In a little over a month, children will start crossing the bridge for a life-changing experience and we cannot wait to welcome them! We’ve spent the past several months interviewing staff and students, making cabin groups, planning Orientation Week, and making sure we have all of the supplies we need to be ready on July 5.
Getting ready to kick off this summer started last July, and has been informed and influenced by thoughtful feedback coming from Wediko Summer Program staff alumni. Whether their last summer was 2015, 2005, or 1955, we are grateful for the continued investment in a program near and dear to so many.
As a result, we’re excited to announce what’s in store for the 2016 Wediko Summer Program.
Much like in previous summers, the Wediko Summer Program will continue investing in helping children build critical living skills to support their success post-Wediko (positive self-care, respectful communication, active listening, etc). To further support these initiatives, we’ve taken a step back to help frame five key program values that best embody the work that the Wediko Summer Program has always done so well.
- Fun – any summer student or staff from Wediko’s 82 year history can attest to the importance of fun in our work. We are excited to name it as a core value and continue our investment in bringing the most enjoyable summer experience we can!
- Honesty – during their interviews, students identify their personal goals for the summer. Through honest self-reflection and feedback (checklists and behavior labeling), they get to see these goals become real!
- Grit – Spending 45 days away from home can be challenging for students and staff. This program requires and grows one’s ability to persevere through life’s biggest curveballs.
- Ubuntu – There is a special bond that comes through the Wediko Summer Program. From orientation, to group formation, to the highest highs and lowest lows, we support one another as one tribe, one community, one family; in Ubuntu.
- Safety – Stepping onto a 450-acre campus with many unfamiliar faces can be a scary experience for staff and students. Physical and emotional safety provides the foundation for exploring, trying, failing, persevering, and growing together.
These same values frame our staff interviews and will be the focus for Orientation Week and our July 5 Opening Day Ceremony.
Online Family Work
The Wediko Summer Program has always been about building mastery and we continue to find different ways to support skill-building for staff, students, and families. This summer, we will offer families an online video series focused on building skills to support their child(ren) when they return home. A child’s home environment greatly impacts their gains post-Wediko, so we are expanding our support of families to further support them and their child’s gains. Through the online series, we are helping families recognize and support their own stress levels to build parenting competence and confidence.
Mastery Levels for Activities
Our activities program serves as a way to take risks in trying new things, build skills, and have fun. We have identified five levels of mastery for each of this summer’s activities. We will recognize students as they gain new skills in more concrete ways. Skill levels build upon safety and basic skill demonstration until students can actually lead an activity on their own! We love the levels because students will be able to track their own progress! Feedback and gaining extra incentives will also help students stick with activities that may be more challenging, so that they can experience that success.
Keep an eye out as the summer progresses; we will continue posting updates and happenings to share all the good work happening! And, while we’re itching for Summer 2016 to get started, we’re also thinking ahead to Summer 2017 – what we want to do to prepare, new goals, etc. If you’d like to be involved in quarterly Alumni Council meetings to hear updates and give feedback or suggestions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, any questions or thoughts can be directed to the same address.
Mik & Jess