The benefits of summer camps for youth at risk: a circle of courage framework
SubjectResearch Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education; Summer camp; Child-centered; Play; At-risk; Circle of Courage
In our ever-growing and fast-paced world, there are fewer and fewer spaces where children are afforded the opportunities to simply play. Schools and other child-centered spaces where children are supposed to be able to engage in self-exploration and creativity are becoming more and more catered to adults (Ginsburg, 2007). Although all children are suffering the consequences, youth at risk suffer at a disproportionate level (Brendtro, Brokenleg, & Van Bockern et al. 2002)... Summer camp is often defined as more than a place where children can go for a certain amount of time, and more so as an intentional community where children obtain skills and benefits in their cognitive, behavioral, physical, social, and emotional development (Povilaitis & Klee 4 Tamminen, 2017). Focusing on youth at risk is especially important in measuring the positive aspects of summer camp as this population faces greater difficulties than youth not at risk. Brendtro et al. 2002 intentionally use the term “youth at risk” to remove blame and shame rhetoric when referring to youth who are impacted by environmental hazards including poverty, substance abuse, and violence. This way, the focus is on their environment and shifts the focus from blaming the individual, to encouraging consideration of the greater social ailments youth may be facing...The Circle of Courage defines belonging, independence, mastery, and generosity as four areas to help youth develop their strengths and identify needs (Brendtro et al. 2002). Through the employment of these quadrants, the Circle of Courage can be used as a tool to identify destructive relationships, climates of futility, learned irresponsibility, and the loss of purpose as factors that prohibit youth from developing strengths in the four areas (Brendtro et al. 2002). This particular framework based on Native American philosophy provides a powerful alternative in the approach to education and youth development, placing youth at risk at the forefront of care.
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