Our Youth Development Philosophy | Camp Twin Creeks

Our Youth Development Philosophy

Our Youth Development Philosophy

At Twin Creeks, everything we do—from our staff training, to our programming, to our rules & norms—is based on our Youth Development philosophy. Our philosophy has been informed by decades of experience working with children, both in and out of camp.  We believe…

Exploration leads to Growth

We believe that supported struggles are healthy for children. In an era of Helicopter Parents and Snowplow Parents, children need the opportunity to face problems in order to learn how to problem-solve. Don’t worry, this is no boot camp—our counselors are there to provide guidance and support while allowing campers to experience and navigate the natural consequences of their actions.

How we do it: campers away from home for 2 weeks; being supported in managing conflicts and also managing feelings around missing home; allowing campers to choose their 2 masterclass activities; campers taking responsibility for themselves regarding cabin cleanliness, hygiene, laundry and finally, we run program events that campers are involved in designing and implementing.

Community is the antidote to Loneliness

According to the Surgeon General, the United States is facing an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. There are constantly headlines about anxiety and depression amongst children. But we think the antidote is clear: community. And that’s what we prioritize: not achievement or an improved resume, but a deep feeling of connection.

Camp Twin Creeks provides a sense of connection, belonging, and community to all of our campers. During your first summer at camp, strangers will become friends. If you keep coming back, those friends will become family, and the Twin Creeks family will become a supportive community, for life.

How we do it: Acceptance and inclusion of all, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status; regular activities that build a sense of community & connection: talent show, olympics, all-camp activities, campfires; we honor all levels of development and strive to create a supporting, nurturing and close community; we encourage teamwork and cooperation at all times and finally, we provide opportunities for campers to grow at Twin Creeks—from a young dream-weeker, to a CIT, JC, and counselor. Many of our campers go on to become staff and consider their camp friends to be their best friends.


‘Soft’ skills are the most important skills

So-called ‘Soft’ Skills, like empathy, communication, teamwork, and creativity, are often deprioritized in favor of achievement and technical skills. We believe sleepaway camp is one of the only places that actively teaches “soft” skills.

Children will not become expert coders or athletes at Camp Twin Creeks, but they will develop social-emotional skills that will serve them wherever they go in life, making them better global citizens. Yes, children will get to learn new skills like archery and fly fishing, but they’ll also have opportunities to practice developing relationships, communicating face-to-face, working with others, and leadership.

How we do it: focus on the whole child: the leadership team and counselors get to know each child individually so they can support their personal growth; activities with multiple goals: instruction is designed to gain “hard” skills and “soft” skills at the same time and finally, regular and informal debriefs with counselors offering feedback ad insight into daily experiences and interactions.


Our Environment is our best Educator

We are lucky to be located on over 100 acres of beautiful rolling hills, surrounded by two creeks, on the traditional land of the Moneton and Powhatan people. The air is cool and the bugs are few. We don’t need state of the art labs or the latest iPad for our campers to learn and grow. Our classroom is all around us and we believe there is a whole lot more to learn when you leave technology behind and try one of our activities you may not have access to at home—from horseback riding, to mountain biking, to ziplining.

At Twin Creeks, campers gain an appreciation for nature and for being unplugged, so they go home connected to themselves and the world around them, rather than their phones.

How we do it: overnight camp-outs in the woods on our property, but away from camp; ongoing, constant and consistent outdoor programming; no phones! Even our staff reduce their technology use significantly during their time at camp. It’s one of the reasons so many campers come back as counselors; awareness of our water supply, a historic natural spring called Minnehaha Springs that offers a seemingly endless supply but modeling good habits; opportunities for campers to explore beyond our campus: whitewater rafting in the New River Gorge or going on a tree-top ropes course adventure; Forest Bathing/Hiking, Creek Walks – staff are encouraged to take a moment with campers during walks around camp too and finally, an appreciation for regular NAM’s (Nature Appreciation Moments).