I arrived at Camp AlGonQuian in Indian River, Michigan on June 11th. As the Leaders In Training director, this is my first year on administrative staff. As a part of the admin staff, I attended a week of training and planning for the summer before the rest of the staff arrived.
During this week, we had a lot of smaller group discussions about things on camp that are not running smoothly or need to be changed.For example, one thing we discussed was how AlGonQuain has a lot of Native American names for different things on camp. For instance, campers are categorized into “tribes” by age, which are named after actual Native American tribes. Our discussion mostly revolved around the inappropriate use of these tribes in silly chants and cheers, as well as how appropriation is present in this instance, especially because the history and culture of these tribes is not known by the staff and not being taught to the campers. We will continue to have more discussions on this topic, but for now we have decided that we should find new names to assign to these tribes, and refer to “tribe time” as something else, like “unit” or “flock” time.
Additionally, I have had a lot of time to work with my co-LIT director to plan out our program. The Leaders In Training program is a really strong program, which is already pretty well mapped out. However, we do hope to add some new elements and make some positive changes. One of the major changes to the LIT program we are discussing is a change in the service project. In the past, service projects have been mostly restoring old signs around camp. This summer, we’re hoping to do something a little more meaningful, like potentially doing an off camp service project such as beach clean up in the area. The next step is to contact some people in the Indian River community and see if there are any volunteer opportunities for a group of our size in the area.