While a few campers choose to fill their days to the brim with activities, most campers prefer to maintain a balance of activities and free time. This leaves time to take a walk, talk with friends, practice an instrument, write a song; time to email home, read a book, or listen to music.
With never more than 160 campers, and always at least 40 staff, everyone knows everyone, and our camper-to-adult ratio is always 4:1 or better.
There are no awards, prizes, or inclusion and exclusion based on judging, scoring, or grading of any type. We want the experience of art-making to be rich and fulfilling, and for every camper to have ample opportunity for personal growth without external pressures.
There are no handbooks to read, no forms to fill out, no computerized scheduling. During the first days of camp, every camper tours the camp and gets a one-on-one meeting with a teacher in each of our activity areas to ask questions and and express their interests. This is the beginning of a conversation that lasts the the whole session: children and adults communicating and working together to make the most fruitful use of their time.
No bells ring, whistles blow or loud speakers blare to announce the end of one activity and the beginning of another. Every camper chooses his or her own activities, and has a unique daily schedule. As one of our parents said, ‘Ballibay is the most structured – unstructured arts camp…’
‘It’s the Journey, not the Product’ has always been a basic tenet of the Ballibay philosophy. The road that leads to a completed project, artwork or performance is the most valuable to the student, regardless of the final outcome. If the process of development and discovery is positive, then valuable learning and growth have occurred.
We expect campers to make a commitment to the activities they have chosen and follow through with them. If campers wish to change commitments, they do so in cooperation with their teachers.
The campers have no access to phones or social media while at camp, but electronic devices are allowed as long as they do not have cellular data capability. Phones and cellular tablets with SIM cards removed are not allowed.
Our campers are young artists, musicians, dancers. They need their music, and they love to have devices with cameras. So many will come with iPads, iPod Touches, Nintendo Switches, and similar devices. Some are writers, composers, or animators, and will have tablets or computers with them for these purposes. Also, many campers read from Kindles or listen to audiobooks.
Since they will not receive Wi-Fi passwords, they will not have access to social media or the Internet except at the camp’s email computers, which only allow access to Gmail.