Pacific Camps was designed to give children a safe and engaging way to spend their summer and to give working parents a viable option for reasonable child care that is committed to the welfare of the children. That first summer saw registration grows from 35 to 110 children with an average daily attendance of 38. Our summer program has continued to grow to a registration of over 800. Average daily attendance this past summer was about 500.
In September 1992, Pacific Camps expanded to year round programming with an After School program. Before School care was added in January 1993. This program, too, has seen tremendous growth. Beginning with 13 children in September of 1992, the Before and After School program now registers over 800 children with an average daily attendance of over 400.
In addition to our two main programs, we also have a kindergarten program. This program parallels the half day kindergarten classes held at public schools. Children who attend afternoon classes at public school come to Pacific Camps in the morning and then come back to camp when the public school class has ended. Afternoon sessions are held at Pacific Camps for morning public school kindergartners as well.
Our camp has full-day programming whenever school is closed during the school year. We run a Christmas camp and an Easter or Spring break camp. When a local school has a teacher in-service day, camp runs all day for those children affected. With the exception of major holidays, if school is closed, camp is open.
From its inception, Pacific Camps has been committed to investing in children. With an adult to child ratio of about 1 to 12, counselors are trained to discern and meet individual needs. Building one to one adult child relationships is at the foundation of this investment. Programmed activities are geared to lend to this relationship building.
During the Summer Day camp, the campers are divided into teams of about 12-15 children with an assigned counselor. About 1/3 of each day is spent in structured activities that do not involve team assignment. Campers are able to choose from many different activities, such as arts and crafts, games and sports and many other options. Each activity is overseen by one or more staff counselors allowing children to interact with adults not assigned to their team. This give counselors and campers a chance to build relationships on the basis of personality and emotional need.
About 1/3 of each day is give for free time. Each camp facility varies, but each one is equipped with basketball hoops, four square courts and hop scotch. A jump rope can usually be seen at work. Many card and checker games are played during free time. Electronic and computer sized pocket games are not allowed a camp. Staff counselors are with the children at all times during their free time. This is, in fact, the most productive time for counselors to interact with children on a one-to-one basis. Many times a counselor can be seen sitting and talking with one or two children during free time.
The structure for the Before and After School program is more focused than Summer Day Camp. A major portion of each afternoon can be spent in the homework room, which is separated from the main camp area. This room is equipped with children's encyclopedias, maps and other resources. At least one staff counselor is on duty in the room at all times. Tutoring is available as needed. On any given afternoon, other activities may include arts and crafts, games, sports, chapels, indoor board games and occassional children's videos.
At the beginning of Summer Day camp and the Before and After School program, campers are give a set of 20 conduct rules which they are expected to maintain. Most are simple guidelines about what is and is not allowed within and around the camp facility. No gum, no electronic games, no bouncing balls in certain areas are typical of the list of rules. No fighting, swearing, name calling or any aggressive behavior of any type is allowed at camp are rules that address attitude. Children are allowed to be children, while a safe and comfortable environment is maintained for all. Counselors are trained to act in a way that prevents discipline problems before they occur. Disciplinary action is rare and each is documented. A list of these rules will be provided to you.
All Pacific Camps counseling staff attend an annual weekend training session. This training follows a 130 page manual which covers such areas as staff policies and responsibilities, child development, communicating with children, discipline and problem avoidance skills, building self esteem in children and child abuse recognition and response. One of the unique aspects of the Pacific Camps make up is the high percentage of men. Sixy percent of the staff is composed of men in their mid to late 20's. This gives campers the opportunitiy to bond with a strong male role model, which many of these children are missing.