One of the biggest pieces of attending one of our Shrine Mont Camps is being part of a cabin throughout the session. Though time at camp is not limited solely to time spent with your cabin, a portion of the day is spent in cabin groups and we have found that this time can be the most formative for your camper. This may lead you to wonder- “What exactly is cabin life like? What will my camper be doing with his or her cabin? And, while we’re on the topic, what do these cabins look like?!” We’re so glad you asked! This blog post is dedicated to exploring ‘cabin life’ at Shrine Mont Camps and all that it entails.
What Are the Basics?
Campers will share their cabin with up to nine other campers and one cabin counselor of the same gender. All cabins have electricity and are a short distance from the onsite latrines.
Cabins are grouped by gender at each of our campers (at Art Camp, cabins are also grouped by ages 8-12 and ages 13-15). Additionally, each cabin is connected by a small 'half-cabin' area to another cabin- both of these cabins will house campers and counselors of the same gender. Campers and their counselors will sleep on bunk beds in the larger cabin-area (except for St. Andrew's where they stay in a cottage!) while an additional counselor will sleep in the 'half-cabin' area between both cabins. This means that there will be a total of three counselors for every two cabins. Counselors will also be sure to let campers know that they can be woken at any time throughout the night if campers have to use the restroom, have had a nightmare or need their attention for any other reason. For a better idea of what our cabins look like, please see the photo below!
Cabin Activities Vs. Whole-Camp Activities
Certain blocks of time each day are set aside for cabins to spend together- these are known as 'cabin free-time'. During this time, campers will interact with their cabin mates and their counselor through activities which call for them to get to know each other, work together as a team, do a service or even play games with another cabin! Additionally, campers will primarily be with their cabins during meal times (and always during rest period!). Other times of day, such as evening games, scheduled activities, chaplains time and evening programs, allow campers to interact with the entire camp and friends from other cabins as well as those campers with whom they share a cabin.
Cabin Request Policy
While we understand that your camper may want to share his or her cabin with a friend from home or church, we are unable to accept requests for specific cabin assignments at Shrine Mont Camps. Our policy regarding cabin assignments is to create cabins which foster a loving and accepting community. We have found that it can be difficult for campers to make new friends if they are placed in cabins with friends from back home; for this reason, we do not honor cabin requests. However, as you can see from above, camp is not limited to time spent solely with your cabin and there will be no shortage of time for campers to interact with friends who are outside of their cabin group.
How do we Foster Relationships Among Campers?
At Shrine Mont Camps, we work really hard to build a strong cabin community and many of the activities your camper will participate in each day point to this. This is part of the reason that our cabin request policy exists, as we've found that it is not as helpful as one would imagine to be placed in a cabin with your best friend or sibling. If your child is coming to camp and only knows one or no other campers, please don't worry- the will not be the only camper in this situation and we deliberately work to create connections between and among campers within the first 24 hours of camp. Through activities such as cabin free-time and daily feeling-check before bedtime, trust, connection and care can grow throughout the session to the point where a cabin group can really feel like a family by the end of camp. Counselors will also intentionally set norms and expectations for their cabins at the beginning of a session so that conversation can continue throughout the session about behavior, community and conflict if it should arise.
We hope this gives you and your campers a better idea about what to expect in terms of cabin life throughout the summer, but if you have any camp-specific questions or concerns that were not addressed here, please don't hesitate to be in touch!
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The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.