As Aloha Hive’s Director, I am often asked to describe how we create that intangible “magic” that is so powerful for their children. What is it that allows us to send home such happy, confident, resilient children at the end of the summer? Those of us who have experienced Aloha know that it has helped us become the people we are today. How does this happen?
My colleagues and I consistently grapple with the tangibles that go into making magic each summer, but of course these things—like the canoes and the archery targets—are about the place and not the process. What we do know is that we hope that the Aloha camps can become the third leg of the stool for the children we spend our summers with. The first two legs are most familiar—the family and school relationships that play such a huge part of our children growing into themselves. And there is that need to find the powerful third leg—the oh so important ballast that helps our kids sit up straight and tall. Aloha Hive—and all the Aloha Camps and Programs—is one of those places; in fact, it is what we strive for. As I think about this myself, I reflect on my own life experiences working with children; as a mom, a teacher, a school principal, a friend, and of course, as the Director of Hive.
Of course, when I think of my own children, being their mom has been the most important to me! I realized that my relationship with my children laid the foundation for who they would become. Every parent wants their children to gain all of the skills they need to grow up. As parents, we teach our children the important skills (both hard and soft) and values that help them become happy, confident adults.
Then, the day came when they begin the journey of growing and learning without me! We parents will always remember that first morning drop-off—that first time our most precious little people stepped onto the playground and turned to wave goodbye. School brings new relationships with new adults and peers. Lessons learned, friendships formed, struggles encountered, struggles mastered, failures coped with, and personalities beginning to blossom. We try to be intentional about our child’s school experience and relationships for they form their understanding of our children’s’ world—which suddenly, looks much bigger than it did before.
Growing into a new community is challenging and not always within our control. The people we meet in sporting and social events or in our daily lives form a wider sphere of support for our children’s exploration growth. So comes my biggest aspiration for Aloha Hive, and all Aloha programs; namely to be an especially rich and important place where children can form transformative relationships in a uniquely powerful and simple community. Life at camp is spent amount children and adults from across the world who share a singular mission—to learn to be their best selves. Technology does not interrupt the eye contact we make with others, or remove us from experiencing the moment. Rituals and a novel sense of “family” bring a secure place for children to return to each summer.
Sending your children to camp is an experience parents can actively choose. It comes with a separation that you can prepare for, and one you can celebrate just like the first day of kindergarten. And with a rich and all-encompassing physical and social community, your child will discover her growing sense of self, new skills, and a strong sense of her rightful place in the world.
As parents we learn that our relationships with our children involves creating space and separation as we accept partnerships with our children’s teachers, coaches and schools. We know that an active partnership with Aloha means creating the space—and separation—necessary for your children to gain that essential third leg of the stool—a sphere of support and growth; a carefully curated community full role models and peers who strive to become, and help your children become, their best selves.