We Teach Life Skills
Chef Camp is a fusion of culinary education with real life-skills development. At our core, Chef Camp is first and foremost a youth development program and is about transforming the lives of youth through the camp experience. So, unlike a cooking school, we are striving to develop the whole person, not “just” their culinary skills. While the culinary activities are important, we further use cooking as a tool in teaching skills that youth will use long after their session of camp is over. For example, in addition to learning how to cook, youth learn critical skills they will use for life – such as how to get along with others, how to take responsibly for ones actions, decision making, building independence, cooperation, respect for self and others and meeting the challenges of working in a group.
We Are Intentional in Building A Community Where Each Teen Is Valued
Chef Camp is a small group enrollment program. Our small size enhances the quality of programming, as well as allows us to meet the needs of youth in an individual way- with a high ratio of staff-to-participants providing the personal attention for aspiring chefs in building culinary confidence and learning new skills.
Our small size also allows us to be intentional in building a community where youth share key experiences, are involved socially, intellectually, and emotionally, and quickly bond to become a close knit group. We create an atmosphere where each child can develop a strong sense of belonging, feels valued by a community that cares about each another, where everyone is treated and accepted as an individual – and that youth learn to accept and appreciate differences in others.
We Are A Non-Competitive Instructional Environment
We are a life-skills building program. Educational research shows most youth don’t learn well in a competitive setting. The nature of traditional competition is that one can succeed only if all others fail – And failure isn’t what we are striving for…. As the results of traditional competition are counterproductive to our desire to create a community where youth develop healthy self-esteem, feel accepted, connected, and emotionally secure, we believe that, while competition is a necessary and inevitable part of life, we can manage competition in a way that counterbalances the elements of failure.
Nobody Fails Or Loses At Chef Camp!
Activities are conducted where youth are given freedom to try and learn without worrying about failure. There are no grades, no evaluations, and no comparing to someone else’s achievements. This is a chance to learn, explore, grow, challenge oneself- and have fun! Every one of our aspiring chefs comes to the program knowing different things, with different (or no) prior culinary experiences, and with different expectations for learning. Our goal is to provide opportunities for every participant to experience individual success!
And while this may seem counter-intuitive to some, the reality is that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how well the meal went- or even if the cake didn’t rise…What really matters is how each child feels about themselves as a result of their experience. At Chef Camp We create an environment that supports emotional well-being of each participant, and ensures that youth are connected, accepted, and that no one is isolated.