The fun, spirit, respect, and inclusive community that characterize Camp Kokoro (meaning heart/mind) entices campers to return year after year and attracts new families looking for quality summer activities. For the past twelve years, Thousand Waves’ month long summer day camp has provided intensive karate training for all levels of student, white belt to black belt, as well as structured and non-structured outdoor recreation and field trips to a very popular Chicago area water park.
Forty children, from age 6 to eighth graders, attend each of the sessions. Some are new to Thousand Waves and martial arts training, others have attended our camp previously, and many are our current students.
Young teens age 12 through 8th grade are counselors in training (CITs). They receive leadership training in addition to enjoying all the other activities. First aid, conflict resolution, respectful communication and problem solving/mediation are among the skills they learn at Camp Kokoro. CITs also help carry equipment, apply sun screen, search for lost lunches and perform countless tasks needed to make Camp Kokoro successful. Adored by the younger campers and appreciated by staff for all of their hard work, they wear their CIT t-shirts with pride and enthusiasm.
Another layer of leadership is provided by older high school and college aged adult ranked black belt counselors. They work closely with our professional teaching staff, learning how to develop class plans and lead group activities. Each morning, campers meet for team time, in which small groups of kids approximately the same age, led by counselors and CITs, gather to discuss the day’s events and get to know each other. The sweet intimacy of these team meetings helps the children feel comfortable and confident at Camp Kokoro and nourishes deep and lasting friendships.
A hallmark of Camp Kokoro is quality martial arts instruction and a rigorous training schedule that facilitates remarkable growth in students of all levels. Their personal relationship to Thousand Waves deepens and their understanding of their art broadens as they explore nunchaku and other traditional weapons, participate in kata and sparring tournaments, learn board breaking and take a Seido karate class every morning, 5 days a week. Our code of ethics – love, respect, non-quitting spirit, courage and responsibility – permeates the day’s activities, providing a safe and secure place for each and every camper at Camp Kokoro.