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A TIP For Older Campers/Young Staff at Camp

posted on Apr 15 2021

by Robert "Bob" Tarushka, Director of Performances

Looking for a way to engage your oldest campers and youngest staff for the 2021 summer? Here’s a TIP!

Introducing the Teen Innovation Program (TIP) for Summer 2021!

We are here to help empower the oldest campers and youngest staff at your camp who have been the most affected by this pandemic by helping to create experiences that will connect specifically to them and empower them this summer to take initiative and grow programming at your camp during a time when it’s going to be needed more than ever.

The Teen Innovation Program is designed to be holistic in nature by utilizing both virtual and in-person programs in a cost-effective, high-impact way. Here’s how it works:

teens at summer camp

1. We schedule three pre-camp virtual “hangouts” over Zoom with your CIT/LITs and/or young staff members.

2. In each of these “hangouts,” we will focus on either fun and getting to know you activities, easy games that they can turn around and lead during the summer, or creating a showcase or other “event” they could do for the rest of the camp (usually in conjunction with the mainstages Master of Fun you are hiring for your summer, if applicable).

3. We schedule a time to come to your camp in-person, or a final virtual event DURING the summer to give final touchpoints or augmentations based on how things are shaking out at camp. This summer could be unpredictable, and we want to make sure all our training fits the “facts on the ground!”

All “hangouts” are designed so that participants get to PLAY the games they are learning to lead, and so that the innovation of creative programming feels fun to make instead of like a stuffy rehearsal. At the conclusion of each “hang out,” participants receive follow-up documents among other resources to help them implement what they just had fun doing!

Every camp is different, and how we are able to best innovate depends on many different factors including location, whether you have mainstages programming staff on camp, as well as your objectives. If you are less interested in one of the “hang out” focuses, for example, we could double up on a different focus that you feel better fits your community’s needs! 

The Teen Innovation Program has three distinct focuses:

Fun

In the style of our internationally-acclaimed virtual performances, the Fun “hang out” is designed to be entertaining and engaging virtual games where everyone can meet and get to know each other in a low-pressure atmosphere before the summer actually starts. The focus of these “hangouts” is to loosen everyone up as a group, but they can also come with customizable orientation objectives disguised as trivia questions or other games that have been enjoyed by thousands of happy kids and adults over the past year. In the Fun “hang out,” participants will:

teenagers at summer camp
  • Learn more about their peers through interactive virtual games.
  • Share their interests with others and socialize.
  • Begin to get in the camp mindset.

Training

The Training “hang out” has participants playing games virtually that they can then turn around and lead themselves at camp! All the games require limited to no prep and are perfect for unstructured times. This is great for staff members who will be supervising a group of campers or CIT/LITs who can lead the games on an impromptu basis. In the Training “hang out”, participants will:

teenagers at summer camp
  • Learn 6-8 easy to lead games by playing them virtually.
  • Discuss strategies on augmenting the games for different age groups, group sizes, themes, etc.
  • Learn more about what makes a good activity through group discussion.
  • Receive a document at the conclusion of the “hang out” with descriptions of all the games they played.

Creativity

The aim of the Creative “hang out” is to build up to specific events that take place during the summer. Where the Training “hang out” is focused on individual games for ANY time, the Creative “hang out” is designed to build towards an event or presentation that would require planning/rehearsal. The goal is to turn your staff/CIT/LITs into programming people who can help implement special events at your camp, and this is done through immersive rehearsal techniques that help them have fun while harnessing their creativity in making something their own! This is done ideally with your camp’s mainstages Master of Fun, who would be working with them on the event(s) in an advisory capacity in-person during the summer. In the Creative “hang out,” participants will:

teenagers at summer camp
  • Discuss in broad outline a sample event OR one they will actually be leading to give them a “bird’s eye” view of what they are trying to create.
  • Hold fun “ideation” sessions where they come up with fun and original characters/moments/activities/etc. through Mad Libs-styled improv activities.
  • Come up with their own personal action items for how they specifically will be preparing for this future event.
  • Learn to work with their peers creatively as a group.

Our pre-camp virtual schedule is booking up fast! Contact us to discuss this program today!

Robert "Bob" Tarushka

posted on Apr 15 2021

by Robert "Bob" Tarushka

As Director of Performances, Bob has personally visited hundreds of camps where he writes, produces, and performs original shows and workshops. Bob received a double major in English Literature and Theater at The University of New Hampshire and has previous experience on staff at Second Stage Theatre, Dixon Place, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, Shrunken Shakespeare Company, Underling Productions, and more.