Have you been a camper or sent your children to camp? If so, we suspect you’ve found it challenging to put what we do with our participants into words. You’re not alone.
Have you been wondering what Camp Lookout or Crystalaire is all about? Is this your first time here? Read on!
We have created this blog as a space to talk about our programs and dive freely into the depths of our philosophy to better explain who we are, what we’re doing, and what we’re trying to accomplish with our programs. This first entry lays out some basics about camp and our philosophy, as well as some ideas for other topics to be explored in the future.
Who are we?
We are a family run, family-oriented program whose focus is on helping the world by helping its people learn to live and work together. We want people to come away from our programs with a better sense of who they are and how they interact with different people and their surroundings. We think this process is essential to finding a meaningful place for oneself in the world.
What are we?
Currently we are a residential summer camp, in Frankfort, Michigan, for ages 7-15, offering 3-day, one-week and two-week sessions, for 400+ campers each summer. We’re also a trips program, where we venture off to various wilderness areas of the Midwest, for just a few days or up to three weeks, to participate in exciting and meaningful activities in the backcountry like backpacking, biking, sailing, canoeing, leadership or community service.
How do we do it?
We often hear campers say things like “I don’t know, Camp Lookout is just different, you gotta try it,” or from parents we hear a lot of “I’m not sure what the magic is, but whatever you’re doing, it works,” and this is great. We like hearing that what we are doing is “working,” but regardless of how you choose to talk about us, we want to give you a better understanding of the intentionality behind our methods and philosophy.
Here is the foundation of our philosophy:
- Playfulness is central to our programing. Through fun and play we provide an atmosphere of self-discovery, personal growth, and finding a sense of purpose.
- Intentional, co-created programming fosters independence and confidence while giving kids the chance to create their own experience.
- Free time provides the opportunity for kids to be kids and gives them the ability to truly connect with their surroundings and others.
- Non-competitive culture allows our campers to feel comfortable enough to take healthy social and physical risks, while learning skills essential to effective collaboration.
- Unplugging from the electronic world allows us to reconnect with people in social, healthy, and emotionally-productive ways.
All of this aids our ultimate pursuit: fostering positive connections between people. Through this, we strive to make the world a better place by empowering young people with the ability to co-create a supportive, playful, and imaginative community.
The future of this blog
Through this blog we hope to provide current campers and camp families a basic understanding of our methods, so when your camper arrives home after their session and talks about how they played a game involving dinosaurs and necromancers or that they were a “germ buster” or “cruiser” for a day, you will have some context for what this means and know there was intentionality and meaning behind it.
For prospective campers, camp families, and partnering organizations, we hope to give a glimpse of what we do, what to expect at camp or while working with us. We will show you we are the experts in what we do, and we are passionate about creating positive change in the world through our work.
No matter what brought you here, we hope we can provide some insight into our way of thinking, and an approach we’ve found successful regarding children and their relationship to us, each other, and the world.
So, follow our posts here or on the social media platform of your choice. It’s our goal to post on a semi-regular basis and build an online community of like-minded people who not only read what we’re writing, but who also can contribute to what we’re doing – hey, that’s how camp works (more on that later).
If this is something that interests you, please keep reading and come back often. Here’s a preview of a few of the upcoming posts we are either currently working on or thinking about starting:
- Our programming philosophy
- Agency and why it’s important for building self-confident humans
- Our fall letter to parents
- How to raise a creative child. Step One: Back Off! (re-post)
- Our concept of a “microsociety” and how this has an impact on youth
- How adults can encourage kids to be original thinkers (re-post)
We’re excited about getting this going. Thanks for reading!