Safety is not just a thing you have to deal with in order to get to the fun part. That is not how we think of it. Having the foresight to recognize potential hazards and taking the time to rectify those hazards prior to doing an activity is an activity in and of itself and is an incredibly valuable skill and lesson for campers. Whether it is a situation where a piece of gymnastics equipment is sticking out onto the basketball courts or that the safety foam has fallen off of the GaGa court, pausing before an activity to say, “Does anyone see any potential safety hazards here?” is important to our larger mission of raising the level of awareness in kids and teaching them about social responsibility: taking care of one’s environment to ensure sustainability. Please add this to your routine prior to beginning any activity. It will pay off in countless ways in terms of building a community of empathic, socially conscious members of every age.
Reflection is something that cuts across Hayground in multiple ways. It is at the center of our self-development approach (CultivateMe). It is a practice that promotes learning from experience. And it is something that we want to see at activities. Here is the expectation. Prior to the beginning of an activity, a moment is taken for Preventative Safety. Everyone, counselors and campers, take a moment to look around at the space you are about to use and discuss whether any action needs to be taken to ensure that this space is a safe space to engage in the activity. At the end of every activity, take a moment to reflect. How was that activity? What observations did you make? What could have made it better? How will you approach it next time? This kind of reflective, metacognitive thinking is something that we want to build into the consciousness of our staff and our campers, many of whom are future staff members. It is a life-skill that will serve everyone well regardless of where their lives take them. We expect counselors to model that in themselves and to actively create space for it before and after ALL activities.