Critical thinking is the process of actively conceptualizing, applying, and analyzing information gathered from observation, experience, reflection, or communication. Here at camp, we are offered daily opportunities to hone our critical thinking skills in a myriad of ways. Take outdoor adventure for example. Yesterday while I was at the low ropes course confirming that a camper had what they needed, I looked up and saw three campers calculating their next foot placements, using information that the adventure team had provided earlier, as well as observation of their suspended cabin mates in front to move across a series of elevated ropes and challenges.
Similarly, down at the lake campers enjoy climbing up and jumping from enormous inflatable lake toys. This process, disguised as fun, is in reality a critical thinking workshop, as many of the installations are quite difficult to master (I’ve tried). Campers need to not only observe each other but also rely on one another to get onto and then up the floating Iceberg, aqua-pavilion, and Wibbit inflatable tower.
Less obvious but equally important examples of critical thinking can be found in the cabins, where campers, some brand new to camp and shared living space, work on turn-taking, compromise, and problem-solving, strengthening friendships here at camp and building life skills that will prove invaluable on campuses and in workplaces years down the road.
Yes, at its core camp is about having fun. It is a magical place that for me provides the energy to get from September to May, but dig a little deeper and it’s a trove of learning experiences and critical thinking opportunities that our kids look forward to each and every day!
Reich Village Leader