Why This Redesigned Summer Camp Put Kids in Charge

In the experience of children, the whole world is constructed around what's convenient for adults: Speak when you’re spoken to, you must be this tall to ride this ride and, of course, the school bell rings at 8 a.m. Typical summer camps are no exception. Children are grouped by age, assigned to a counselor, and move around a set of activities in a rotation. Is this because that is the most enriching, stimulating, rewarding experience people can possibly imagine for their kids? Or just because it's the easiest logistically?

Back in 1980, Steve Susskind was pretty sure it was the latter. He decided that this age-old system wasn't serving anyone, and set out to create a different kind of summer camp. This is how Steve & Kate’s Camp was born. And 33 years later, a growing number of parents and kids are finding that the differences are crucial. Instead of pre-selecting activities, campers start with a foundation of freedom to choose—literally from minute to minute—what they're doing from an array of activities.

If they want to spend the entire day making a stop-motion animation or figuring out how to make the ultimate spaghetti sauce, no one will force them to do anything else. But with an inflatable soccer stadium, audio recording booths, a dance studio, and a rotating array of special attractions like water slides and climbing walls offered every day, most campers end up sampling a variety of experiences and even discovering new loves.

If play is the work of children, then this is a dream job for them. Campers are free to play with older or younger siblings and friends. But they also encounter a challenge that's unique to free, self-directed play: negotiation. This might sound like a paradox in the context of freedom, but consider the social situation. If you want to play with a friend, but the friend wants to do a different activity, there’s going to be a give and take. Maybe it involves the sharing of time. Or maybe it means going your own way and meeting up later. This is an emotionally sophisticated planning function, and kids so rarely have a chance to practice it.

The camp wasn’t designed to create these social opportunities, but they emerge from the core value of giving kids free choice. The camp has seen many changes over the years, and will continue to be a work in progress. The design team is always looking for new activities and ways of presenting them. One thing that’s unquestionable, however, is the commitment to making the camp conform to kids—and not the other way around.

Image courtesy Steve and Kate's Camp

Join the GOOD community in Organizing an Office Recess—and to create your own game. Click here to say you'll DO it, and get tips on creating your own game from this toolkit.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News