Child development theorist Alfie Kohn famously said, "the way a child learns how to make decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions", and we happen to agree. We hope to prepare you (or your child) for that first day when they wake up with no one to tell them what to do. Too many young people take the wheel of their new found freedom when they go to college or reach adulthood and have no idea how to proceed.
At Longacre, young people are given the space to make decisions for themselves. They choose their activities, choose whom they spend their time with, and choose how they to interact with the community. We offer exciting programmed activities every day, but also build in plenty of unstructured time where our campers can pursue what is interesting to them. During this time they may decide to do anything from play cards, listen to music, throw a baseball, or just talk with one another. Particularly ambitious campers might have some big dream they wish to fulfill during this time (an ongoing art project, perhaps), and we do our best to help those dreams come to life.
While offering more freedom is all well and good, we also do our best to help the young people who come here understand the ramifications of their actions. They may choose to act irresponsibly, for instance, but our deliberate efforts to help people communicate openly with one another help them to see how their actions have impacted others in the community. On the same token, young people who choose to help others will hear feedback about how kind they have been - authentic feedback from people who appreciate their earnest efforts to help our community. We've seen countless examples where real growth happens as young people come to hone their decision making process based on the feedback of the community.