A couple of years ago, Volkswagen launched a competition exhibiting something called the ‘the fun
theory.’ The idea behind this theory is: if you make something fun, people are more likely to participate.
Volkswagen asked people to come up with innovative ideas that would make mundane activities more
fun to increase participation! View the video below to watch one of my favorite examples in which they
found a fun way to encourage people to take the stairs instead of the escalator.
Summer camps were around long before the concept of ‘the fun theory’ was created. However, this idea encompasses the things we do every day at camp. There are activities at camp that are inherently fun, like the pool, ropes course and rikud (dancing). That being said, there are also parts of the day which are a bit more mundane. For example campers are required to clean their cabins each day for 30 minutes. Now, for most children, this is probably not their favorite activity of the day. Part of our staff training focuses on how to make these times of day more enjoyable and interesting for our campers. Over the years, our staff has turned their 30 minutes of nikayon (cleaning) into a game or into a party with music playing in the background. I’ve witnessed staff pretending to do inspections like they do in the Israeli Army (this bunk was always impeccably clean). When staff get creative the campers got to cleaning without even a small complaint or hesitation.
Our staff shares a wealth of knowledge with their ‘back pocket games’ (games that can be implemented quickly and easily, on the spot). These games are used as tools for counselors to pull from during down
time, bus rides, transitions, chofesh (free time), etc. Suddenly, the times that seem the most ordinary or even boring become entertaining and fun! I’ve seen an ordinarily mundane activity of brushing teeth
turned into an exciting competition. When our counselors turn activities into games where everyone is laughing and having fun, who wouldn’t want to participate? This is our secret on how we make the ordinary at camp extraordinary, though our own ‘fun theory’!
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