A one-page philosophy on competition.  Competition has its place, and its misplace, and its healthy, and unhealthy, orientation.  A 15-page version is available on request.

What is Competition?:

Competition is an act, coming ultimately from a desire to succeed and/or to know oneself. People compete with their grades, in sports, for popularity, in business….and in many other areas of life. Competition is a huge part of society, and has both its pros and cons as to how it affects the community and individuals. How we orient ourselves towards competition decides whether or not it is healthy or unhealthy, and at Camp Augusta we strive not to eliminate competition entirely, but to make sure that our campers engage in healthy competition, which will ultimately leads to their growth.

Healthy Competition Provides:

The promotion of sportsmanship & teamwork

Builds self concept & prepares children for life

Helps people to learn strengths & set goals

Teaches discipline & self motivation

Reduces anxiety & depression

Forges friendships & builds character

Develops problem solving & leadership skills

Increases fitness levels & coordination

….and Unhealthy Competition:

Encourages the view of reward & punishment

The demoralizing nature of loss

Increases negative anxiety & lowers self esteem

Winning builds up ego & encourages antisocial behavior

Reduces other players to obstacles to be overcome

Increases stress & lowers performance levels

Winning is the goal, not having fun

Leads children to envy winners & dismiss losers

In extreme cases, the nature of competition can lead to the use of cheating, drug taking and social cruelty. The latter is the most likely to occur at camp, therefore it is important that we foster healthy competition with our campers.

In all activities at camp, there is the possibility for competition. Whether this be during evening programs, regarding level bracelets, in clinics, in the dining hall, in the cabin, or just on a nature walk. Competition can crop up. The steps of success counseling and the guidance and attitude of the leader can usually manage to promote a healthy air of competition, and a disposition towards cooperation in these instances.

What we do at camp:

  • Limit the number of activities that have campers competing against each other
  • Focus on personal development & challenge by choice
  • Focus on effort, not accomplishment
  • Emphasize having fun & encourage cooperation
  • Level the playing field – even teams

What we don’t do:

  • Have big rewards for winners
  • Embarrass, humiliate or punish losing
  • Compare campers
  • Allow bad sportsmanship
  • Color Wars

What we need to do:

  • Keep evaluating and be reflective individuals
  • Educate campers about both sides of competition
  • That every activity could be participated in with a healthy or unhealthy competitive attitude