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New approach to kids camp Robert Moreno | Sat, Feb 22 2014 12:00 PM

The 5-year-old camper retaliated by throwing a wad of sand at her counselor.  She did not want to play with the other campers.  She crossed her arms, pouted.

“I don’t want to play anymore,” the camper said.

It may seem like common sense to say children need to learn the consequences of misbehaving as the camper did, but My Village Camps worries more about its kids’ self-esteem.  The thing that triggers the bad behavior is the focus, rather than the behavior itself.

“After some time, talking and understanding she eventually came to watch the group play and started to play herself,” said Maryann Hernandez, owner and founder of My Village Camps.

Hernandez hosted her first pilot camp in spring 2013 and it was well received, she said.  She calls the idea behind the K-6 day camps an “immersion experience”.   That means kids get a hands-on learning experience in an environment that is designed to be fun, nurturing and supportive of individuality.

“Typically when you run children’s programming, it’s just that, a program,” Hernandez said.  “What we like to call ourselves is an experience rather than a program.”

She is new to the camp business, but she is bringing in the help of educators and camp administrators as she gears up for the full launch of My Village Camps this spring break at Salt Creek Recreation Center.

“It helps [kids] be creative and innovate,” she said.  “All we want to do is create ‘the magic’.  We want them to believe in themselves.  It’s that minute that they start to believe is when the change happens.”

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