At Starfish, we know that being recognized for effort is just as important as being recognized for achievement. For some campers, achievement at high levels in a single activity area is a great source of pride. For other campers, participating in a range of activities and trying new things is a goal. No matter what the intention, the Tag↑Up program allows campers to see tangible results of their time and effort, provides a chance for campers to mentor others and opens up avenues of conversation surrounding shared interests - a key social skill.
Each activity area at camp has a set of levels which we call "Tags." When campers achieve new levels, they receive recognition at an all-camp gathering and receive a small "Tag" to add to their collection. Staff also record Tag achievements in camper records and a copy of their Tag is hung on the TagBoard where it becomes part of a permanent display for all of camp to see. Each activity area also has special rituals for Tag Achievement - for example, at the waterfront, everyone stops and sings a congratulations song!
Click any image below to learn more about our Tag↑Up program!
|Read the introduction and details behind the Tag↑Up program.|
|Check out this picture-grid of all currently available Tags, separated by activity area. Don't see one that looks interesting? Well, we try new things at camp, so maybe you will too... or, you can create your own!|
|Each Tag has what we call a Tag Guide - a corresponding master explanation for how each of its six levels can be earned. Some campers like to read over this info; others get the information verbally from counselors or in a simpler text format which shows one level at a time. Click to view the Tag Guide for the Learning Center - Experiments.|
Tag↑Up is about personal motivation, not about competition.
One of the most-used Starfish tools is "we try our best, we don't have to be the best." During staff training, we teach it as "we honor attitude over aptitude." Positive encouragement for effort, attitude, intention and honest work are always recognized and rewarded. Some of the Tags our first-year campers will find most appealing are ones they earn without conscious action - such as trying 10 new camp activities. As campers transition upwards through Pioneers, Navigators, and into the teen programs, opportunities to "Create Your Own Tag" open up to encourage pursuit of individual interests, and older campers have opportunities to mentor new campers working to achieve tags they themselves received years before.