Summer Camp Program
How is the camp program designed?
The Catalina Island Camps program is designed around a two-week session. During the first week of camp, campers have fun while they become comfortable with the facility, people and camp program. They participate in each camp activity as a cabin group. During the second week of the session, they participate in an overnight of their choice (campers entering 6th grade and above) and choose specific activities that they’d like to explore further. The CIC program blends individual success with group participation.
Our program intentionally gives campers the opportunities to grow and learn new skills as they participate in their cabin group, the camp community and camp activities.
What do the campers do the first week of camp?
During a camper’s first week at CIC, activities are scheduled by cabin group to provide an introduction to each activity. There are four 80-minute activity periods each day, two after breakfast and two after lunch. In addition to scheduled activities, campers have time to play recreational sports and relax with their friends. Each day finishes with an evening activity, either with the whole camp together or in smaller, more reflective groups. Campfires, games, movies and dances are some of the highlights of an evening program.
What do campers do the second week of camp?
We begin the second week with the overnight on Monday and Tuesday. The 3rd through 5th graders stay in camp (they love being the only ones in camp!) for special overnight activities. The rest of camp goes on one of three or four overnights. Campers select an overnight that matches their interest based on location, program and type and length of hike. Campers sleep under the stars, help prepare meals, learn Leave No Trace outdoor ethics and get to know campers from other cabins. Hikes range from 3 miles to 15 miles. Four-week campers have the option of a day trip to Avalon instead of a second overnight.
On Wednesday campers begin their badgework. Campers submit their top choices for activities and our directors create a schedule that includes as many of those activities as possible. The two-week session culminates on Sunday with the Awards Banquet where campers are recognized for their accomplaishments. The evening finishes with Closing campfire including many great CIC traditions.
What is Badgework?
Badgework is an opportunity for skill development in activities. It is also a time where boys and girls of all ages come together to do activities, increasing their circle of friends at camp. Badgework activities include sailing, skin diving, water-skiing, wakeboarding and kneeboarding, kayaking, stand up paddling, hiking, climbing, ropes course, archery, gardening, tide pooling, riflery and photo journalism.
Each activity has four levels of skill development (white, red, blue and gold). Campers earn stars as they develop new skills in each activity. Campers can place their stars on their “CIC Year Pennant” (a triangular flag) they receive for each year they attend camp. As campers earn more stars they are awarded “CIC Burgees” (a two pointed flag). CIC Year Pennants and Award Burgees are suitable for flying on a flagpole or hanging on a bedroom wall. Hung together, Year Pennants and Award Burgees create a history of the camper’s years at CIC.
What if a camper doesn’t want to participate in an activity?
At Catalina Island Camps we use the philosophy of Challenge by Choice. While we hope that the activities at camp will be exciting to all campers, our experience is that some campers have hesitation towards one or more camp activities. During staff orientation camp staff is given many tools for encouraging campers to participate in activities.
Campers are never forced to participate in camp activities. We do have a minimum standard of participation for all camp activities, which includes putting on any equipment used for the activity and following the basic instructions of the instructors. Usually, through positive encouragement and preparation to participate, campers will try an activity. Our instructors are trained to allow a child the option to not participate if the camper has gone through the minimum standards of participation.
What do you teach about the environment?
Catalina Island is a fantastic place to develop an appreciation of the natural environment. Our nature program focuses campers’ attention on the unique ecosystem of Howlands Landing. We stress the connections between plants and animals and the relationship between humans and the environment and our need to be stewards to preserve our special place in the world. Campers also participate in composting and the vegetable and native plant garden.
Our relationship with Jean-Michel Cousteau and the Ocean Futures Society has brought to CIC the years of experience and knowledge of one of the world’s leading supporters of the ocean environment. Catalina Island Camps school year Catalina Environemntal Leadership Program is part of the Ocean Futures Ambassadors of the Environment (www.aote.org) Together, Ocean Futures and CIC are working to open eyes to the secret world of the ocean, so that the next generation will protect this precious resource.
Catalina Island Camps also teaches campers to use daily practices to reduce, reuse and recycle. Living on an island, we are acutely aware of what materials we bring into camp and what trash we ship back to the mainland to go into landfills, what resources we use on the island and what efforts we can use to minimize our ecological footprint.