The Junior High (JH) Program is for campers who have just completed grade 6, 7, or 8. Middle school students experience new levels of independence for the first time, which can be exciting, yet tough. As students face physical changes and new social challenges, TAF provides a safe and supportive space for them to develop themselves as teenagers.
The TAF JH Program is designed to meet the developmental needs of our campers and to explore what it means to be Taiwanese American. Our small group structure for JH (two counselors per 8-10 campers) ensures that campers have the close support and supervision they need while still giving them the space to take measured risks in an encouraging environment.
Our JH counselors serve as role models for campers and design activities throughout the week. Our programming focuses on fostering meaningful social connections, developing teamwork skills, practicing servant leadership, and applying healthy frameworks for self-discovery.
We work closely with our speaker and counselors to create engaging lessons on one of TAF’s four rotating themes: Leadership, Identity, Ethics and Values, and Communication. Campers will participate in activities and workshops to discover, develop, and apply new skills related to the current year’s theme.
A typical day for a JH camper begins with Speaker Sessions at 9 am; These lessons challenge campers to reflect on theme-related topics. Speaker Sessions will include engaging, hands-on activities to reinforce these lessons. In their small groups, campers will reflect on the speaker session in a counselor-led group discussion. This gives campers the opportunity to apply these lessons to their lives, while also exercising their social skills in a small, encouraging, and safe environment.
Following these sessions, campers will be able to enjoy a variety of activities prepared by their counselors. In our counselor-led workshops, campers will have opportunities to be physically active outdoors, learn more about their Taiwanese heritage, or hone new skills.. Activities in the past have included candle making, scallion pancake making, Ultimate frisbee, and so much more. During choir and swing choir sessions, the entire JH program will learn a dance act and a singing act that they will perform at the end of the week TAF Night performance. The JH program will also join the other TAF programs during Family Time, where they will be able to play games with Big and Little Sibs (campers from the Youth, Juniors, and/or Sprouts programs), including a camp-wide picnic and water balloon fight!
After dinner, evening activities include guided dialogues on race, gender, culture, and current social issues. These dialogues provide campers the chance to express their thoughts and learn how to actively listen and empathize. Evening activities also include the TAF Teahouse and Informal Dance as well as the Night Market, which aims to bring campers a taste of the famous night markets in Taiwan. At the end of such a busy day, counselors make sure campers are in their rooms and ready for bed by curfew at 10:30 pm.