Social Camp, at the Core of the Experience

“Paths are made by walking” – Franz Kafka

 

What’s in common between climbing artificial walls, performing group exercises, sleeping in a tent in the middle of the wood, spending a day in the midst of nature, building a survival shelter with scavenged materials and practicing mountain bike orienteering in a park? 

 

All of them are experiences involving people and situations characterized by action, direct participation and high emotional involvement. Experiencing implies transforming everyday life facts into learning.

The experience becomes accordingly a significant factor capable of entailing a number of changes based on the transformation brought about by individual and group experiences.

In order for it to be meaningful and to promote changes, the experience must be conscious and following its completion it must be supported by reflection and critical analysis. Participants must intimately acknowledge, in a participatory process,  what has happened, both cognitively and emotionally so that the experience become a part of the individual or the group and that it be reflected in people’s lives afterwards.

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Dianova Italy’s Social Camp consists of outdoor and indoor activities, challenge course low elements and experiential workshops. Aimed at children, adolescents and young adults, the program provides them with an opportunity to develop their talents, strengthen their abilities and build feasible and rewarding life projects. Personal fulfillment is the cornerstone of individual and collective welfare; it may also lead to a society that is healthier, fairer, more cohesive and ecologically responsible.

Through experiential learning, people are more likely to deal with difficult and uncertain situations, while developing positive coping behaviors and improving their ability to effectively manage their emotions in times of increased psychological stress. Experiential learning activities allow people to develop problem solving skill through creative abilities and to gain self-awareness through self-observation and the observation of others. The experience which is gained in this manner becomes part of the individual’s overall knowledge and will serve as a starting point for further developments.

Experiential education is deemed to be one of the most effective methods for developing soft skills and life skills. If the experience is an “educational site” per se, the Social Camp is a real place where learning experiences are implemented following a lively, dynamic approach in the midst of nature, where one can make part of a creative process and become an actor of one’s own life. It is a place where it is possible to overcome challenges by turning constraints into assets, through a range of experiences which create opportunities to share reactions and observations and discuss experience generated feelings.  It is a place where facilitators and instructors must not impose their views of the meaning of the experience but rather provide support to help participants understand the sense that they may themselves attribute to what they are experiencing.

The Social Camp‘s various programs promote the development of participants’ life skills within a tranquil, natural environment. Through a number of educational activities and elements, including climbing walls, campsites, mountain bike orienteering, slacklining, Nordic walking, orthotherapy, low ropes course elements and participative construction workshops, participants are offered the opportunity to develop relational experiences which promote personal growth. In addition, the activities of Dianova‘s educational park are designed to provide effective support in situation of psychological and social distress while helping mitigate the individual’s risk factors by working on deviant behaviors such as bullyism and reinforcing protection factors.

Educate – from latin Ex-Ducere, or “drawing out” people’s inner resources to achieve personal fulfillment.

Social Camp: The experience at the center, you at the center of the experience!

Federica Ceccarelli