Over the past few months I have been profiling some of our very talented coaches and teachers at our summer camp in New Hampshire. Our staff do an incredible job simultaneously teaching both the hard skills -- like how to swim the front crawl, throw a fast ball or build your own furniture in our wood shop -- and vital non-cognitive soft skills like adaptability, critical thinking, and resilience. To understand our summer camp you really need to understand how they foster such incredible outcomes. If you missed any of them, here are some of the more recent staff profiles:
- Jillian DiBlasio, our Film Making Instructor
- Jonno Whitham, our Ropes Course Director
- Chris Straker, our Head of Basketball
- Kass Walsh, our Tennis Director
Caitlin (in the middle) and some of her 2014 Evergreen waterfront team
This week I am pleased to introduce you to Caitlin Cochrane, the Director of our Evergreen Waterfront. Caitlin has been a part of the K&E family for many years, and teaches swimming year-round to child and young adults in New Hampshire. She also got engaged this week to James Manigley, Kenwood and Evergreen's long-time music director! They met at Camp 4 years ago, and are an amazing couple. We are so happy for them!
On the waterfronts at Kenwood and Evergreen, we love to take a different approach to teaching traditional swimming skills. If it’s a water aerobics class, a lake swim or a fun relay, we always make sure to simultaneously be teaching at least one of the 21st century skills our camp focuses on. Sometimes it's learn to adapt your technique to swim more efficiently, while other times its emphasizing the grit or resilience you need to master a skill. This has become somewhat second nature for me because I really do believe that these skills are necessary to succeed in any situation. After learning these skills during my first summer at Camp (and how important they are for life) I’ve continued to include them in any lesson plan I am creating. They are now a staple in my regular swim lessons throughout the year!
Let me walk you through a standard day at Camp on the waterfront. Start by imagining the warm sun shining on our beautiful lake. Our entire community loves being at the water. During General Swim (fondly known as G-Swim or Free Swim) the campers have the opportunity to relax and have fun swimming. They can fish, they can take out a canoe or kayak, they can go off our 28-ft tall waterslide. Little do these campers know that even in this unstructured time they are still acquiring 21st century skills. When they first come to the waterfront they need to find a swimming buddy for safety. This typically involves communication, collaboration, and some healthy negotiation amongst the campers. When we have a buddy check to make sure everyone is accounted for the campers are required to use effective communication, not only to find their buddy but to let the lifeguards know that they are both present. At the waterfront communication is probably one of the most important non-cognitive skills that we use, and the campers really take it seriously, which keeps everyone safe!
Riding, and falling off, the Kenwood and Evergreen Rockit!