In London, Ontario, counselors at the City's day camps and playground programs have really embraced the goal to include literacy-based activities for the kids at the camps. Here is the last in a series of blogs by these amazing young people!
Including literacy at summer camp is always a unique challenge that counsellors look forward to. At Kinsmen Junior Camp the challenge is made all the more interesting as we have a camp of 4-6 year olds with incredibly varied reading abilities. Some of our campers are reading experts; they can help out their group when we have our “literacy scavenger hunts” like the Dr. Seuss-themed rhyming scavenger hunt we had in July. Other campers are just learning how much fun reading can be, thanks to our leaders who love to read stories each and every day. It was a great opportunity for us to relax and have some quiet time, and some campers were so relaxed that they fell asleep! Stories became so popular at Kinsmen Junior Camp that we had to put a cap on how many stories could be read each day in order to make sure we got through the rest of our planned activities!
Promoting literacy to such a young group of campers can at times be difficult. Typical literacy activities at camp are often designed for a group a few years older. Luckily the counsellors at Kinsmen Junior Camp are out-of-this-world amazing! As we have gone through the summer we have tried a number of literacy-based crafts and games. We have seen campers write letters to each other, read each other stories, use sidewalk paint to draw pictures and write words, and in our second-last week of camp we even wrote and performed our own camp story!
As a way to cap off our amazing summer at Kinsmen Junior Camp, Week 9 was our most literacy-based week yet! Our “And They Lived Happily Ever After” theme week included campers building their own fairytale, complete with knights and castles! Throughout the week we also built our own medieval land and performed our story of adventure towards the end of the week. On Friday, the last day of camp, we celebrated the first year of Kinsmen Junior Camp with a big birthday party for all (complete with a story or two!). Hopefully our campers will take the skills they acquired throughout the summer and use them in the fall, whether they are just starting school or heading into Grade One. Being able to promote literacy to a group of kids so eager to read has been one of the best parts of Kinsmen Junior Camp’s first year!
Submitted by Ryan Babington, Kinsmen Junior Camp Coordinator 2013