- Providing our campers with the opportunities to gain knowledge and develop or improve skills is a program priority. All the camp activities stress fundamentals, beginning with safety. As they master the fundamentals, each child progresses — at his/her pace — to more challenging skills. These daily activities are non-competitive, in that each child competes only with him/herself.
- Most Camp Buckskin activities are taught in small groups with a staff ratio of 1:3 or better. This provides ample staff time for individual instruction and interaction. The staff employs a variety of approaches and teaching methods, endeavoring to teach each child in the style in which he/she learns best to maximize their gains.
- Reading — with its emphasis on reading, writing, and organizational skills — may be the most important single activity we teach. However, it is the cumulative effect of successes in all the activities and areas of camp that produces the child’s feeling of accomplishment — and growth.
- Activities are divided into three areas:
ARCHERY & RIFLERY
Campers spend half the session in archery and the other half in riflery. Campers are not allowed to handle the bow and arrow or BB gun until they pass the safety test for that activity. Once they pass this test, they can then begin target shooting.
In archery, campers begin shooting at targets 10 yards away. As they pass through the levels they can shoot at more challenging distances of 15 or even 20 yards. The various levels are achieved as the campers improve their abilities to focus and concentrate, which results in higher scores on their targets, but also in improved self control.
In riflery, campers begin shooting with a BB gun at targets 25 feet away. Once they demonstrate proficiency, they have the opportunity to move up to the .22 rifle and shoot at a target 50 feet away. As in archery, levels are passed as the individuals achieve increasingly higher scores on their targets. Both Archery and Riflery staff are trained in range procedures, safety regulations, signals and commands, proper care for and usage of the equipment.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Arts and crafts is the only activity that doesn’t use a formal level system. Instead, the staff encourages the campers to use their creative talents in completing projects that develop both their individual artistic expression as well as their cooperation skills. Projects could include drawings, murals, paintings, nature collages, origami, and paper mache projects. Friendship bracelets, lanyards, jewelry making, and tie dying are also popular.
Each camper also creates a design and then paints the canoe paddle he/she earned in canoeing. Camper art work is often displayed in the dining hall and “Artists of the Day” are recognized each day at lunch and dinner.
CANOEING Before going out on the water the campers are taught the basic safety rules. They also learn the different parts of the canoe, paddle, and practice various bow and stern strokes on land. Once these fundamentals are mastered then campers practice their skills in the water. When they pass their first level, they earn their own canoe paddle to decorate in Arts and Crafts and to take home. They also earn the privilege of paddling with another camper without staff.
The advanced levels require refinement of the basic abilities and then mastery of more challenging skills including new strokes, paddling solo, and portaging. The canoeing staff is comprised of certified lifeguards and trained canoe instructors.
NATURE & ENVIROMENTAL STUDIES
This activity helps campers develop an appreciation and respect for the great outdoors. The curriculum includes components from a number of the natural sciences. Campers learn about the water cycle, the relationship between predator and prey, and stewardship for the environment (reduce, reuse, recycle). They become familiar with many of the animals, plants, and trees in our north woods area.
Campers are instructed in outdoor survival skills such as shelter building, knot tying, outdoor cooking, and orienteering. We also have lessons with topics from the fields of astronomy, metrology, and geology. The staff uses a combination of discussions, games, and hands on activities to help campers learn. Progress throughout the various levels is based on demonstration of acquired skill and knowledge.
Camp Buckskin’s reading activity is a multi-purpose individualized program that focuses on reading, writing, and organizational skills. The goal is to enhance skills and improve attitudes towards reading, writing, and learning in general. At the beginning of the session, each camper is given a formal reading inventory (word identification and reading compression assessment) to determine their level of achievement, and then assigned to a small reading group.
Our teachers write formal skill contracts for each camper based on specific goals supplied by his or her school or tutor. These goals may be specific objectives taken directly from the child’s Individualized Education Plan. When the child completes these contract goals, which are of a short duration, then he/she moves to the next contract level.
Teachers use a variety of instructional approaches and strategies. This methodology combined with our unique setting can provide a very educational and motivational learning experience for each child.
Campers receive individual instruction based on the Red Cross swimming and water safety curriculum. At the beginning of the session, each camper is tested to assess their current ability level. Those with less experience or who are not as comfortable in the water are given support to build confidence in learning basic swimming fundamentals and techniques.
Experienced swimmers are challenged to complete more advanced levels that help them refine their strokes and build their endurance. Our swim staff consists of certified lifeguards and trained swim instructors. All campers swim with a buddy and safety is emphasized at all times.