About our Program
We are happy you are considering Camp Onas!
Our camp program is designed to give young people the opportunity to develop independence, problem-solving skills, to build confidence, and heighten their sense of responsibility for themselves and for the world at-large … and we have a lot of fun while we do it!
Our program design is informed by our Mission Statement and the Quaker values of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship, values which are sometimes referred to as the Quaker SPICES.
What does this look like at camp?
- All campers will choose their activities at each of four daily activity periods. We encourage campers to try new things even if they are not their favorite or what they feel they are the best at. Activities are non-competitive and inclusive, and most activities are offered to campers of all ages. Most activities take place in a natural, outdoor setting, and are focused more on people, actions, and creativity than on specialized equipment. Your camper will likely try a variety of activities, and learn several games that require little to no specialized equipment.
- All campers will participate in bunk clean-up and “crews,” taking ownership and responsibility for, and working together, to keep their personal living areas, and our camp facilities clean and orderly. This may include helping to set up and clean up from a meal, walking the grounds and picking up trash, cleaning the showerhouse, sweeping the barn, etc. Your camper will likely return home with a greater sense of their role and responsibility for taking care of their belongings and surroundings.
- All campers will belong to several groups during their time at Camp Onas. Bunks are assigned based on age, and we do not accommodate bunk requests. (We find this encourages making new friends and keeping an open mind about meeting new people). All campers will be assigned a meal table for the first week of the session, and a new table for the second week of the session. Table groups eat all meals together, do “crews” together, and are on the same teams for camp-wide activities and games. Your camper will likely leave camp having made new friends, many of whom are not in their bunk and are older or younger than they are.
- Campers enjoy two hours of unstructured free time each day. They are allowed to be in any of the “on limits” areas of camp, where counselors will be watching them (with concern to safety and appropriate behavior), but not organizing activities for them. This helps to build independence and creativity, and helps campers learn to occupy their time through socializing, playing games, or exploring … this is a wonderful opportunity to learn to avoid boredom without relying on electronics.
- Campers will have the opportunity to participate in some (but not all) limited activities. These are activities where the number of participants needs to be limited to 8 or 12 for practical and/or safety concerns. (Examples include off-camp trips, archery, high ropes and the zip line, and some Arts and Crafts Activities). Not every camper will be selected for every activity, every time. Most campers will get to do 2-3 limited activities per session. They will have to choose those which they will participate in, and may try for activities and not be selected. Your camper will likely leave camp with a better idea of what it means to prioritize choices and how to be assertive when there is something they desire to do or make happen.
- Campers will participate in Quaker meeting on Wednesdays and Sundays. Quaker Meeting for Worship consists of silent worship together, and anyone who feels led to share a message with the group is welcome to do so. There is not a set sermon or program for Quaker Meeting for Worship at Camp Onas. Meeting for Worship can create a deeper connection between people as they sit in silent reflection together, and many campers enjoy this quiet and peaceful shared spiritual experience.
- Campers will live in rustic tents and pavilions, without walls, electricity, or running water. There are canvas flaps that will keep everyone dry if it rains, but the campers will be involved in raising and lowering them, and working together to keep everything in working order. Campers generally experience a strong sense of pride and satisfaction from living in this rustic fashion for an extended period of time, as well as a closeness with nature that is unparalleled. It generally gives them a greater sense of their perseverance, ingenuity, and ability to endure a degree of hardship.