Jun 19, 2018

Posted by: Kelsey O'Hara

Something for Everyone

Session 1, Day 11

There are many reasons that campers choose to return again and again to Ranch Camp. Some come for the riding programs, like EQ or Beginner Horsemanship. Others come to experience the track system that has been implemented in session 2. Or maybe the ropes course, or mountain biking, or a trip is a favorite activity that can’t be had elsewhere. But no matter why a kid loves camp, each and every one look forward to afternoon chugs.

Ranch Camp is one of the only summer camps in Colorado that allows kids to choose what they want to do for part of the day – in most camps, the entire day is scheduled. Giving the campers an opportunity to choose for themselves gives them a level of independence that they may not have experienced before. For the younger campers especially, it’s unusual to have the freedom to decide exactly what they’re going to do every day. Not only does this foster independence in the campers, but it allows them to step out of their comfort zone in a way that is in their control, and to choose the activities that will best allow them to grow and learn without being too challenged or not challenged enough.

Today, another week of chugs began. The first chug of the two is a weekly activity, meaning that campers pick a chug on the first day and then go to the same activity for the rest of the week. The second chug is daily, so campers get to choose a new experience every day. As they sat on the hill in the commons, campers decided which weekly chug to join, whether they would make an involved art project, play a team sport, or something in between. An hour later they chose again for daily activities, some opting for court sports, some for the ropes course, and others an anatomy art project.

Like all other activities at camp, chugs are designed with kids in mind. There is only one exception to this rule: Kaleidoscope. This evening program is not created for the kids – it’s created by the kids.

The excitement for Kaleidoscope began during lunch a few days ago, as it was the first opportunity for campers to sign up for the talent show. During menucha, cabin time, and before bed, campers have taken every opportunity to perfect their act. Tonight we finally got to see the results of their hard work – and the talent of the campers was immediately evident. Many campers regaled us with carefully practiced, beautiful piano pieces, and others sang songs (many from musicals). Some acts used props, some danced, and one even performed with fantastic Chinese yo-yo skills. Other acts were comedic in nature, lip syncs or skits or incredibly realistic animal noises. By the time the show was over, hands were red from clapping and voices horse from cheering.

Ranch Camp is a place where people from many different walks of life come together to share experiences. It’s a place of diversity and discovery, and not every person, staff or camper, is going to be interested in the same things – and that’s okay. That’s part of what makes Ranch Camp so special. No matter your skills, comfort zone, ability level, or background, there’s always something for everyone.