From August 5 through the 16th my colleague Mia Bertram and I brought two groups of kids together, each with us for a week, to be a part of a pretty special summer camp. Camp Connect is a program that helps children learn to cultivate relationships, regulate their emotions, express their feelings, ask for what they need all in a spirit of compassion and staying connected to oneself. We use art, music, yoga, play, theater, story-telling, games and more to give children a rich experience and a variety of modalities through which they can express themselves. With two highly trained and experienced play therapists as the facilitators and music therapists, art therapists and yoga teachers as our guests, the kids got a pretty unique level of support. And the changes that we got to witness over the week were amazing.
We observed children going from feeling overwhelmed and dys-regulated in the group setting, to making friends and connecting in meaningful ways. We witnessed kids self-advocating, standing up for themselves and asking for what they needed. Children who struggle to focus and regulate in group settings were doing yoga and learning the inherent value of listening to and staying in their bodies. And the brilliance of these groups of children in working together and coming up with invaluable strategies for expressing emotions (especially the big, hot yucky feelings), staying safe, respecting personal space and more… It was so much fun to watch and learn from these little ones.