Be Intentional about Your Camp's Rituals

 "HINTS" from Camp Consultant Joanna Warren Smith 
Traditions are the glue that hold your camp experience together.  They are the primary bonding agents that tether kids to your place and they fuel the story telling by client #1 (the camper) to client #2 (the parent) about the experience.
Some rituals are powerful while others could have stronger impact ... if they were only consistently executed better.  There are also rituals that have been perpetuated because ‘it’s the way we’ve always done it’ that leave campers and counselors wondering ‘what’s the point?’  And finally, there are rituals that are negative like those which assign derogatory camp names and those cultural habits that verge on hazing.
Assess your rituals now to be more intentional about their execution and emotional impact.  The result will be increased retention rates in 2019.

Objectively Assess Your Rituals.  One by one, determine if the whole community (campers, counselors and leadership) are anticipatory of the ritual, totally engaged in the ceremony and protective of the manner of execution.

Select 2 or 3 of Your Most Powerful Rituals.  A total revamp of your entire inventory of traditions is unlikely, so focus on a few to make a palpable difference this summer.

'MESS’ Up Your Rituals.  In the style of Camp Ramaquois, make your rituals ‘Meaningful, Emotional, Scripted and Sacred.’  The script is absolutely essential to ensure consistent execution from session to session and season to season. Camps that intentionally fine-tuned their rituals and stayed attentive to the emotional impact generally increased their retention by 3-5% in one year.

You can do it too.  Go for it!

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