Tawonga’s Group Centered Approach

At the core of the Camp Tawonga camper experience is our group-centered philosophy. The cabin, or bunk, is not just a homeroom or place to sleep at the end of the day. Quite the contrary, almost every moment of every day is spent together with twelve campers and two bunk counselors. It’s like a slumber party – for an entire session! From meals to activities of all kinds, to the backpacking trip and challenge course, that core group sticks together. They learn, grow, play and bond during their time at Camp. This facilitates an incredibly transformative and powerful sense of community where kids not only learn important values like consensus decision making and communal living, but also make lifelong friendships. For many older campers and staff members, the friendships and connections made within the bunk have lasted years, sometimes decades, and continue to be important relationships even when not at Camp. 

The group-centered approach that we employ is directly related to the second rung of our Mission: Creating a Cooperative Community. Campers learn how to make compromises, be empathic to each others needs, and truly cooperate and work together as they go through each day. Utilizing chore charts and work wheels, campers take ownership and work together to clean the cabin, get more food, clear the table or remind others to put on sunscreen. Through collaboration and cooperation, kids learn how to support one another and live communally. This often even spills over into their return home. Many parents report that upon their camper’s return home, their child is more apt to help set the table, bring in groceries, or help with younger siblings — all things for you to look forward to in the coming weeks.


It’s our sincere hope that the friendships made during this session last a lifetime. Check out some photos below of some of the magical moments from today at Camp Tawonga.