The Older Camper Program (“OCP”) offers teens the opportunity to participate at camp while experiencing greater choice and a more relaxed structure in their daily program. While enjoying the outdoors and still receiving the individualized support Camp Starfish is known for, teens in the OCP build the independence, social competencies and coping skills that they will need to successfully navigate their upper school years.
Teens who enjoy the camaraderie of making friends, spending time with staff, and in general participating in “camp life” will benefit from the enhanced privileges and freedom of OCP, provided that they can show daily effort in the areas of maturity, decision-making, safety, and respectfulness towards themselves, other campers, and staff. Choosing activities that appeal to them in the moment, earning a later bedtime, having access to their headphones and music during downtime, and the ability to pursue individual areas of enrichment are all part of the OCP curriculum.
Each day, the OCP teens are scheduled to participate in a "Chat" during one activity period. Chats allow teens to discuss and gain confidence in areas relevant to their lives outside camp, including school pressures, social networking, bullying, and more. Previous topics have included bullying, how to know when to follow peers, future careers, school challenges, standing up for what's right, and determining if someone is a "friend" or a "crush."
Throughout the session, staff help teens navigate the co-ed social experience safely and appropriately while maintaining a focus on personal growth. Staff-led nightly cabin meetings also focus on the specific needs and interests of teenagers at this confusing and socially complex age - this time in a single-gender environment. All OCP teens earn priveleges based on a level system - the more they participate, show an effort towards maturity, and focus on their Tools and Keys, the more priveleges they earn.
Younger teens who are chronologically old enough for OCP, but for whom the Chat is not a component of interest in their summer program should consider additional time in the Navigators program.