What Campers Want and Need

Affection

This comes both from the group and from the leader.  It is achieved through little things: friendliness, praise, and a moment alone.

Security

Campers miss their familiar routines.  Establishing structure will help campers feel secure (familiarity with campgrounds and procedures.)  Consistency in leading will also contribute to a sense of security, as will the establishment of trust.  Fear of being ridiculed or hurt interferes with a camper’s physical coordination.  Reactions may include: stuttering, retreating into a shell, fighting back, criticizing others, or gossiping.

New Experiences

New and different things are exciting for campers. It is important to remember that campers should be able to understand why something is different.

Recognition

Campers want to stand out from the crowd.  When a camper is reluctant to participate in an activity, it may mean that they are afraid they “can’t” or “won’t” do well.

The desire for recognition may cause a camper to misbehave, especially if they are not receiving attention any other way.

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