Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Initiative

at Agassiz Village Overnight Summer Camp
“This village,” I said, “has a serious purpose behind it.”

“I told the counselors that I wanted the [campers] to be happy and to live in a happy community.”

“We cannot achieve such a state,” I warned them, “by saying ‘[Camper] be happy.’ We must have a definite plan that will result in making the [camper] happy.”


~ From Boys In Men’s Shoes, 1944
by Harry E. Burroughs
founder of Agassiz Village.

Throughout it’s 83-year history, Agassiz Village has offered industry-leading programming that fosters the development of pro-social competencies in underprivileged, urban boys and girls through an immersive residential recreational camp experience. By integrating an adapted nationally recognized Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, we are able to capitalize on its clear language, objectives, and approaches in nurturing happy, healthy, and kind kids. Additionally, we are able to use the SEL model to provide opportunities for kids to reflect on their growth over the course of their stay at camp.

What is Social & Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Research has confirmed that social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.
SEL comprises 5 competencies:

  • Self-awareness – The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.




  • Self-management – The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

  • Social awareness – The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

  • Relationship skills – The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, and cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

  • Responsible decision making – The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
www.casel.org

Transformative Fun is the Key to Agassiz Village Success

By providing safety, the security of programmatic routine, competent and caring staff, and the opportunity to live, learn, create, and play with peers and adults from diverse backgrounds, Agassiz Village transforms the worldviews and social–emotional capacities of its campers. Agassiz Village offers a horizon-expanding experience that inspires socio-emotional growth of its campers through a wide range of recreational activities from arts and crafts to field games to swimming and boating. Only an overnight summer camp setting can provide the immersive community experience to achieve a truly transformative experience for these deserving campers.

With the integration of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Agassiz Village’s mission gains clarity, our program goals become measurable, and our campers’ lives are transformed.

Application of the adapted SEL curriculum to all aspects of our camp life last summer significantly helped us in our effort to measure the effectiveness of our program and better define our camper experience. This first major step to intergrate SEL at an overnight summer camp has yelded very positive and exciting reviews and data. The data allows us to see clearly how campers develop in each SEL area, and how the dynamics of a group experience over the course of a two-week camp session impact each child's SEL development. This provides invaluable data for making improvements in programming, approaches to counseling, and empowering campers to take stock in their own growth and exercise their agency in becoming their best selves.

A sample of SEL data collected based on Session 2 daily camper responses.