Posted by Miss Amber (Amber Grundy, CEO, Camp Fire River Bend)

I get asked all the time by parents – so, what makes Camp Tannadoonah different from other camps?

Sure we have incredible staff are incredible, amazing programs, and our traditions run deep. But the first thing that comes to mind is the unique culture of Camp Tannadoonah.

In Camp Fire, we don’t have a mission statement. We have a PROMISE. Why? Because not every kid knows what a mission statement is, but every kid understand what a promise is. Our promise is this:

Young people want to shape the world. Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are. In Camp Fire, it begins now. Light the fire within.

So what does that mean? We help kids find their SPARKS. These are their passions – the things they really care about, the things that get them excited to get out of bed every day. At camp, kids have the opportunity to try new things, to explore, to stretch their imaginations, and hopefully to figure out what their sparks really are, if they don’t already know. And if they do? Then camp is a place where they can practice those sparks, or find more sparks, or share their sparks with other kids.

We also give kids a chance to LIFT THEIR VOICE. Camp is largely kid-directed. Our staff are trained to listen, to give kids the opportunity to lead, and to give kids meaningful choices. Campers help develop the cabin rules during cabin meeting, they choose their own activities each day, they have choices at meals, they help design evening program… Basically they get to “choose your own adventure” every day.

And camp is a place for self-discovery. Many years back we took a tip from Simon Sinek and created our WHY statement: Because every child deserves a safe place to become their best self. And that’s the heart of it. Camp is a place to become your best self. The compassionate community created by our staff and returning campers is like a safety net saying: go ahead, be as weird and crazy as you want, we will still love you.

And finally, we believe that youth deserve the opportunity to be leaders NOW – not just in the future. They can lead songs at evening camp fire, help teach other youth, and even teach our staff.

So what makes us different than other camps? I feel like Camp Tannadoonah truly lives and breathes Our Promise. An accepting, inclusive space for campers and staff to discover themselves, and love what they find.