CARE Circles, or Circles for short, are a new approach to building our camp community and addressing conflict. These Circles allow us to Communicate with each other, Affirm our feelings, Respect others’ perspectives, and Empathize with one another.
Circles will be implemented into our programs’ daily schedules to help develop relationships and build a sense of community within our programs. Campers and staff will go around the circle answering a question chosen to get to know each other better. It may be something simple like what their favorite flavor of ice cream is or something more thought provoking like what they’re most nervous about with coming to camp.
In addition to community building, Circles will be used to address conflict that arises. Circles give everyone a chance to share their perspective, how they’re feeling, and what they need going forward. They give campers and staff a chance to have a conversation about what happened while ensuring everyone’s voices are heard. Circles allow us to hold each other accountable in times of conflict and practice empathy.
When conflict arises a camper or staff member may call a Circle including everyone who was involved in the situation. A staff member will help facilitate the Circle. First, everyone will share what happened from their perspective and how they see the conflict. Second, everyone will share how they’re feeling as a result of the conflict. Third, everyone will share what they need once leaving the conversation. Finally, agreements will be made on how to move forward.
We ask that all campers and staff talk about conflict when it comes up, but we will not force people to participate in Circles. Sometimes it can be painful and ineffective to talk about conflict when it has just happened. We encourage everyone to come back together later to talk through what happened in an effort to learn and reestablish trust.