It may seem silly to say, but there really aren’t ‘new’ campers at the Aloha Foundation. We adhere to a philosophy predicated on community, inclusivity, and friendship, which allows new campers to instantly feel like they are a part of something. While we acknowledge that every child is different and may take time to warm up, our camper/counselor ratio, our culture of kindness, and our retention rate of campers and counselors provide the framework for a camper to feel comfortable stepping outside their comfort zone to meet new people, try new activities, and begin the process of having the summer of their life!
At the Aloha camps, our culture of safety and acceptance allows us to be vulnerable and to take both physical and emotional risks. Our core philosophies provide campers with the ability to experiment with sides of themselves, often hidden, that they might not reveal elsewhere. In a camper’s willingness to perform in front of friends, in the way that counselors ask each other for honest and critical feedback, and in the way that both counselors and campers are willing to show emotion to one another, genuine openness is lived and learned. Being vulnerable is the foundation of transformative trust.
We strive to be people that go out of their way to provide time, energy, love, and support in every moment of the camp day. Generosity is infectious, affecting how everyone in the community sees themselves. Whether it takes the form of a camper asking a cabin/shack mate, “How can I help?”, a counselor skipping their free time to help a struggling camper with a difficult swimming stroke, or a hiking group walking more slowly to make it easier for one of their friends to keep up, true generosity allows us to become fuller and finer people while also helping others. Happiness is a by-product of love and service, and both involve giving people more than they expect, over and over again.