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DREAM Blog!

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In the heart of our summer program, where laughter and curiosity intertwine, an extraordinary adventure unfolded - an indoor rock climbing field trip that not only tested physical limits but became a powerful catalyst for personal and collective growth. This thrilling escapade, meticulously planned by our summer manager, Kaylyn, aimed not just to engage the kids in a new physical activity but to encourage appropriate autonomy, promote a growth mindset, and go beyond conventional learning experiences.


Kaylyn's Challenge:

Kaylyn, our visionary summer manager, recognized the kids' zest for physical activities and sought to elevate their experiences. She embarked on a personal challenge to plan the entire rock climbing field trip, going beyond the routine and traditional, and providing an opportunity for the kids to exercise appropriate autonomy. From coordinating with the facility to handling all communication, permission slips, and family outreach, she emphasized continuous improvement in her leadership skills and set the stage for a transformative day ahead.


Mentors Embracing New Heights:

The challenge extended beyond the kids to our dedicated summer members and mentors. They embraced the opportunity to learn the art of belaying, fostering critical thinking skills and ensuring the safety of their young charges as they scaled the walls. One mentor, recognizing the need for a different approach, got personal with the challenge, taking the lead in offering support to kids who required a break. This adaptive response not only showcased the mentors' commitment to equity but also highlighted their dedication to the well-being and growth of each child.


Kids at the Crossroads of Challenge:

For our young adventurers, the rock climbing excursion was a tapestry of challenges. They navigated unfamiliar terrains, learned the intricacies of rock climbing safety protocols, and faced the empowering decision of choosing their challenge level. The trip not only served as a microcosm of life's challenges but also encouraged future thinking as each child envisioned themselves conquering new heights.



Bonding Over Challenges:

As the day unfolded, a sense of camaraderie emerged among the kids, mentors, and Kaylyn. The shared challenge became the cornerstone of conversations, creating lasting memories and fostering a sense of unity. The rock climbing adventure became more than a physical feat; it became a shared triumph, a testament to the strength found in facing challenges together. The use of an equity lens ensured that every child felt supported, and continuous feedback contributed to their ongoing development.


In the tapestry of our summer program, the indoor rock climbing field trip stands out as a vibrant thread, weaving together moments of challenge, growth, and camaraderie. Kaylyn's initiative to plan the trip, mentors learning to belay, and the kids navigating the heights symbolize the transformative power of embracing challenges. Through this shared experience, we've not only scaled the heights of a rock climbing wall but also reached new summits of resilience, teamwork, and personal growth. The echoes of this adventure continue to reverberate in our conversations, reminding us that growth flourishes in the face of challenges, and together, we can conquer any climb that life presents. As we hold youth to their goals, we pave the way for a future where challenges are embraced, continuous improvement is celebrated, and the spirit of adventure propels us beyond our wildest imaginations.



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In a significant leap forward, Camp DREAM is excited to announce that after a dedicated two-year self-directed journey, we have achieved accreditation from the prestigious American Camp Association (ACA). This milestone is a testament to our commitment to excellence in providing a safe, enriching, and unforgettable experience for all our campers. In this blog post, we are thrilled to share the exciting news with our donors, families, and community partners who have been an integral part of this remarkable journey. 


Over the past two years, our dedicated team at Camp DREAM has worked tirelessly to meet the rigorous standards set by the American Camp Association, a leading organization focused on building quality experiences at camps grounded in belonging and growth. The process involved a comprehensive evaluation of our policies, procedures, and overall camp operations. It required a thorough examination of our commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of every DREAM camper entrusted to our care. 


The ACA accreditation process has been instrumental in helping Camp DREAM establish a robust framework for policies and procedures. Through a meticulous review of our programs, staff training, emergency protocols, and facility management, we have not only met but exceeded the stringent standards set by the ACA. This achievement underscores our unwavering dedication to creating an environment where every child can thrive, learn, and create lasting memories. 


The accreditation process has provided us with invaluable insights and best practices from the industry, enabling us to enhance the overall camp experience for our participants. By aligning our operations with the ACA's high standards, we have not only strengthened the foundation of Camp DREAM but also raised the bar for the quality of services we provide. 



Camp DREAM is more than just a physical space; it is a community that comes together to create something truly special. We are immensely proud of the hard work, dedication, and passion that our staff, volunteers, and partners have invested in making this accreditation a reality. This achievement is a testament to the collaborative spirit that defines our camp, the DREAM program, and the shared commitment to our mission.


With ACA accreditation, Camp DREAM is poised for a bright future. We remain committed to providing a safe and enriching environment for every camper, fostering personal growth, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. This accomplishment is not the end of our journey but a stepping stone to continued excellence and innovation. 


We are thrilled to share this amazing news with our extended Camp DREAM family. The achievement of ACA accreditation is a testament to our collective efforts and unwavering commitment to the well-being and happiness of every child who walks through our camp gates. As we reflect on the past two years, we look forward to the countless adventures and discoveries that lie ahead at Camp DREAM, where dreams come to life. Thank you for being an essential part of our journey!




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BOSTON - Search Institute’s Developmental Relationship Framework is instrumental in our mentoring models. It is introduced to mentors during their orientation to whichever DREAM program they are participating in and is our most common reference point when offering mentors (and ourselves) support within their mentoring relationship. We are exploring the framework by telling stories from each of our programs and locations.


The Developmental Relationships Framework identifies Providing Support as a key element of its framework for building strong relationships that help kids thrive. The framework consists of five elements: Express Care, Challenge Growth, Provide Support, Share Power, and Expand Possibilities. Each element offers actionable, relationship-building steps that contribute to meaningful, positive interactions between kids and the adults that support them. This time we will inspect Providing Support through the lens of a mentoring pair in Boston. The mentor, Mohamad, and the mentee, Zee, participate in the Village Mentoring program.


Mohamad provided support to Zee during a challenging moment at a DREAM activity. According to Search Institute, a Zee would understand that Mohamad was providing him with support when:

  • They are helped with completing tasks or achieving goals.

  • They are guided through hard citations or systems.

  • They are offered words of confidence that they are able to take charge of their life.

  • They feel they have someone in their life who will stand up for them when they need it.

  • They are offered boundaries or limits to assist in keeping them on track toward their own aspirations.


Our story begins at a flag football game organized by our DREAM chapter at Boston University. Zee was excited to play and Mohamad was ready to cheer for and support his mentee. The game began and mentors and mentees played side-by-side. The action was back and forth - it was fast and fun. As most playground games go, the intensity of the competition grew as the game continued, which ramped up the pressure each mentee felt to play well. During one particular play, Zee made a mistake and it led to the other team scoring a touchdown. It was clear that Zee felt down and was a bit embarrassed by his error, and he expressed he wanted to sit out the rest of the game.


This was the point where Mohamad intervened to provide support to his mentee. Mohamad pointed out to Zee that it was just a game and while his mistake felt heavy and big at the moment, it was not something on which he should dwell. Mohamad did his best to make it a teachable moment. He shared with Zee the importance of resilience and teamwork, letting him know that failing at something is normal. He expressed that everyone fails and viewing failure as a stepping stone to growth and success is really important. Mohamad’s encouraging support moved Zee to rejoin the game and the fun, turning a tough moment into an exciting and impactful memory.



By the end of the game, Zee had made a pivotal play to help his team win. He also comprehended the value of persistence and the significance of the support he received from Mohamad. It was a transformational experience for both Zee and Mohamad that illustrates the power of providing support, and its impact goes far beyond the football game.




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