Every camper who attends ISTC is placed into a cabin for living and a sports group for playing. Not only do we look at age and friend requests to make informed choices for our campers, but also, we intentionally use co-ed sports teams to develop an inclusive, feel good environment where they can make more friends besides cabin mates.
Many campers that come to ISTC are competitive athletes, kids who love to live and breathe sports. Rather than giving campers more of what they already experience in their high-pressure team environments at home, we strive to give them something unique – an experience focused purely on having fun on the field. Making our sports groups co-ed only emphasizes this notion, as it eliminates any chance of our sports groups resembling their competitive outlets at home.
Having boys and girls of the same age play sports together further rids the idea that certain activities are prescribed for a specific gender. Each of our co-ed sports groups follow a structured schedule, which cycles through field sports like flag-football and court sports like basketball, as well as adventure sports like jet skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Every camper has every activity built into his or her weekly schedule, which gives them the chance to play sports they may not be naturally inclined to and more so, creates potential to discover new interests.
Mixing our campers together at our co-ed camp while playing sports builds the ISTC community as well. Within their teams, boys and girls are playing sports, celebrating, and cheering with one another; through these shared experiences, we they become friends that add to their camp network. During recreation and free choice periods, we encourage boys and girls to continue doing camp things together, as it models their lives in school and builds social confidence. These newfound friendships also positively influence our whole camp events, like cabin of the week competitions or the Wednesday night dance. Everyone is invested in not just his or her group, but in other groups as well and it simply creates an electric energy.
Being co-ed is truly part of the ISTC magic, as it cultivates a stress-free environment for campers to be themselves, try different things, and make friends.