How a values-based camping
experience can become
a part of who you are.


Feeling positive about who you are

The importance of a healthy self-esteem is well known. A healthy self-esteem produces a positive sense of self-worth, a healthy self-image and a feeling of being “valuable” to others. On the other hand, kids that lack a healthy self-esteem might lack confidence, feel as if no one likes them, or maybe don’t even like themselves. These feelings might be reinforced at school, sports, or even within the home, and can lead to all sorts of problems: Poor school performance, anxiety, escapism through drugs or sexual promiscuity, and more.

At Camp Ozark we believe a positive self-esteem is brought about by genuine affirmation - consistently and sincerely given - and by recognition of the uniqueness of each individual and the worth inherent in that uniqueness. Simply put, we seek to praise kids as often as we can. We seek to help them appreciate their unique gifts and abilities. We seek to help them to understand they are “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God. Our goal is to increase self-esteem in kids by constant affirmation as to their inherent worth.


Feeling positive about what you do

While self-esteem can be defined as feeling good about who you are, self-confidence can be defined as feeling good about what you do. The biggest obstacle to self-confidence is fear of failure, which leads to a failure to even try.

At Camp Ozark, we believe self-confidence flows from knowing you can overcome any fear of failure, and from having the courage to try, to give maximum effort, to participate without regard to the potential, often self-inflicted, pitfalls of failure. Self-confidence doesn’t mean you have to be the best at something, only that you have the courage to try. We want kids to understand victory is in the journey, not the often uncontrollable result. Therefore, at Camp Ozark we seek to bolster self-confidence by encouraging our campers to try new things, by praising their efforts, and encouraging them to find their passions and pursue them whole-heartedly. We want our campers to understand that failure is found only in failure to try, failure to dream, and failure to look beyond the perceived limitations of others, society or previous experience.


Making the right choice, regardless of the consequences

Personal integrity is perhaps the single most endangered value that exists in American society. Society teaches us that the “easy way” is more valuable than integrity, that the end always justifies the means. The true character of each of us is found in our integrity - or lack thereof. Integrity means doing the right thing, regardless of the consequence. It means having the courage to act according to what you know is right and true. It is honesty and moral soundness. It includes truthfulness, honesty, respect for others, commitment and work ethic.

At Camp Ozark, integrity is best communicated by our summer staff members who model these very attributes, and when they, in a loving, respectful manner, seek to require it of the campers. At Camp Ozark, as in life, personal integrity will be tested every day. We want kids and staff to be conscious of developing a worthy personal integrity, and to always have to the courage to do what they know is right.


Promoting the common good

In many ways the world (especially the sports world) teaches us success is no longer about the group, it is about the individual. Too often teams are seen simply as a means to an end for the individual, and the achievement and success of the individual outweighs that of the team. This attitude permeates much of society and can lead to a breakdown of relationships, family, businesses and other team-oriented components of life.

At Camp Ozark, we believe in the concept of teamwork, of working for the common good, of putting the needs of the group (or team, or cabin) ahead of individual achievement. We seek to help kids understand that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link, that it is the responsibility each person to develop a greater concern for others (or team, or cabin) than him- or herself, and that ultimately the ability to create success in a group leads to greater success in life. This value will best be taught in the cabin, but also in tribal competition, activity classes, and other areas of camp.


Learning how to be a friend, make a friend and keep a friend

True friendship is rapidly being replaced in society by "acquaintanceship." Due to the internet, texting and especially social networking, where friends are made and lost with a simple click, and “shares” and “likes” are the new currency, the art and value of true, authentic friendship is being lost.

At Camp Ozark, we seek to help kids understand that true friendship takes initiative, effort, investment, transparency, forgiveness and time. We seek to help our campers learn there is great value and reward in true friendship. We want kids to leave Camp Ozark with new friends, from many different places, and to strengthen and continue previously existing friendships. We also want them to observe the initiative, effort, investment, transparency, forgiveness and time that our staff chooses to give to each of them. We do many things at Camp Ozark to facilitate true friendships, and hopefully help our campers make long-lasting, meaningful “real world” friends.


Empowering all campers to be self-reliant

An independent child is an empowered child. Self-reliance, critical thinking and social confidence are all important results of a healthy sense of independence. Independent children have an easier time making friends, confronting challenges and staying positive.

At Camp Ozark, we know campers flourish and grow in confidence when allowed to exert some independence. Of course this means different things for a 7 year old and a 17 year old, but we encourage all campers to explore what it means to make choices on their own. Perhaps this is as simple as allowing a camper to set their own course during Mish Mash, to choose what to do with this 2 hours of free time. Or maybe it involves making a decision about changing their schedule. Maybe it is about learning to make their bed without being told, or making a choice to help a friend. Regardless of the way it happens, we love it when we see campers growing in their independence, when they spread their wings and try new things. Our goal is to provide a safe environment where kids can make choices, grow in independence, and discover they are capable of much more than they previously thought.

Values in Action