Choice is a crucial foundation for learning to trust your own judgment. Because if you didn’t choose what you’re doing, it’s easy to write off successes and failures as if they had nothing to do with you. The best way to learn how to make choices is - surprise, surprise - to make choices!

So we give campers an endless amount of choice. Kids make choices for lots of reasons - because they love something, because they’re curious, or just because other people are doing it - and then we nurture them to really dig in. (For example, boys who are typically into sports often wander into our Sewing Salon to give it a try, and unexpectedly realize they love it.) We believe that this approach fosters an environment where kids develop newfound confidence, independence, and creative bravery that is tough to find elsewhere.

Also, the freedom to choose what you’re doing means that children will never have to be separated from a sibling, a best friend, or their favorite counselor. And we see far fewer behavioral issues and much more engagement, because kids feel as though their decisions are being respected.