Kupugani’s Version of Challenge by Choice
At Kupugani, our child development philosophy is based in large part on the concept of “Challenge by Choice,” meaning that campers participate voluntarily in various activities and challenges of our team building program and other aspects of camp life. A camper may choose to sit out an activity, with that right respected by other campers and counselors. An integral tenet of our camp community respects the individual’s right to choose with regard to the degree of participation in any activity. Campers are empowered by taking personal responsibility for their choices; indeed, sometimes a camper can grow more by occasionally refusing to participate, rather than unthinkingly or resentfully feeling forced to participate.
That said, at the same time, a core Kupugani principle is to empower oneself by challenging oneself to stretch and grow. We generally encourage and support active engagement and giving 100% effort. So, where a skilled, experienced counselor-facilitator knows the participant well, that facilitator may make the intentional child development choice to facilitate an activity to entice the camper to participate.
A key goal of each camp session is for campers to accomplish something (could be physical, psychological, emotional, or psychosocial) that the camper wouldn’t have thought they could do before camp. By overcoming that challenge, the camper gets that gleam in their eyes, having learned firsthand that they can do what previously might have seemed impossible to them. We’re also sure to have campers approach those “impossible” situations incrementally; instead of being overwhelmed, they can experience success in stages and build themselves progressively.