UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 8 | June
Camp teaches kids about different kinds of smart.
By Michelle Cook
Most kids head off to summer camp eager to leave their classroom
troubles behind them, but at an unusual UBC summer program, campers
get the chance to confront and solve the problems they encounter
during the school year.
CampUS is the brainchild of Education Prof. Shelley Hymel and Anne
Coulombe of Our Lady of Sorrows School. The program was launched
in 1998, with the support of the Edith Lando Foundation, to help
children, especially those who lack self-esteem or who have trouble
getting along with others at school, to explore their individual
strengths and special talents, learn how to cooperate, and respect
themselves and others.
"There are lots of ways to be 'smart' but schools traditionally
focus on academic intelligence," Hymel says. "At CampUS,
the idea is for kids to try different things to see what they may
be good at."
For two weeks in August students aged eight to 12 from schools
around the Lower Mainland head to Bowen Island to attend the day
camp where they take part in art, drama, music, and other creative
and outdoor activities designed to teach them about empathy and
emotions and get them thinking about the consequences of their behaviour.
"Many of these are tough kids," say Hymel of the campers.
"The beauty of the program is that campers come from different
schools, and work with others they don't know, so their reputations
don't follow them. They get a fresh start."
Guided by UBC faculty and graduate students, campers hone their
social skills on projects like filmmaking where they work together
to develop multiple-ending movies on real life situations they have
encountered at school.
Last year, campers created a movie called "Life in a Trash
Can" about a kid who kept being dumped into a garbage can by
an older boy. They filmed three possible endings: out-bully the
bully; tell the principal; or catch the bully on video tape, and
take the evidence to those who can help get him into counseling.
The movie becomes a way of learning social problem solving, Hymel
says, and the camp becomes a place where UBC students and faculty
learn effective ways to help children.