Rituals and Traditions
Crucial to any Camp’s success is the institutionalization and normalization of rituals and traditions that define and distinguish the Camp’s identity and establish parameters and expectations for the Camper’s experience. Rituals and traditions reify the values and ethos of Camp; it is where the Camp’s unique niche is made tangible in the everyday life of a Camper and a staff member. At times silly and fun, these activities also distinguish Camp as Camp! Not as school or as one’s normal home life.
Cottage Groups: Every Camper at SGIS Summer Camps is a member of a “Cottage”, a small group community built through the shared living space you occupy together. Even though everyone at Camp is in a House, and part of a larger program, Cottage is where Campers feel at home. Strong friendships develop in these settings through shared spaces, time spent together, and a sense of ‘Cottage family’ emerges. These are the groups for Nightly Reflection Circles.
House Rivalry Competitions: Twice per session, all camp will get together for House Rivalry competitions, which are friendly but provide some level of competition. Capture the Flag, Scavenger Hunts, Project-based Learning expeditions, etc. When you join a House at Camp, you are a member of that House forever, every summer; it is a source of pride and tradition. New Campers will be assigned and welcomed into their House through a fun ‘initiation’ activity at the beginning of each session.
Nightly Reflection Circles: Each program closes the day with accolades and appreciation for the group. This is also where camp counsellors may resolve disputes through restorative justice, give announcements about tomorrow’s programming and what to expect, and answer Camper questions.
Camp comes together for a final song to send Campers home with, standing together around the campfire, under the stars.
Empowering Campers: Throughout camp, every camper will have the opportunity to perform a leadership role for their team; whether it’s being the Navigator for the day, the Timekeeper, the Team Leader, or the Server at our family style lunches. These roles will rotate and provide each Camper with a feeling of responsibility and pride.
Olympics: All of camp gathers together on the final full day of camp for a full blown Olympics, with an opening ceremony with musical and dance performances and team entrances. Teams are determined by your House, dress up in their team colours, and students from all ages will be together on a team. Friendly competition, fun, and excitement round out the last day of Camp and provide students with memories and stories that will last all winter. The winning House receives Camp jackets or some other prize.
Final Campfire and Barbecue: The final night of camp will be celebrated with an all-camp blowout barbecue, with dancing, music, food, and fun. Groups perform skits to share their experiences with the rest of camp. Counsellors give out awards and accolades for members of their group.