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Kabeyun's program hasthree main emphases, with a strong instructional focus in all areas:
In four weeks – the minimum amount of time a boy is at Kabeyun – boys have a chance to explore new interests and to delve more deeply into activities they learn to love. Every summer we see lifelong passions begin to develop as boys set goals, work through skill sets, complete projects of their own design, and complete back country challenges. Because he is in charge of his daily plan, each boy determines the timing and the pace of his exploration.
Our activity menu is designed to give each boy opportunities for success in areas where he may not have imagined venturing; and to vary each day according to his readiness for learning. Instructional groups are small – typically four boys in a group – with opportunities for one-to-one coaching and instruction. As they gain the required skills that lead to competence, they are positioned as teachers and coaches for their fellow campers.
As breakfast andlunch wrap up in the dining hall, the bell rings and we review the activity choices they have for the upcoming two periods. Usually there are between 16 and 20 different offerings, ranging from the everyday favorites like sailing, tennis, pottery, archery, fishing, and waterskiing, to the more unusual and occasional – "canoe battle royale" and lumberjacking. Boys raise their hands for the activities that they are most interested in, and with help and guidance from counselors, set their course for the morning or afternoon ahead. There are no limits to which activities he can select – all boys, at all ages and all abilities, can choose from Kabeyun's entire lineup of options.
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We pay alot of attention to recognizing accomplishments, large and small - a boy learns that to try is to succeed, and success is the path to competence and confidence. When he hears the celebratory cheers of the rest of the community he knows he is an important part of something larger than himself. For the boys, Kabeyun is a blast, but we know it means more to a life than mere fun and entertainment.
People often askhow we spend rainy days at camp. One thing we do not do is plug in groups of kids to watch videos. Kabeyun is intended to offer boys an experience different from what they have access to at home. The activity program continues in all weather, with the addition of dam building in our stream, or mud soccer; shelter building, or swamp walks. Examples of indoor activities include storytelling, writing for the camp newspaper, knot-tying, chess, and ping-pong tournaments.
There is a creative spirit that pervades our program and underlies the regular activities. Counselors, while skilled and experienced in their particular areas, are free to bring their own personal touch to their programs, occasionally offering new activities not written into the catalog. In this way we see juggling and diving instruction; yoga and Tai-Chi; extreme croquet, water salsa dancing, water chess, gardening...