Our Most Important Summer Camp Lesson

photo by Travis Allison (@ Camp Kintail)

Community is INTENTIONAL.


You should think about it in every aspect of every program that you offer during summer camp and in all contact you have with your campers and staff outside of the summer months.

This is a difficult task. We hope we can make it easier for you. Here is one of the best things we ever developed at camp...

The 4 S’s - In our many years of camping, we discovered that it was imperative to create guidelines for young people to make wise decisions, decisions they could make on their own without too many rules to remember. In our second year of directing, we developed the 4 S’s, a test by which any activity at all could be rendered appropriate to the community or not.

A person must answer ‘yes’ to all 4 S questions before doing any kind of activity (large or small). If they cannot answer ‘yes’ to all 4, it does not help to build community and, therefore, cannot be done. This is an excellent way to empower your young people to make decisions on their own and to make them feel safe and wanted in the community you are building with them.

The 4 S’s - Safety, Stewardship, Servanthood, Self-Esteem

  • Safety - is it physically and emotionally safe?
  • Stewardship - are you being a good steward of the earth?
  • Servanthood - are you serving other people and the community?
  • Self-Esteem - are you building someone’s self-esteem?

What do you think is your most important summer camp lesson?