Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Are Program Hours Anyway?

So what are "program hours" and why do we often refer to how many of them we pack in during a given summer? The simple answer is somewhat of a mathmatical equation and it lets people know how much time kids are actually spending "doing stuff" at Anokijig.

Assuming a typical camper shows up on a Sunday afternoon and falls asleep exactly when the bugle blows taps each night and doesn't wake up until they hear reveille the following morning, program hours are the time campers spend engaged in activities at Anokijig. In a typical camper week ending on Saturday, we conservatively estimate this total to be about 80 hours. We know this number is conservative, because campers don't always fall asleep or wake up exactly according to schedule and these numbers don't include the hundreds of campers who stay for multiple weeks at a time, which results in even more hours of programming over the weekend.

These numbers also don't take into consideration the fact that many of our campers are spending their first extended period of time away from home in their life! It also doesn't take into account the experiences many of these campers have, while they are laying in their bunks after taps or before reveille. They hear sounds they've never heard in their beds at home- the wind blowing through the trees, owls in the distance, crickets and frogs calling out to each other or the gentle tapping or raindrops on their tents. For many Anokijig campers, these are truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

The true impact of program hours really hits home, when Jim Scherer announces our final summer numbers. In 2008, Anokijig hosted 2,534 campers. That equals more than 200,000 hours of programs and activities at Anokijig, just during our nine weeks of summer camp! That is a huge number to wrap your head around and as I try to explain how long 200,000 hours is, I often draw the comparison to my son's youth basketball team.

If my son plays on a team that practices once a week and has one game a week, over the course of a 12-week season, he will be actively involved in a basketball program for a total of about 36 hours. If he has ten kids on his team, the entire team will have about 360 hours of basketball at the end of the season. If the league has ten teams, that still only equals about 3,600 hours per year. Kids at Anokijig spend about that much time engaged in activities each day during the summer.

There are a few other things to remember about our 200,000 hours of programs and activities. This number only accounts for the time summer campers spend at Anokijig and does not include the countless groups and families, who use Anokijig throughout the other 41 weeks of the year. This also doesn't include the amount of time young adults spend in Anokijig's leadership programs throughout the year. While many camps charge a fee for these programs, Anokijig has always offered them free of charge.

We feel fortunate to provide so many unique opportunities to our campers each year and we thank all of you for your wonderful support of Anokijig!

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