Traditions To Build On

Campers may choose to participate in the following programs offered at our sleep over camps that encourage them to take pride in their accomplishments and build upon past successes, from day to day and year to year.

I’m Third

I’m Third is a program that recognizes sleep over campers who live the “I’m Third” way, putting themselves third behind their faith and others. Each day at breakfast campers are nominated by staff for acting in the “I’m Third” way. Nominees come to the front of the dining hall to be recognized by their friends. The staff then meets to select one from of those nominated as the best example of “I’m Third” for that day.  The campers gets to flip the “I’m Third” sign from the side that says “I’m Third” to the side that says “MAKE A DIFFERENCE!” Their name is added to the “I’m Third” roster for the week.  At the week’s closing camp fire they are given an “I’m Third” bracelet as a remembrance of this honor.

Passport to Adventure

Resident campers are encouraged to track the programs, activities and milestones they have accomplished at camp through our Passport to Adventure program. Throughout their stay, campers fill their passport as they successfully complete any one of over 100 different activities in the following categories: character development, exploration, skill development, stewardship, adventure, camp spirit, camp games and others challenges. Additionally, campers are recognized at different levels along the way with a special bracelet. There is also a space in the “Passport to Adventure” for each child to record special memories and friends. The passport becomes both a memento of past experiences and a way to look forward to next year’s adventures!

YMCA Ragger Program

raggers“Raggers” is a seven-stage progressive program of spiritual and personal growth that involves peer counseling and the awarding of bandanas, called “rags” to emphasize their symbolic, rather than material value. The program is open to campers ages 12 and older who select a mentor from among the staff members who are also Raggers. While each camper develops his/her own goals, each level (rag) challenges the individual to deeper personal awareness and growth.  While based in Christian values, the program can be adapted to other belief systems.

YMCA Leathers Program

“Leathers” is a three-stage progressive program for younger campers, ages 9 -11, who wish to grow in mind, body and spirit.  At each level campers set individual goals and work with staff to complete them. Each of the levels is mark by the awarding a different shaped Leather: a triangle (to grow in body, mind and spirit), a square (to grow in body, mind, spirit and friendship), and a circle (to expand their circle of concern).  Though not required, the Leathers program is often a lead into Raggers Program.

Closing Ceremony

At Camp Shand, each week of sleep over camp concludes with a special camp fire ceremony, attended by all. On their way to the camp fire, each camper picks up a small rock.  After listening to the traditional story of Chief Pokagon, they are told that they have a choice as they get ready to leave camp.  They can remember the things that were hard and uncomfortable or they can remember the good things – the friends they made, the new skills they learned, the obstacles they overcame, the silly songs, the games, and so on. They are then told to think of one special memory of the week and put it into their rock. As a way of becoming part of the history and memory of Camp Shand, they then toss the rock into the lake.  The camp fire then closes with the song “Linger:”

I want to linger… a little longer… a little longer here with you

It’s such a prefect night… It doesn’t feel quite right… that it should be my last with you.

And come September… I will remember… Our camping days and friendships true

And as the years go by…I’ll think of you and sigh…This is farewell and to good bye.