids Camp – its origins from within, the teamwork it calls forth, and the dedication to a vision that it demonstrates – that we are grateful to see it continuing to thrive again this year.