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Life Success Attributes by Indy the Cat – Goal Setting

Meow, it’s me again…You know, Colonel Indy the Camp Cat. I’m back in action to talk a little about the next Life Success Attribute -Goal-Setting. I took a little time this morning to flip through SOAR’s staff manual to really understand how SOAR uses Goal-Setting to create a successful experience for your camper.Image

SOAR Students are encouraged to utilize a challenge-by-choice model. This model creates a degree of empowerment as students make choices regarding their participation.

Our campers and students have the opportunity to participate in our high ropes course at the Balsam Base Camp. Each participant set a personal goal when approaching the high ropes course which will be accepted and encouraged by their instructors and group. Some students will set a goal to complete the entire course blind-folded 5 times. Others will set a goal to put on a harness and climb to the top of the ladder then come back down. Whichever goal is set, it must be attainable and realistic.

SOAR students are involved in the planning process of their daily schedule, menus, program itinerary and activities in which they choose to participate.

For each menu and each program the overall group goal is to create and prepare well rounded and healthy meals. With these parameters our instructors help guide the group to set attainable food goals based on the following questions….How many days will we be out on expedition? Do we need to pack food in our backpacks? How many meals are we prepping for? Is everyone’s dietary need met? With these questions, the large goal becomes a little smaller and attainable.

SOAR students learn the APIE process, and systematically evaluate choices and decisions, both in discussion and in meetings.

APIE is an acronym used most with team development activities that provides a foundation for the rest of the summer program.

Assess – the situation. Each person can provide a strength.

Plan – map out the challenge and think through what is needed to complete that challenge.

Implement – Try the plan.

Evaluate – Did the plan work?

SOAR students are encouraged to divide projects into smaller and manageable components.

When presented with the opportunity to go backpacking, many students will automatically stonewall thinking the activity is daunting. However, backpacking in the most minimal and manageable activity. The group sits with a map and picks the area in which they want to explore. They then take that overall plan and break it into realistic distances to hike each day. Again, make each goal attainable.

SOAR students develop 3 goals to work towards during their time at SOAR, and individual reflections with instructors helps monitor achievement towards their stated objectives.

SOAR is a success based program. In fact, SOAR stands for Success Oriented Achievement Realized. You, your camper, and your camper’s instructors will all discuss 3 realistic and obtainable goals, yes ones that will challenge your camper. You know them best, you know their social skills, where frustrations manifest, their academic needs, and SOAR is here to assist in overcoming these “obstacles.”

I know my goal is to get as much tuna as possible. Well I have realized that I have to earn it and with that I create daily goals – give my owner just enough positive attention, know when other staff members aren’t available to pet me, remind myself that Chelsea’s lunch is not mine also, etc. I invite you to also use these tools in your home to create attainable goals. Signing off, Colonel Indy.

First Impressions

Now immersed in Soar’s administrative office as the Registrar, join me as I explore my very first immpression of this tremendously special camp and academy. – Chelsea Flynn

Winding up the gravel to the great unknown of the Rosemount Road Mountain, I had no clue what to expect. What would I find at the end of this road? Would I meet any of the students? Would the administrative staff be friendly and inviting? Would I be able to tour the entire property? Join me as I walk through my journey at SOAR’s Balsam Base Camp.

I pull up to what I know now as “the hub” to find students participating in a team development activity outside while waiting for lunch. Laughter is the best sound in the world, in my opinion, and there was so much of it. You never would have known it was a chilly November afternoon from the amount of activity. What better way to take your mind off the cold weather and completely immerse yourself into a lighthearted and meaningful game.

The games and laughter was not the only thing that stood out in my visit, I instantly noticed the instructor’s relationship with the students. He, Dan, had their full attention and cooperation. There is a fine line between maintaining control and developing camaraderie, SOAR’s instructors have found that line. The activity he presented was of so much interest to the group that the students weren’t bothered by Kylie and my discussion directly next to them. This is a proven example of SOAR’s dedication to enhance the lives of their students in a positive way.

As we toured the property, on this beautiful sunny day I was blown away at the facility. With the fall season upon us and leaves have nestled to the ground, it was easy to see the broad view of Balsam Base Camp. I explored the Academy cabins, summer cabins, high ropes course, climbing wall, and so much more. Upon entering the first building, I immediately decided this was the boys’ cabin based on the teenage boy smell lingering between the four walls, I was quickly impressed. I was impressed by the organization of belongings, the individualization of each student’s space, and the hominess of the entire room. As we continued through the rest of the site, I realized this place is a home. A home where the administration AND the students take pride in this mountain camp.

After our tour, we entered “the hub” to find the students who had the honor of being Camp Chef for the day, happily preparing lunch for everyone. Who knew hotdogs and baked beans could be made with such enthusiasm? As I sit here in one of the back offices, I am thoroughly amused by the cleaning song that is coming from the kitchen. A young man is taking his responsibilities to heart as he puts the kitchen back in one piece as it was before while humming a delightful tune.  I can only imagine he is dancing a jig also.

I can say in my brief time at SOAR’s Balsam Base Camp, my non-expectations have been exceeded. I can feel the life of SOAR radiating through the trees, bouncing laughter, personal growth, group confidence, and adventure through this specialized program. There is no doubt in my mind that this program will change your student’s life forever and develop them as a strong leader, confident student, and enhance their life skills.