Kawanhee’s program consists of some 16 activities, and all campers are required to report daily, Monday through Friday, to their four one-hour assigned activity periods. Attendance is compulsory, although participation is not demanded if a boy and his parents request exemption from a certain activity. During the first three weeks at camp, boys are scheduled to attend all activities to become better acquainted with the entire program, and to develop new interests. Following the three-week introductory period, campers may sign-out from an assigned activity and sign into another activity of their choice.
The Achievement Level is the common unit for evaluating accomplishment at Kawanhee. Progress in each activity is divided into three levels with the first level purposely designed to be quite easy to allow a boy to discover if a particular activity interests him. Levels two and three are progressively more difficult. Each of the several age classifications has a different set of 1-2-3 level requirements, so that a boy’s level challenges will match his age group.
The stimulus to complete levels is enhanced through the honors which are presented at the Saturday night campfires. Every boy needs recognition for his achievements, and it is a prized moment in a camper’s life when he is asked to rise and stand before the campfire as his name is read for each level completed during the previous week. At this impressive ceremony lodge groups form a huge circle around the big council fire. There is singing, games, and stunts, the presentation of awards, and the reading of the weekly camp log. Since each camper is a member of either the Maroon or Grey team, there is a tense silence the moment before the weekly team scores are announced–then mighty cheers led by the team captains.
As the embers glow and the stars appear we rise, face the west, and in the stillness of the woods, sing our good night song to the tune of taps.