Social Skills In The Making
What is Camp Yakety-Yak?
Camp Yakety-Yak is all about helping kids ages 5-11 learn great social skills and tools to communicate with people of all ages. Every camper has the opportunity to learn how to make friends and have fun together.
Every week at camp we have a different theme. The theme for the week helps class instructors choose games and activities for their classes.This week at camp our theme is 'Treasure Hunters.' We even have a song we are learning throughout the week that the Junior Camp Counselors are helping the rest of the campers learn. All campers learn in several classes throughout the day. There is Cooking Class, Discovery Class, Games Class, Friendship Class, Project Class, Play Class, Chit Chat Class, and Yak Academy. Each class has a unique and fun focus for the day and the week, and every classroom has posters telling the campers the daily and weekly target or goal. All of these classes have an element of fun, but each class also helps every camper learn important social skills like teamwork, good sportsmanship, being open to new things, encouraging others, using appropriate language ( both verbally and bodily), doing things independently, working through changes and transitions, and communicating with other people. Every kid has the opportunity to learn in a safe, healthy, and fun environment at Camp Yakety Yak. Every day brings new adventures, experiences, and plenty of fun.
There is a leadership program in Camp Yakety Yak. This leadership program works to organize the afternoon assemblies, works on the blog (as I am right now), and helps out other classes and teams. We attend two classes every day. The people involved in this leadership program are called Junior Camp Counselors, otherwise known as The JCC’s. The JCC’s are kids from ages 12-15 that have gotten older and are ready to work on leadership skills instead of social skills. Staff members are already learning how much they can depend on the JCC’s. The JCC’s can be very helpful about making everything run smoothly and even help some kids one-to-one sometimes. All JCC’s are available to help anyone with anything that needs to get done all over Camp Yakety Yak. JCC’s are preparing to become Camp Counselors when they are old enough. All of the JCC’s have great ideas on things to do for assemblies and tons of other activities. We take pictures and write entries for the blog and organize the Yak Back Competition. The Yak Back Competition is something that we do every week. Yak Backs are small slips of paper that campers receive when they follow the three camp rules here at Camp Yakety Yak: be safe, be kind, and try your best. We have a weekly team competition where every team of campers competes to try and get the most Yak Backs in their team’s Yak Back Collecter. At the end of the week the team with the most Yak Backs collected gets a special team prize. This motivates kids to follow the camp rules and be good role models to others. That way every kid at camp is safe, kind, and tries their best.
We also have a Talent Show every day. This is a great opportunity during the afternoon assembly where kids get to stand up in front of the other campers and perform a talent that they have. These talents can be anything from playing piano to doing a cartwheel on the stage. Every kid has the opportunity to show their talents to the other campers every day at camp. It is truly fascinating to see all of the amazing talents that these kids unveil when they are brave enough to go on stage. All of the performers do an amazing job and the audience members have a great opportunity to show their skills at being calm and quiet people by demonstrating that they can practice listening and watching other people, all while staying happy and peaceful.
The campers that go to Camp Yakety Yak have a wide range of differences. Some of the campers have disabilities like Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, and other complex disabilities or social anxieties. Some of these kids have a more challenging behavior to deal with, but our One-to-One counselors are excellent at handling any and all needs. One-to-Ones are staff members that are assigned to a specific camper and work with that child only, in order to help keep everybody safe and happy. Another program that is in our camp is called the Buddies Program. The Buddies Program is made up of another team of staff members that also work one-on-one with kids that have bigger individual needs. Some kids have bigger physical needs or need more help doing day to day things than some of the other campers, so they need a person to help them go through the camp. These staff members are great at working through individual situations and helping campers solve problems.
All in all, Camp Yakety Yak is a great camp for kids to attend. They can learn social skills to prepare them for any social environment they may encounter through their lives. They are always welcome to come back next summer to be a JCC, a Camp Counselor, or a camper again. This safe environment is great for meeting all needs and helping all kids.