Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Insider Inteviews Darin Holden About Anokijig's Specialty Programs

Darin Holden has spent most of his life at Camp Anokijig, either as a camper or staff member. He is currently Camp Anokijig's Program Director and the Anokijig Insider sat down with him, to get the skinny on Anokijig's Specialty Programs.

Specialty Programs combine all the activities of Anokijig's traditional resident camp, with a focus on one particular activity for part of the day. These Programs include Ranch, Circle A Riders, Competitive Swim, Adventure Challenge, Fishing Expeditions and Scrapbooking.

AI: Darin, how are Specialty Programs different than regular resident camp?

Darin: Specialty Programs are chances for campers to focus on a particular skill such as fishing, horses, competitive swimming, or scrapbooking, while still having access to all of the other great Anokijig programs during their directed free times. For each Specialty, the camper will spend a portion of each program day focusing solely on the skill, usually about two to three hours. When the directed free time begins (three to five hours each day), the camper has the choice to return to that Specialty area or experience any of the 18 different activities at their leisure.

AI: How are Specialty Programs different than day trips or adventure trips?

Darin: Specialty Programs are a skill-focused version of the Resident camp program. (In resident camp each camper chooses two skill areas to participate in for one hour each day, and then fills the balance of the day with directed free time choices). For the Specialty, there is a multi-hour focus on a particular skill each programming day. Day Trips are also an off-shoot of Resident camp in which campers (7th grade or older) can experience a Specialty or High Adventure program for one day or half day time periods. Day Trips offer a “taste” of activities that in the future may be experienced on and Adventure Trip. Adventure Trips involve a limited stay on-site at Anokijig followed by travel to different areas of Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, or Canada for overnight tent camping and three to four days of adventures in activities such as whitewater rafting, river canoeing, rock climbing, ropes courses, and sea kayaking.

AI: Do campers need to bring any special equipment or supplies from home for these programs?

Darin: All special equipment is provided for any of our skill programs. However, if a camper has a favorite fishing pole, lure, or horse helmet that they would like to bring, they are more than welcome to do so.

AI: Are some Specialty Programs better suited for older campers?

Darin: As you would find in our program descriptions, we do put some age requirements in place for some programs. Some of these requirements have to do with the physical demand of a skill and others allow for older and younger campers to have a more appropriate learning and enjoyment experience, using age-appropriate teaching techniques.

AI: What is your favorite Specialty Program and why?

Darin: I really don’t have a favorite. They are all great for those who want to specialize in a skill. They epitomize a large part of what Anokijig is about- that each individual camper has the opportunity to make the camp experience what they want it to be, not the experience that someone else thinks it should be.

AI: How do you decide which Specialty Programs to offer from one year to the next?

Darin: We determine our offerings based on interest from former years, camper and parent surveys, camper council recommendations, and of course, we are always on the lookout everywhere for new and exciting opportunities that campers would enjoy and benefit from.

AI: Are there any new programs for this year?

Darin: We received a generous donation this year of a large deck boat. That gave us the key piece of equipment we needed to start a new Lake Winnebago fishing day trip. The boat is large enough to allow several campers to fish at once and is also large enough to safely travel the waters of Wisconsin’s largest inland lake. Campers who want to experience another unique fishing opportunity will have the chance to enjoy a full day out on the lake, looking for that record walleye. In Resident Camp, we are also starting a Ukulele Band skill. With a dozen or so ukuleles and a great instructor, campers will be able to have a unique musical experience and bring a little of the South Seas to Anokijig.

AI: Do these programs typically sell out?

Darin: Most do fill up, as do our spots in camp in general. However, the specialty camps can often fill up more quickly, due to the smaller groups size that we try to maintain. This ensures the highest quality experience. If someone is interested in a specialty camp experience this year, they would definitely want to sign up soon.

AI: Thanks for your time Darin. We look forward to seeing you at Anokijig this summer!

If you would like more information on Anokijig's Specialty Programs, please click on this link-