Fair Play Camp School’s primary objective is to teach boys life skills. Our approach to helping a boy change his behavior is to develop internal controls and character. In our attempt to affect change in a boy there are four foundational skills that we build into the life of a group. These four cornerstones are structures and routines, plans, problem solving, and evaluation. If a boy makes these things a part of his daily life, his chances for success are dramatically increased.
Structure & Routine
One of our first objectives in helping a boy is to bring order to his life. This is accomplished through helping a boy learn to take care of himself, i.e., personal hygiene, making a bed, sweeping a tent, raking a trail. Through these activities a boy develops the trust and confidence to begin looking at the chaos in his inner life. This helps him address the emotional and spiritual issues that keep him from being at peace with himself and others.
A problem for many of the boys who come to Fair Play Camp School is impulsiveness. We want to help a boy learn to think clearly about how his decisions impact his life and the life of his group, not only for the present but for the future as well. Once a week the whole group sits down and plans out in detail what they will do the next week. These plans include fun, adventure, and work activities which need to be accomplished for their own welfare.
Constructive problem solving is one of the most important skills a boy needs for the rest of his life. Living in a group requires a boy to learn the skill of problem solving in order to function. When a problem comes up in a group, the whole group stops what they are doing, circles up, and talks about the situation until there is a resolution. In this way a boy learns to solve real life situations in the context of when it happened and with whom it happened. When problems are worked through in a constructive way like this, it actually builds relationships, rather than continuing the destructive cycles from unsolved problems.
Evaluation is a big part in the process of helping a boy learn to put a word on what he is feeling. To be able to do this in a positive way, without acting it out, or even just internalizing, is so important to developing healthy relationship skills. Evaluation happens many times a day as a group stops what they are doing, and talks about what they have accomplished. At the end of every day the group has a “pow-wow” which is an opportunity for every boy to give expression to his feelings about the activities of the day and the impact on his life personally and the group as a whole.