|Developing kids with character|
Guardian Lifestyles Reporter
Published: Jul 18, 2012
Activities like art, sports and drama may be the draw for parents when they determine which summer camp to send their children to, and at Meridian School’s Adventure Camp, they are among the list of activities, but it’s at this camp that children are also taught to be mannerly and respectable citizens.
Honesty, integrity, respect, discipline and responsibility are character traits that the 100-plus campers learn daily at the camp under the theme “Character Count” as instructors teach children that they should strive to be people of character, no matter their age.
From the littlest two-year-old camper to the older and more mature 12-year-olds finding ways to incorporate character building exercises in their daily activities is critical according to camp facilitator, Terez Cleare. She said while children want to have fun, teaching them something they can use in school and at home in the future was also key at their camp.
“Teaching the children how to be people of character early in life is key to their growth and development,” said Cleare. “We can never have too much character and it’s important for parents and teachers to really push their students to be responsible and respectful now rather than later. During the school year we normally ensure to teach students how to be honest and accountable for their actions, and we are doing the same thing in our summer camp because we want them not only to be academically bright, but also to have character.”
For 10-year-old Ethan Moss who has attended the camp since it started on June 25, learning to be a more caring, respectful and responsible individual is a key reason he likes attending the camp, which ends on July 27.
“I’ve been to this camp for a while now and I like how much we are encouraged to respect one another and be better people generally. I like that so much of what we do, we can use in our daily lives and we can learn now to be better in school, at home and around friends. I like the character games and activities we do because they really make the camp different,” said Ethan.
But just like any other summer camp there are many fun aspects of it that have students geared up to attend from day-to-day.
Eight-year-old Ishan Roy, a fourth grade student at Queen’s College is excited about the swimming classes at the Meridian camp. He said he wants to use the skills he is learning to swim at home.
“I really like the different things at the camp like the drama, art and computer, but I really like the swimming classes the most. My mom will let me swim in a pool that is nine feet deep by myself if I can learn to swim, so I am really excited about that. I am learning everything I can,” he said.
Being able to dramatize and express herself in the drama and media classes is what grabs 10-year-old Meghan Rolle about the camp and makes her look forward to summer school everyday. The Tambearly student said she likes that she doesn’t have to be limited by what she can do.
Having something different to do daily is what keeps 10-year-old Johnathan Weech motivated.He likes that the camp is not just sports or academics based. He said it is great to be able to do other things he normally doesn’t do like art, drama and swimming.
“We play kick ball and basketball and I have so much fun. I would really tell other kids to come here too because you can learn so much and have fun in so many ways,” said Weech.
But to keep the balance of academics and fun, the camp also offers academic classes daily to keep students on top of their studies. The teachers aim to make learning fun and most of the time the students are not aware they are learning because of the creativity of the facilitators.
“We know how important it is to keep students academically focused during the long summer break, so this is why a lot of our activities are academically based as well,” said Cleare. “For instance we may get students to use the computer — which they love, and while they think they are playing around they are doing activities that will help them in their reading, computer skills and other areas of their academics. We get students to improve their writing by telling them to write essay or dramas on topics they like. They get so caught up creating their characters they don’t notice their writing is improving, and they aren’t as out of touch when school reopens,” she said.
At the end of the day Cleare feels that parents should be able to see that their children have not slacked off academically, physically or in terms of their manners because the camp attacks all of these areas. The holistic approach to the camp engages the students and prepares them in more ways than one to face the world, and be individuals people would love to know.
To show parents the character activities conducted in the camp as well as how students interpreted the different character traits, a movie depicting student efforts and activities will be aired on Thursday, July 27 at the Galleria Cinemas on John F. Kennedy Drive. People interested in seeing the culminating project of “Character Counts” can contact the school for tickets at 328-1151.