Towering Pines Blog

Explore chores . . . not a bore!!

Posted by on May 8, 2022

It’s important to keep personal space tidy!

Summer is going to be here before we know it, which means . . . drumroll . . . it’s time for summer camp!!  When thinking about camp preparations for both new and veteran campers, one of the things that is a big part of our daily routines at Towering Pines Camp for Boys is camp chores.  Now, often times when jobs or chores are brought up to kids (And even adults–I’m guilty as charged), you may get the ever famous “eyeroll” or the deep sigh which might turn into persistent complaining.

Spiffy up your shared spaces, fellas!

We tend to approach things a bit differently when it comes to chores at camp; however, we definitely get the job done.  The focus is on community, respect, responsibility, and yes, even FUN!!  Each cabin has a cabin clean-up chore chart with a daily rotation so kids learn how to do all jobs and share in the responsibility. Some tasks take more effort than others, but the chart creates a greater sense of equity.  As a blog post from Camp Kennolyn  shared, “. . . another camper had this chore yesterday, and someone else will have to do it tomorrow.”  This puts the focus on team effort and encourages positive participation.

Each day a CIT (Counselor in Training) is responsible for checking the cabins and rating their cleanliness and neatness in several categories.  This process is not only part of the leadership training program for the older campers, but it also holds the younger boys accountable for doing their best to take care of their shared space.  Not every completed task needs a tangible reward; however, it can be fun to offer incentives for doing a job and doing it well.  The cabin that has the highest score for the week is announced at campfire, and that group celebrates its efforts with a trip to Cathy’s for ice cream!!  Now that’s what we call a sweet reward!

Spectacular steward of the day!!

Tidying up cabin table area after meal time!

There is a priority placed on sharing responsibility for clean-up during meal time as well.  This behavior is modeled by the senior leadership team and counselors and passed on all the way to the youngest campers. Without this shared philosophy, the dining hall could be chaotic, and well, a mess!!  Campers help pass plates along to counselors who serve as scrapers and also sort dishes onto carts which ensures a bit easier clean up for the kitchen staff. Boys also assist in wiping off their cabin table after meal time. The steward assists the kitchen in cleaning up serving dishes, sanitizing tables, and monitoring the overall cleanliness of the dining room.  Each cabin leaves a “sweeper” to tidy up their designated table area, and the steward does quality control before excusing them.  Again, the focus is on teaching and follow through so that the boys learn the importance of a job done well.

Learning the importance of taking care of equipment!

Everyone is responsible to keep shared spaces picked up!

Another place at camp that focuses on accountability and responsibility is in the activity areas.  There are so many little things that one might not notice at first glance but that are an important part of participating in an activity.  Taking care of the equipment makes it much easier to start the activity on time, encourages active play and is necessary for reaching goals.  Making sure the equipment is in working order and learning how to fix things, when possible, is a part of living within our camp community.  Tidying up after a class so that the next group can start on time teaches respect for others.  Camp Alleghany shares a similar perspective, “In activities, little things that might not gain notice, like hanging life jackets and hauling up canoes, gathering tennis balls or properly stacking archery bows are part of the equipment care that counselors pass on to campers and which governs the treatment of supplies during the camp season.”

We are very fortunate to live in the beautiful environment we do while in our camp home; therefore, there is an emphasis placed on being good stewards of this shared space.  It is not only about keeping litter picked up and the overall appearance of camp, but it is also about the importance of respecting nature.  Trash that is left around camp can affect the wildlife that shares our camp community.  We instill in campers, counselors and all of our camp community, that each individual has an impact on the ecosystem and our natural surroundings.  Again, there are so many opportunities at camp to grasp teachable moments within the fun of camp activities and adventures.

Respect nature always so that camp remains a beautiful space!!

With camp only a few short weeks away, it is a terrific time to incorporate chores into your child’s daily routines at home as well.  This truly does help your child to become aware of jobs needing to be done, to develop skills to complete tasks, to promote the importance of responsibility, and to understand the importance of his role as a part of a community, family, or team.  There are ideas and suggestions from the resources below for how to set up a system for your family and ways to make it fun!  Camp, school and home all play an integral part in helping your child develop their total education.  It’s the team approach!!

We would love for your son to experience the amazing opportunities Towering Pines Camp for Boys has to offer.  Limited spaces are available so please apply now!!

Angie Ziller

  • Camp Mom at TP
  • Leadership Staff at TP/Office Manager
  • Marketing TP/Woodland
  • Leadership Team TP/Woodland
  • Assistant Waterfront Director at Woodland
  • Counselor at Woodland
  • “Building in our hearts fond memories, Towering Pines for you.”

Thank you to the following sources:

** written by  — Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls

** — author unknown

** — Sarah Luft, Brand Associate, Marketing & Communications, Serious Fun Children’s Network

** — Brenda, Camp Echo Lake Trail