For many years, “canteen” meant an item of candy that you chose from a list in the morning, that was later delivered to your bunk, along with your mail and packages. Last summer, we gave canteen a makeover with the introduction of the Canteen Store, and along with it, the concept of TOUBUCKS (TB). This year, we upgraded even further with a brand new Canteen building, complete with 3 windows (for improved line flow efficiency), a full sized refrigerator (for increased gatorade volume and frozen Icy Pops), and more storage space (for, well…storage).
I tell you this so that next time you’re wondering “what do these people DO all year?”, now you’ll know. We apply sophisticated business and operational concepts…to CANTEEN.

TouBucks are digital Manitou currency that can be spent on items in the Canteen (we don’t accept bitcoin). Each camper gets 5 TB per day, and if they don’t spend them, they accrue. 5 TB will get you any number of goodies, ranging from a candy item to sunglasses and popcorn. 10 TB will get you such coveted items as Pop Tarts and Gatorade. Additional savings will get you magazines, Manitou gear, and games. Their are also healthier food options, some from our Garden, for 2.5 TouBucks. For the second year running, Big Bird’s Prius continues to be the goal that many of our young savers aspire to, and we routinely hear the little guys trying to calculate if it would even be possible to save up 1 Million TB during their lifetime at camp. (It’s not. Even if you’re Joel Peckham who’s been here for 45 years.)

Now let’s stop for a minute and consider all of the educational and practical benefits of this system.

  • Math – “How many TB do I have? How much does it cost? Can I afford that deck of cards?”
  • Self-Control – Much like that famous Marshmallow Study from the 70’s, wouldn’t it be interesting to correlate how many TB savers eventually become College League Deans?
  • Choice – Kids love to have control over big decisions like snacks. They feel empowered.

So 3 benefits may not seem like a lot, but hey, sometimes a candy bar is just a candy bar. And that’s ok too.

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