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The reality show " SURVIVOR "seemed to be a big hit among my school agers last year so we decided to make it our summer camp theme for the summer of 2002. Don't worry we didn't vote anyone off or anything like that. We did put together a camp full of physical and mental challenges, arts and crafts, and plenty of team building activities that brought "SURVIVOR" to our little state! This article will provide you with the step by step planning of how to pull off the ULTIMATE CAMP EXPERIENCE!

To be fair start by going over your attendance and put the children into age groups. Then depending on how many you have from each group you can decide how many teams you want to have, you should try to put at least two from each age group on each team. Each team should have the same amount of players if possible. If that is not possible someone will have to sit out during that challenge. Once you have your teams explain to them that they are now a "tribe" and they have to come up with a tribal name and symbol. After they pick their name they can then make a banner, we used roll paper, with their tribal symbol and name on it. We gave each tribe whatever materials they wanted and encouraged using nature materials.

Depending on how many weeks are in your summer program you can figure in 2 physical challenges and one "TRIBAL COUNCIL" for each week through the entire summer. We had our challenges on Tues. and Thurs. afternoons and our tribal council on Friday mornings. We had 4 tribes all together- 2 tribes would compete on Tues., the winner of that challenge would go to tribal council. Do the same on Thurs. with the next 2 tribes. On Friday those two teams wold compete in a mental challenge at tribal council. The winner would get to keep the ULTIMATE TRIBE IDOL for the week until the next tribal council.

Tribal council was a great way to get the kids feelings and emotions to come out. We would talk to the children about their experience that week. Ask questions about sportsmanship and teamwork , who the children thought their team leader was and why. When awarding the idol that week be sure to involve the whole camp and stress good sportsmanship!

Nature can be a fantastic provider of some great crafts. Use sticks to make dream catchers, walking sticks, wall hangings, fake torches, tepees, rafts, cabins and anything that the children can think of. For a non teacher directed activity put a variety of nature items, such as leaves , sticks, rocks, sand, branches, flowers, etc on a table with the ordinary craft supplies and let them be creative. You will be surprised at the beautiful art projects that turn out. For a painting EXPERIENCE fill empty water bottles with sand and have them write their names across a paper using glue. Gently pour the sand over the paper and you have sand painting.

We made up our challenges but we would also just put a twist on a regular game. You will have to plan one mental and one physical for each week. The physical challenges should take place outside if possible. Some challenges ideas are: scavenger hunts- use flags and hide them around your play area- make up a rhyme/riddle as the clue for each area where each flag is placed. For a more SURVIVOR feeling write the clues on a scroll instead of ordinary paper. relay races- you can pretty much do any type of relay race for a challenge. To put a twist on one we paired up for wheelbarrow races . We then scattered painted small rocks all over the playing field. When they were racing they also had to collect the rocks, the tea m with the most rocks was the winner .Use your imagination with the races, dress up relay, hula hoop relay, water bucket relay ,and of course the running relays. eating challenges- this is a big hit among the campers! Their will be some campers who do not want to do this so find that out first then plan your challenge. Explain to the campers they may stop at anytime and to remember it IS just a game. OK after that is out of the way you may start thinking up your meal mixture. We mixed gummy worms with pudding, yogurt, whip cream, applesauce. ketchup, jelly and maple syrup. YES, it is gross but the kids thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. Sit each tribe on one side of the table with their hands behind their back and say "GO". Follow the same rules of a pie eating contest.

Mental challenges are fun because again you can make a ordinary activity into a challenge. Here are some ideas: puzzles- have a puzzle race, give each team a puzzle that contains the same amount of pieces and as a team they have to put it together the fastest problem solving- give each team a problem and they have to solve it in a certain amount of time brain teasers- do the same as with the problem solving trivia- use the brain quest cards or card from trivia pursuit juniors and ask each tribe member a question, if they get it right they get a point, the team with the most points win at the end. You can build card houses, have balancing contest and even have them write a survivor poem about their tribe. Always emphasize good sportsmanship!

When you decide what you want your ultimate tribe idol to look like you should keep in mind that you will need room to write each winning tribes name on it every time they win. We used a wooden broom stick for the base and a stuffed paper bag for the top- we hung streamers and beads down the sides and sponge painted it all the tribal colors. Every time a tribe won at tribal council we would write their name on the broom stick. At the end of camp the two tribes with their name on it the most went to the final tribal council. The team who won was our ULTIMATE TRIBE FOR 2002 and they got to keep the idol and a medal .

Have fun when planning your camp , be creative and don't be afraid to stir things up a little. Our children still talk about SURVIVOR CAMP to this day , this year we will enter the jungle with great expectations but SURVIVOR will always be in our hearts and thoughts.

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