Aaron is a typical teenager. He is smart, loves to read, and gets along well with others but his parents are worried (with the best of intentions!) that his interests are too narrow. While most campers are excited and engaged when they first come to our camp, he showed up with an air of indifference. I could sense what was going through his mind – “What am I doing here?” He hesitantly went along with the activities we offered but neither knowing for himself what he wanted to do.
After the end of the second day during which our camp facilitators were brainstorming each campers’ different projects and how to scaffold them, we pulled Aaron aside to ask him what he really cared about – what his true passions were. He replied, dragons.
Aaron loved reading stories and novels with dragons. After a bit more brainstorming, our amazing camp facilitators and Aaron came up with a plan to create a fire-breathing dragon in real life! (Try not to imagine the look on his parents’ face when he told them about his camp project!)
The next day, you could notice a definitive change in his attitude. He was eager to learn, try new things, and work with different tools he had never used. The dad who dropped him off in the morning was itching to know how we were able to engage him when everything else they tried was futile. Starting with a sketch, he then went on to learn how to use a jigsaw and band saw to cut out the pieces that would create the shape of his dragon. After hours of tinkering and revising, Aaron was able to get his fire-breathing dragon to work. This was easily one of the most breathtaking projects we facilitated.