Do you remember that one thing you always wanted to do and never quite up got the courage to try? Fear of failure and of looking foolish in front of others are a few of the roadblocks that can prevent us from trying new things that could have helped us to grow. At Camp Ocean Pines, our number one goal is to learn how to connect with others so that campers feel safe to explore new things. Every summer I have witnessed campers trying things they would have never had the guts to do had they not have come to camp. Be it Bodhi leading a crazy campfire song in front of the entire camp or Cynthia clasping her stuffed seal (Cashew) as she nervously flies down the giant swing for the first time, our campers feel safe to explore things that would normally scare them. Camp Ocean Pines is a magical place where kids are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones and try new and exciting things. Everything we do is “challenge by choice”, so campers only try the activities that they want to. You’d be surprised by how many activities they end up wanting to try by the end of the week! Without further ado, here is a list of the top 10 things to explore at Camp Ocean Pines.
10. Sharing your talent at the “1 min Talent Show!”
We’ve had a contortionist, dog impersonations, magic tricks, and just all out ridiculousness on our stage for our 1 Min Talent Show. Campers sign up to show their talent and are limited to 1 min. Each camper is praised by our special guest panelists, “American Idol style”. Don’t worry, no Simon Cowell judges here :)
9. Camping in the redwood forest!
A lot of kids are nervous about the Big Sur overnight before camp. But after a few days making friends, they are ready to go on one of the most beautiful journeys up Highway 1 to camp in the redwoods. (We do a one night camping trip during our 8 day sessions.)
8. Kayaking or canoeing with sea otters!
Ready for an adventure? We take the campers that sign up for our kayaking/canoeing activity to Morro Bay to see the estuary’s abundant wildlife. There’s something about paddling the Pacific surrounded by mountains that is just captivating. That’s when “Harry and Marge” the sea otters pop their head up right by your kayak with their newly born pup. Is your camper not ready to kayak by themselves? Don’t worry! They can take the “War Canoe” and enjoy the scenery while the counselors help row.
7. Our Teen Adventure Trips to the Channel Islands, Hawaii and more!
So you’re 16 and our too old for camp? Come be a counselor in training for a week and then set off on your own adventure. We have amazing trips for our older campers that still instill our “Connect, Explore, Grow” philosophy at camp. Check out our newest adventure this summer, The Santa Cruz Island Camping Adventure!
6. Singing as loudly as you can with your new best friends!
If you asked Chris "Chrysanthemum" to sing at campfire 8 years ago, he would have looked at you and said, “Yeah right!”. Eight years later, there is not a louder, sillier singer in the crowd. Camp has a way of getting kids out of their comfort zones and letting them just be kids….silly, goofy, and just flat out fun. We sing around the campfire every night our favorite camp songs. My favorite is “I’m Stuck on Island.”
5. Learning to throw your first pizza!
I remember at age 9 going into the now extinct “Noble Romans Pizzaria” and watching the chefs tossing dough over their heads. I wanted to do it so bad! Well now I’m the summer camp director, so guess what? We’re throwing pizzas!!! We’ve gotten special “rubber pizzas” to practice with and when your camper is ready, they’ll get their chance to toss their own pizza dough to the sky!
4. Throwing your first tomahawk!
Camp Ocean Pines was once a home to the Chumash Indians. Their arrowheads can still be found on camp. In honor of the native people of our land, we have our very own tomahawk range. There’s nothing quite like hearing that “thud” and seeing your first tomahawk split the wood of the target.
3. Our wild and crazy dance parties at double dare!
This dance party wasn’t invented by the staff - it was started by our awesome campers! One year, at our crazy double dare night (cabin challenges with a bunch of slime….you’ll see) we decided to play some fun music. The campers just started going bonkers and dancing. These are some of the most awkward goofy dancing kids I’ve ever seen! And guess what… they couldn’t care less! Everyone wants to join in the fun of dancing with no regrets.
2. Junior falconry with a professional falconer!
What a privilege it is for us to have our very own falconer on staff. The camp’s executive director, Chris “Pop Nature” Cameron, has been training birds of prey for many years. We’ve had lots of different birds at camp over the years and recently just got a new peregrine falcon named Celine (like the diva Celine Dion). Pop Nature teaches kids how to handle birds - your kid may even get to have a live falcon fly to their hand! This is truly a remarkable experience.
1. Being on stage with your friends and making a fool of yourself!
The biggest fear for most adults is stage fright! Believe it or not, stage fright is scarier to adults than spiders, snakes and heights! At Camp Ocean Pines, we help campers learn to be on stage and to not be afraid. Campers who sign up for our “campfire planning” activity create skits and songs that they perform in front of the entire camp. The stuff that they come up with is incredible!
Camp Ocean Pines is the place for your camper to get out and try new things! For those who haven’t had the experience yet, I’d love to tell you more! Please call/email me to hear more about what camp can do your your child. For those who have been to camp before, don’t hide the secret of our amazing camp! We hope to be able to help as many kids as we can learn to be courageous and try new things, so tell your friends and family about the camp that got your camper to EXPLORE!
Caleb "Racecar Driver" Albert
Summer Camp Director