Candle Chat: Sharing Our Goals & Fears


Every night at camp, we end the day by coming together and having a Candle Chat. Counselors pose a question to campers and they pass around a candle that serves as a talking stick. Questions at Candle Chat can range from “Why did you come to camp?” to “What is your relationship to the outdoors?” and more. Candle Chats are a great time for campers to share their goals, fears, and accomplishments with each other without fear of being judged or ignored. To get a sense of what it’s like, here are our Candle Chat rules:

  • Challenge by Choice. Campers are encouraged and challenged to share if they want to, but none of our counselors will ever force a camper to share if they are uncomfortable.
  • Popcorn Style. Campers talk when they feel ready to and counselors do not call on them. Sometimes that means overlapping with each other, so it requires a lot of patience!
  • Talk to Speak, Don’t Talk to Talk. Counselors encourage campers to share once and share something meaningful. We ask that campers don’t share multiple times because it can take up time that could be used by another camper who hasn’t gone yet.
  • Safe Space. We ask all campers not to comment on or share what others have said in candle chat after candle chat ends. This discourages campers from sharing in the future!
  • Snaps. We ask all campers to react to what others are saying by snapping and refrain from verbally responding or any other sort of reaction.

Candle Chats are one of our oldest traditions at the Keystone Science School. They are an integral part of building community within each cohort and allow campers the chance to reflect on their camp experience. We can’t wait to start them back up this summer!