Our Philosophy

Our Philosophy

These are but a few of the values that guide our camp community. Every summer we see these ideas create an atmosphere that allows our campers to flourish and have an amazing summer full of fun, connection, and meaning.

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Autonomy: Kids feel ownership over their camp experience and empowered when they select their own activities. Each summer our campers enthusiastically return to their favorite program areas while exploring new ones. At camp kids also make decisions for themselves on a daily basis, building indepdence, confidence, and a stronger sense of self.

Collaboration & Healthy Competition: Competitions can be rewarding and fulfilling. Working together to achieve a common goal is a rich and important experience. And sometimes, intense competition and drive for first place gets in the way of other important goals and values. At Camp Emerson, it’s about the journey, not the destination. We celebrate campers and staff when they lift each other up, work together, demonstrate respect and sportsmanship, and make space for everyone.

Creativity: Creativity is infused to every element of our program. At camp we are big on costumes, story-based programs, making art and music, performing new cheers and skits, playing classic games with new unexpected twists, and exploring the possibilities of science and the outdoors. We support campers when they want to bring a creative idea or program to life. Creativity ensures that no two sessions or summers are ever the same.

Open Time: Kids of all ages benefit immensely from free play, which is different from participating in a structured activity. Play is important for social-emotional growth, building social skills, executive functioning skills, cognitive development, and forging strong friendships. We value and make space for time when kids can play on their own under appropriate supervision. Open time is also when sports teams and drama shows practice. Campers form clubs and check-into free swim. There are impromptu games of frisbee, art projects, and ping pong tournaments. Open time also allows campers the opportunity to slow down and recharge their energy after a busy day. Campers and staff alike love open time.

Reflection: Reflection is a critical learning pathway. Every night our counselors facilitate simple and short reflection exercises with their bunks. Campers of all ages cherish this time. It’s powerful to have a group of your peers listening silently and attentively as you share about your day. Bunk reflection helps our campers make sense of their experiences, plan, set goals, and builds a sense of community. At the end of each session our staff help kids reflect on their cumulative camp experience in order to solidify their sense of accomplishment, connection, and belonging.

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S’mores enjoyed around Camp Emerson campfires