Taking the Next Step in the Camper Journey

Any Camp Sea Gull or Camp Seafarer experience, from Family Camps to Starter Camp to First Session, is valuable and life-influencing. Our focus on relationships and face-to-face interactions, time outdoors away from screens and technology, and the opportunities to try new activities and have fun is part of the reason people return long after their camper years.

There is something especially powerful, though, about the camper years. When children return each summer, they build upon their previous growth and development and participate in a journey that will have a lasting positive impact.

Purpose of Each Session Length

Starter Camp is a one-week nurturing environment where campers are introduced to all the activities. We view our activities not as an end to themselves, but as a tool to encourage self-confidence, teamwork, and responsibility. 

Starter Camp is great for campers who have not been away from home often or for very long. The independence developed in just this week at Camp is amazing. Multiple years at Starter Camp allows a camper to know their way around Camp and lead other campers by role modeling traditions at meals or routines in the cabin. This can solidify their confidence before jumping into Mariners or First and Second Session where there is more freedom of choice. Campers attending Starter Camp are ages 6 - 9.

Mariners is a two-week experience where campers are introduced to the Blue and Green Books and given the opportunity to set goals and participate fully in our freedom of choice program model. We encourage all first-time campers to try all the land activities by achieving their Alfa in the Green Book. 

All campers have daily time on the sea to work on Blue Book ranks as well. Many campers find that two weeks is just not enough to do all the activities they want to enjoy or to achieve all the goals they have set.

While Mariners can provide a nice transition from Starter to First or Second Session, it's not a required stepping stone. The Mariners experience is available for campers ages 7-  10.   

First and Second Session are our 4-week, signature programs. We often tell Mariners campers that four weeks is twice as long and twice as fun if not more! 

During four weeks at Camp, there is an arc to the cabin experience, allowing relationships to begin, grow, be challenged, and develop. There is a deeper richness to character development with more time to truly live out and reflect on the caring community we are committed to at Camp. And, during activity time there is an opportunity to set goals, try your best, learn from failure, adjust your sails, and experience big achievements. First or Second Session campers have more opportunities for off-site trips, engagement with the higher rank programs, and exchanges between Camp Seafarer and Camp Sea Gull. 

Our oldest campers are invited to participate in the SAIL Senior program, focusing on leadership skill development and service to both the Camp and surrounding communities. Rising grade 11 campers are invited to apply to the Camper in Leadership Training Program (CILT). As a CILT they live with a younger cabin, focusing on leadership development, working on ranks, and partnering with CILTs at the other camp for fun off-site trips and special experiences. The CILT program is often a stepping stone to a staff role.   

Why Come Back? 

The camper journey has a life-long impact and is at its fullest when campers are returning for multiple summers. We all know that relationships are more influential when they stand the test of time. This is is true for peers or cabin mates and for counselors who are influential as role models or mentors. 

Character is deepened by repetition and the practice of making the right choice to do the right thing. An annual opportunity for campers to make independent decisions away from their parents in a safe and supportive environment is a critical part of how Camp helps kids become the best version of themselves. 

The community at Sea Gull and Seafarer is special and unique. Many of us say that we wish the world outside the gates were more like Camp. We make sure to remind campers and counselors that each of us is responsible for taking care of that special and unique community by bringing the best of ourselves and choosing every day to treat others with respect, empathy, encouragement, and positivity. It doesn’t just happen, we have to make it happen. 

On activities, we find that our Blue and Green Books and freedom of choice model create a space for campers to set and work on multi-step goals, often for the first time. 

If a camper has fallen in love with sailing through the introductory Sunfish ranks and sets their sites on Lightning Skipper, like the older campers, they have to use their Blue Book and talk with counselors to map out their plan. The plan might look like finishing up Sunfish Master this summer, so they can do 420 Skipper next summer which sets them up for Lightning Training the year after that. These opportunities for multi-step goals are all throughout the Blue and Green Books and our Aquatics program. Camp is a great practice ground for multi-step goals.  

Multiple summers at Camp give the opportunity for these lessons and impacts to be richer, deeper, and more influential. 

Summer 2023 

Each summer we try to learn from our experience and remind ourselves of the most important aspects of Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer.

We were reminded of why the work we do at Camp is so critical for children. For all of us, but especially for children and teenagers, the world is returning to traditions and experiences similar to those prior to the 2020 pandemic. Camp is no different and 2023 welcomed back dances, off-site trips, boat rides on opening day, more exchange opportunities between Sea Gull and Seafarer, and a new opportunity for our oldest campers to engage in fellowship and leadership development, Camp 4 Long Night.   

We continue to observe and hear from parents how important the time at Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer was for the mental, emotional, and physical health of campers. Face-to-face interaction, no technology, the jolt of self-confidence, and time for fun and laughter with friends were, and are, so healthy for all of us. We know this will be true again in summer 2024. 

Your Camper's Journey 

The best part about a camper journey is that yours is yours. We are glad your camper is on their camper journey with us at Camp Sea Gull and Camp Seafarer. Whether this is your first summer or seventh summer with us, we want your camper's experience to be amazing. 

We encourage everyone to consider First or Second Session as it is our signature program with the longest opportunity to experience Camp and with the deepest impact. 

However, whatever length your family decides will be right for you. We’ll be there with you every step of the way on your camper's journey – cheering you on in the growth of independence and resilience and the development of skill and character. 

See you in 2024!


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