Our Philosophy We use a wide variety experiences and activities to help our campers learn to make choices and decisions for themselves, interact positively with other campers and staff members and enjoy all the great opportunities we offer. Through discovery of the great outdoors, skill development, and guidance in the importance of building healthy relationships campers leave with a renewed sense of achievement, belonging, confidence and courage to try new things. Camp Kidwell is an inclusive organization that welcomes all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion or disability.
Safety is #1, Always The health and safety of our campers, staff, volunteers, and families is always our #1 priority. Camp can not happen if our campers and staff members do not feel safe. As we serve children and offer a huge variety of activities, we can not eliminate risk altogether. That is the simple truth of living life, but we do everyone in our power to minimize risk as much as possible. Here are a few other details we use to minimize risk.....
We work very, very hard to minimize any risk, seen or unseen. Our activities are chosen to be age-appropriate. We work to eliminate as many obvious risks as possible and to lessen the effects of risks that can't be eliminated. Example: horses are a huge camper favorite, but they are one of the highest risk areas at camp.....So we do everything we can to limit those risks. Campers wear helmets, long pants, heel-footwear, staff is trained, horses are tested, emergency plans are reviewed and practiced and much more. This doesn't mean an accident won't happen, it simply means they will be few and far between and if they do happen, we will be ready to handle them in the most appropriate way.
Our staff is carefully selected, trained, supervised and coached. Our staff members go through a rigorous character-based interview process. They are carefully screened through the highest standards of child safety practices, including background checks and reference verification. Each staff member is selected for their personality traits, hands on skills and concern and care of our campers. Professional program staff work directly with counselors to provide guidance and support. All staff are certified in first aid and CPR. We are accredited by the American Camp Association and licensed by the State of Michigan.
Our Inclusion Statement Camp Kidwell believes every human being has intrinsic value and should be treated with respect and dignity! We welcome, affirm, and support young people and adults of all abilities and disabilities, experiences, races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, religion and non-religion, citizenship and immigration status, and any other category people use to define themselves or others. We foster positive relationships through safe, fun and inclusive environments for every human being who attends Camp Kidwell.
Why does Camp Kidwell emphasize welcoming EVERYONE? EACH AND EVERY PERSON HAS INTRINSIC VALUE AND SHOULD BE TREATED WITH RESPECT AND DIGNITY! EACH AND EVERY PERSON DESERVES TO FEEL SAFE AND ENJOY A GREAT EXPERIENCE ANYTIME THEY ARE AT CAMP KIDWELL! Unfortunately, too often people do not feel welcomed or safe, let alone be able to enjoy themselves! In fact, many times we are made to think it is bad or unacceptable to have unique beliefs or express ourselves in a way that is outside of the accepted “norms.” This is UNACCEPTABLE! Each human being is welcome at Camp Kidwell and we strive to celebrate who they are and help them to be confident in themselves! It is of the utmost importance that environments are created in which young people and adults of all abilities and disabilities, experiences, races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, religion and non-religion, citizenship and immigration status, and any other category people use to define themselves can come together interact, learn from one another, have positive experiences in collaborative and respectful ways.
What does Inclusion look like at Camp Kidwell? To ensure our inclusivity, we will strive to provide accommodations and resources to make sure campers with different beliefs and/or developing in different ways will get an amazing camp experience! Respect, love, support, kindness, understanding and caring will guide all aspects of our program. We will set this example in everything we do and expect the young people and adults who attend our programs will do the same! Parents/guardians are encouraged to reach out with any questions about inclusion. We want to be sure that all campers have their needs met. Having knowledge of the needs ahead of time makes for a more successful experience and allows us to be prepared. Please reach out at any time! We will provide safe space for each person to express themselves while they are with us. This means the individual will be given the space to comfortably themselves, however, they will not be allowed to infringe on another person's space. We will not pick one area of belief to emphasize or teach. Everyone is welcome to be who they are, however, that means everyone is expected to respect others' space and beliefs as well! This will mean individuals will need to be understanding of another's needs and show their respect by finding solutions that allow everyone involved to not only feel good about themselves but also get the best possible experience.
Here are a few examples: Religious beliefs: Camp Kidwell is not affiliated with a church and religion is not part of our program at all. With that said, we believe it's important to be thankful for how blessed we are. We emphasize giving thanks to those around us to help, support and care about us. We also say “thanks” at meal times by reciting the Johnny Applesee grace song. The lyrics are as follows….“Oh, the Lord’s been good to me. And so I thank the Lord For giving me the things I need: The sun, the rain and the appleseed.'' It refers to the Lord and we understand the religious context this gives. This song has been part of our traditions for years and years, the campers enjoy the motions that go with this, so we choose to continue to make it part of our meal time routine. To be sure everyone feels comfortable with this tradition….we let everyone know at the first meal of each session they are welcome to participate in the “Thank you/grace” in whatever way they feel comfortable. If someone remains seated and doesn’t sing along, that is completely okay.
Gender Identity: Each person is welcome to identify as they feel comfortable. We want EVERYONE who attends Camp Kidwell to feel safe and comfortable, especially while they are with us. To ensure everyone can participate no matter how they identify, we will offer male designated cabins, female designated cabins and gender neutral cabins. To be sure each family/individual can participate in a space which they find comfortable, parents are asked to let us know the cabin preference for their campers and campers are assigned to cabins based on this information. Additionally, to ensure privacy and respect modesty, campers and staff change clothes in restroom/shower stalls. Cabin groups spend the day together, this includes using the restroom, so campers and staff members will be using the restroom which matches the gender of the cabin they are part of. Cabins that are gender neutral will pick one restroom and use it for the length of the session.
Individual Special needs: Each person comes to camp with a unique set of special needs. Sometimes the needs are similar to others and the pieces of the “interaction puzzle” come together quite simply. Other times, the needs of an individual may require special accommodations or even mean that an individual receives different considerations in specific situations to ensure they are safe. These types of accommodations require everyone involved to be understanding and willing to possibly make a few sacrifices to be sure everyone has a quality experience.
EVERYONE IS WELCOME AT CAMP KIDWELL!!!! Camp Kidwell has well-tested policies and practices that deal with all sorts of behaviors and contingencies which may and likely already have happened here over the last 73 years. We have a well-trained staff, some of whom are educators and child development professionals outside of their role here at camp. We address things like bullying, inappropriate behaviors, camp romances, social awkwardness, special needs and anything else you can imagine might happen in a large group setting. Being sure EVERYONE is welcome at Camp Kidwell is not something new, rather, it is a furtherance of our mission and goals! We look forward to having you join us in giving EVERYONE a great Camp Kidwell experience!!!
Goals and Outcomes Providing an EXTRAORDINARY CAMPING experience to EVERY child who attend Camp Kidwell is important to us. To achieve this mission, we have created several specific goals with detailed outcomes. We use these goals to guide our planning and the outcomes to evaluate our success level. An extraordinary experience not only means fun activities and positive memories, but also learning and growth.
G Provide a unique, exciting, fun-filled and growing experience to all campers. O Campers learn personal strengths and weaknesses, and how to use them.
G Convey to each camper the feeling that he or she is a unique and worthwhile human being. O Campers become more confident and outgoing and are able to express themselves more clearly.
G Each camper is a winner if he or she does the best they can with the abilities they have. O Campers develop willingness to try new things.
G Provide experiences for cooperation and close relationship with campers and staff members. O Campers develop a healthy respect and interaction level with adults.
G Provide a caring community so campers and staff work together and enjoy each new experience. O Campers show concern for others and willingness to help each other solve problems.
G Expose campers to activities with which they may not be familiar. O Campers develop interest in new activities.
G Offer skillfully taught and thoroughly organized individual, small group, and large group activities. O Campers demonstrate ability to be productive members of any size group.
G Challenge children to treat each other with respect and promote positive communication skills. O Campers think before acting and work through issues in positive and appropriate means.
G Provide challenging co-educational experiences, promoting a positive feelings and interactions for all campers, staff, parents and guests regardless of gender. O Campers demonstrate positive, meaningful relationships with all other campers, staff, parents and guests regardless of gender.
G Maintain and build meaningful Camp Kidwell traditions through songs, activities, and camping. O Campers want to become members of staff and continue to share the positive camp experience. G Provide a quality overall program in which campers and families are excited about and want to return. O Campers will want to return year after year.