What’s in a “High Five Contract” & How You Can Use It
High fives are often used as signs of recognition, celebration, or excitement—given to the tune of “you rock!” and “we did it!”—but the common-place gesture can carry big impact when you assign meaning to it.
At many SeriousFun camps and programs, we do just this. For campers, their families, volunteers, and staff, the “High Five Contract” is a purposeful agreement about how we want to treat each other during our time together. This agreement encourages accountability, support, and understanding all in one swift—and super awesome—action.
So, what is the High Five Contract and how can you harness its magical power?
This one is the easiest to remember. Get it right and everything else will be that much easier because of it. Emotional and physical safety are of utmost importance to all of our campers and their families, staff, volunteers, and supporters. That’s why this one comes first.
When we respect ourselves and others, we create a positive atmosphere where children and adults feel valued and peaceful interactions are promoted. This comes second, because with respect comes peace.
(Get it? It’s a peace sign!)
This third step in the high five is known by a few different names throughout SeriousFun’s network of camps and programs, often called commitment, service, or love. No matter the name, it boils down to bringing a sense of dedication to yourself and those around you.
We are in this together and together we will support one another! It’s no coincidence that this third value comes with the addition of your ring finger—the one that is most associated with love and commitment.
At camp, we use the phrase “challenge by choice.” It means that everyone is encouraged to challenge themselves and that they can choose what challenge means for them. We all have varying comfort zones when it comes to trying new things, but stretching ourselves beyond our place of comfort can help us learn and grow.
Why the pinky finger with this one? Well, he’s the littlest of all the digits, so he may just have to stretch a little further to reach his goal.
With all the other values in place, all that’s left is to play and have fun! And play is important. It relieves stress and adds to our general happiness and resiliency.
Good old-fashioned, memory-making fun is just how our founder, Paul Newman, envisioned camp. He dreamt of a place where children living with serious illnesses could finally “kick back and raise a little hell”—a place where they could just be kids!
So there it is, the High Five Contract. The beauty of this high five is that it’s a little piece of camp magic that doesn’t have to stay behind once camp is over. You can take it with you and share it wherever you go, whether it be your home, the classroom, your community group, or a circle of friends. We could all use a few more positively-packed high fives going ’round!
Allison loves live music, the outdoors, and really cheesy jokes. So it stands to reason that she fits right in at camp. She helps raise funds by connecting others to SeriousFun’s powerful mission. Her favorite camp joke: What’s orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot!