No formal classes are held, but in solving the daily problems of life, intensive education does take place. Motivation is natural when responsible plans and thorough workmanship affect group welfare. It’s fun, too!
A grade of 95% would not be passing if a wrong tarp measurement caused a leak over one’s bed, or careless food budgeting resulted in a skimpy meal. Writing up experiences for the camp newspaper often shows creative talent that would thrill an English teacher. Likewise, sketches and nature craft bring out artistic abilities.
Bus trips to historic and cultural places bring alive our nation’s heritage. Performing in fun skits at camp wide events, sharing camp experiences and insights in the dining hall or outdoor chapel - what better way to develop communication skills? Books are available for resource and reference; but like friendships, they are most appreciated when not forced. When girls discover a fascination for learning, suddenly reading is an adventure rather than a chore.
Many campers re-enter school at their regular age/grade level. While this type of experience curriculum covers most classroom learning, our primary goal is a happy, well-adjusted child.
Since the camp setting requires less conformity than a classroom, a camper can squirm, yell, and jump - and still feel accepted. Aggression can be absorbed and competitive tensions eased. In time, campers relax and become confident enough to want the self-discipline of learning. The democratic process itself becomes real as groups plan responsibly and measure themselves by realistic goals they have set.
Wilderness Way Girls’ Camp offers an accredited educational program as part of the School District of Oconee County and has an excellent relationship with school counselors and educators. Some high school credits can be earned. While formal classes are not the norm in our program, academic progress is. Campers are typically behind in their academic performance when they enter the program, yet most girls experience above average increases in their formal academic test scores.
More importantly, girls consistently develop improved attitudes toward academic success and a stronger commitment toward mastering difficult subjects. As problems are dealt with, academic anxiety is diminished and interest awakened. Academic help is provided where needed in the course of daily activities and is most effective when intertwined with life experiences.
Education is life-wide at camp. Girls grow in their knowledge and understanding of many things as groups constantly evaluate each activity. Girls learn to take ownership of learning experiences.