Farmington YMCA Compass Awards Program Summer 2006
Purpose of Program • Program planning • Behavior management • Asset development • Character development • Teambuilding • Goal setting • Accomplishment / Self-esteem • Progressive programming
Program Planning • The compass award allows you to plan 16 components of your summer program. • Each icon should represent one of the unique aspects of your camp program. • Ex. : the rake and shovel icon = service to others • Each camp needs to pre-plan service projects that are age appropriate for the children in their group. When the children complete the service project they earn their service icon.
Behavior Management When campers are rewarded for their positive accomplishments through this program, behavior issues improve throughout camp. The kids help each other earn their icons and work towards completing their compass awards, when they get off track they correct each other. It has lowered our amount of behavior problems at camp.
Asset Development • Our camps have been challenged to intentionally work with our kids, staff, and parents on the 40 developmental assets. • The Compass Awards program is a way for us to intentionally teach the 40 developmental assets through program and reward • The 40 developmental assets can be found at www.search-institute.org • Last year we used 3 of our icons on our compass award to make asset development intentional • #9. Service to others • #14. Adult role models • #36. Peaceful conflict resolution
Character Development • The compass awards program can be used together with the character development programs you are already using. • We have used the character development icons for campers who go above and beyond being caring ,honest, respectful, and responsible. • We have also used it in conjunction with the bead program. • After the camper earns 7 caring beads they also receive their caring icon for their compass award.
Team Building • The compass awards program has become a huge asset in our small group development during summer camp. • The kids have common goals and are on similar levels and work together to help and support each other. • We also have a teamwork icon that, depending on the age of the campers, we give them when they have completed elements of the low or high ropes course. With this as an option we can always challenge the campers to push themselves a little further to try something new or to master a new skill. • When one of the campers completes a skill or activity that they have been struggling with all summer it is a great accomplishment for the whole group.
Goal Setting • At the beginning of camp and at the beginning of each session the compass awards program is explained to each camper group. The new campers are given their compass award and the staff explain the goals of the program and how the group needs to work together to help each other earn their icons. • Each group is led through a discussion and each camper decides which icons they feel the strongest about and then they set goals to work to accomplish the activities. • Some of the icons they choose are individual goals and some are group or team goals. • When they accomplish their goals they earn their icon.
Accomplishment / Self-esteem • The pride that comes across the face of the kids as they achieve their goals and earn their icons speaks for itself. • Many of the kids, especially in our city camps, have never had an adult or a group of kids helping them to achieve a goal. When it all comes together it is encouraging for the staff, the campers, and the families. • Individual and group accomplishment plays a huge part in helping our campers build self-esteem. • When the kids earn an icon the only thing on their mind is how to get the next one. • As their compass award fills up during the coarse of the summer kids become coaches, teachers, helpers, etc… • The further along the campers get with their compass award the more self-confidence they exude
Progressive Programming • We are entering our 5th summer using the compass award program. Each year we have developed new programs to go with the old. When you see our kids in camp many of the 4th and 5th graders have all of their compass awards hanging on their backpack. • If you ask them how they got one of their icons they will most likely break out into a 10 minute story of what happened during camp the week they earned that particular icon. • As we continue to develop new programs we are able to add age appropriate icons and different levels of icons that only certain campers may earn. • Kids really have a strong desire to finish out their patch so it encourages them to want to keep coming to camp until they complete their entire compass. • The last icon that they can earn each summer is the Y-SPIRIT award. The ONLY way to get this icon is to first earn the other 15. • Many of our camps have awards ceremonies after camp is over for the summer, they invite the Y-spirit recipients and their families to a “dinner banquet” at camp where each Y-spirit icon is awarded to the camper.
Marketing your camp • The compass award gives every camper, friend of a camper and family member the opportunity to tell your YMCA Camp story. Every time someone in the community sees the compass award hanging from our campers backpacks they wonder – what is that? A LOT of people ask and A LOT of people hear about what goes on at our camps. • Your logo is also in the middle of the compass award and is out in schools and communities. • This is also a great way to partner with a company or corporation in your community by having them sponsor your compass awards program! • This program also teaches our community that we run CAMPS and that we are giving kids unique experiences that they otherwise would not have a chance to experience. • The compass award program was the “thing” we were looking for to help solidify what we were trying to accomplish in our camps. The icons are a visual and concrete way to show parents and our community the many accomplishments of our campers and staff. • “A picture says a thousand words” gave us a whole new meaning to help us sell our camp programs through the icons!