Building a Cooperative Community

Tawonga’s group-centered philosophy is absolutely central to the camper experience. Each day, cabins do almost everything together along with their bunk counselors, including living in a bunk, eating meals in the Dining Hall, participating in activities, going on overnight backpacking trips and more. By the end of the session, those 12 kids that make up a cabin have become more than friends – they’ve become brothers and sisters.


We find tremendous value in this approach and firmly believe it helps accomplish the second rung of our Mission: Building a Cooperative Community. In the process of campers spending about 90% percent of their time as a unit, they’re not only having tons of fun together, but they’re also learning to make decisions through consensus, how to comprise and how to become bonded in a real and powerful way.


Campers also take part in contributing to their bunk unit through daily “jobs” assigned on a cabin work wheel that reinforces the idea of team work and community living. As we say at Camp, “shared space means shared responsibility.” Whether it’s clearing the table at meals, sweeping the cabin or reminding friends to put on sunscreen, contributing to the group through these tasks helps campers to team-build and to develop important life skills that will serve them well beyond Camp.


The communities built at the bunk level are among the strongest at Camp, and older campers and staff will tell you years or even decades later about the incredibly transformative experiences they had as campers thanks to the deep bonds they made in their bunk.


Later this evening, look out for more pictures of fun activities from the best place on Earth!