At camp, we take a 3-pronged approach to developing autonomy:
- Offer choices.
- Respect opinions.
- Give responsibility.
We offer choices by giving our campers the opportunity to decide how they would like to spend their time. We respect opinions by seeking out kids’ ideas and taking time to listen to them. When kids know that adults respect their abilities and opinions, the kids feel heard and validated – they know that they matter. We give responsibility by requiring campers to be part of daily tasks, including setting up, clean up, camp chores, and responsibility for a particular program area (gardening, arts, and crafts, etc.). This helps kids feel that they are an integral part of what’s going on and that what they do matters.