While it was a sad, surreal, and incredibly quiet summer at Camp Sealth not hosting campers for the first time in 100 years, as the season changed we were so excited to welcome kids back on-site in a new, safe way!
Outdoor Connections was designed specifically to meet the needs of Vashon Island youth and families as they navigate the challenges of remote learning. Now each morning, our dining room Rounds Hall is filled with the hustle and bustle of kids starting their school day: friendly morning opening activities, laptops being pulled from backpacks, and arranging desks decorated with the week’s craft projects.
Each afternoon, campers safely join their small groups to play games of Camouflage, explore their creative sides through various arts & crafts and hike camp’s beautiful mile-long beach building dams and sandcastles along the way.
How Connections Became Collaboration
“Camp Sealth is changing the future for this community by providing services and options to students that are both unique and in alignment with the Vashon Island School District’s mission.” – Dr. Slade McSheehy, VISD Superintendent
Camp Sealth’s collaboration with the Vashon Island School District has been an integral piece to be able to ensure continuity and support for our campers. We’ve had the school Tech department onsite several times to train staff on the in’s and out’s of online learning platforms and for laptop troubleshooting. The Food Service department nourishes our full-day campers with daily delicious and healthy eats. The Special Education department consistently works with our on-site staff to develop tools, strategies, and support plans that cater to our campers. Teachers reach out as they have suggestions or follow-up. In times like these, it definitely takes a village all with a common goal – a shared desire to help our island’s youth!
Another exciting collaboration has been with Comunidad Latina de Vashon. They have leant incredible support helping us translate materials, connecting Island families with the program, and ensuring equitable access. We are also extremely grateful to Dr. Jim Bristow & Dr. Olney from Vashon Be Prepared! They quickly and efficiently helped coordinate precautionary Covid testing on-site for our staff training week and have continued to serve as a resource.
How Connections Keep Campers Growing
Outdoor Connections follows its own ebb and flow. Much like the tide, our campers arrive and depart in a dependable routine wherein a worldwide pandemic that consistent structure can be hard to find. Whether it be the full-day or half-day programs we aim to navigate a balance of routine with the novelty and excitement of camp. Some days are full of the new, novel, and exciting: exploding paint or elephant toothpaste. Other days are chance to build on skills: visits to the archery range and re-visiting fire-building, working towards a one-match fire. The biggest gains we’ve seen across the groups has been the opportunity to continue building on their social and emotional skills as they return to this time with peers.
“It’s been incredible to see the goals we set at the beginning of the program come to life! During our time together, OC campers have been adapting to this new environment with such a growth mindset. We’ve been able to see their confidence increase as each week they try new things and build friendships with their peers.” – Dani G., Team Lead
We serve such a variety of youth of different ages, needs, and interests. From Pre-K campers all the way to our Teen programs on Fridays, we strive to meet our campers where they’re at and foster chances for the youth to have their own voice in programming; presenting challenges as choices. In turn, we’ve seen the resiliency and joy of our campers despite these unprecedented circumstances as they continue to experience the natural world and connect with their peers.
Help Us Continue to Provide Youth with Growing Opportunities
Your generous support enables us to continue serving kids and families in our community safely today– helping them cope in this new world and heal together.