Basic Information

Certain key competencies are increasingly required by employers. This trend began in the 1950s. The following key competencies are the competencies that augment the professional abilities (hard skills) of an applicant.
Soft skills can be divided into four areas:

  1. Social skills
    These skills ease interpersonal relations. Good social skills make it possible to deal with others appropriately, even in difficult situations. Common social skills are: empathy, respect, relationship management, conflict resolution, teamwork and communication skills.
  2. Methodological Skills
    These are the competencies that help a person deal with problems and find solutions. Methodological competencies are: appropriation and application of knowledge, application of work and learning techniques, development of solution strategies.
  3. Individual Skills
    This includes all personal skills that help to optimize your own actions. Individual competencies are: reflection, adaptability, decision-making ability, values and ethics
  4. Ability to act
    The competency to act properly results from the positive interaction of the previous competencies. Together with the hard skills, they determine a person's behavior.

In summary, soft skills can also be described as key qualifications.

Key Competencies in Treehouse Camps

“Children and youth work constitutes, so to speak, an independent social-pedagogical arena in which children and young people can acquire skills that cannot be trained elsewhere in this specificity” (S. 83, HARRING; PALENTIEN; 2008, transl. by author).

Working with adolescents has alwayshas always provided a special opportunity to develop key competencies. In addition to school, where very formal education often takes place, youth work is the place of socialization for children and young people. Here they can test themselves and their ideas, prove themselves and develop socially in contact with peers. In the varying formats of child and youth work, skills are promoted in different ways. In experiential education, the focus is also on the development of personal skills.

“… learning processes initiated by experiential education are less about learning cognitive knowledge or reaching formal educational qualifications. Far from formal learning, experiential education primarily aims at the personal and social side of education.” (Wolfgang Wahl, aus MICHL u. SEIDEL, 2018, 29 transl. by author).

Due to the variety of possibilities, experience-based tree house camps offer very good prerequisites for helping participants grow in their skills. Self-efficacy for example is something that the participants experience, seeing how the tree house grows and how it can be inhabited by the end.

“Personality development through experiential education is essentially based on the construction of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy describes the attribution of the success of an action to one's own abilities: “I did it’” ( Wolfgang Wahl, aus MICHL u. SEIDEL, 2018, 28, transl. by author).

This experience of self-efficacy gives courage and motivation to face bigger challenges and to work on personal skills.

The 10 Most Prevalent Key Competencies in Treehouse Camps


Teamwork describes the ability to be involved in work processes with 2 or more individuals. The focus here is not just on working together, but rather on working towards a common goal. The ability to give and accept feedback is just as important as ensuring that the team members know their strengths and weaknesses and that they complement and support each other. By working towards a common goal, the team develops a sense of togetherness, so that the focus is less on individual performance than on team performance. In the past, competition was often the stimulus for performance at work, but more recently teamwork has become important to employees and employers alike because it increases satisfaction level.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:


Taking responsibility for oneself, one's actions and also for others is important for the task. People who can take responsibility are more decisive and they can keep a clear head under stress.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:

Commercial Awareness

Commercial awareness helps people understand the big picture and what role they play in it. Employees with a high level of commercial awareness are more committed to their company and can think outside the box, helping them to look beyond their own interests.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:

Ability to Make Decisions

People who are able to make decisions can to overlook and analyse facts and problems in the shortest possible time and then develop appropriate decisions and solutions. Even in stressful situations they are able to make appropriate decisions and justify them based on facts.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:


Good communication is characterised by the fact that complex issues can be presented precisely and understandably. Not "what" is said is decisive, but rather "how" it's said. People with good communication can adapt better to their colleagues and know how to communicate in varying situations. Besides speaking, listening is also an important aspect of good communication.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:


Leadership describes the ability to interact with other people you are leading. There are different ways to carry out leadership: motivating people or delegating tasks for example. Also, the conflict management is crucial.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:

Trustworthiness and Ethics

People who are trustworthy can easily connect with others. Trustworthiness is shown through honest and moral actions in challenging situations. Underlying personal ethics serve to justify decisions and actions.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:

Orientation Towards Results

People who are results-oriented have their goal firmly set and know the steps they need to take to achieve it. They also have the motivation to think about projects and to support others.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:

Ability to solve Problems

The ability to solve problems is demonstrated by the fact that when problems arise, causes are identified and possible solutions are worked out. It is crucial to remain calm and determined.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:

Organizational Skills

Getting work done effectively and efficiently can often be challenging. Good time management and the ability to prioritize tasks are the hallmarks of this.

Achieved through the treehouse camp by:


CVJM-Akademie gGmbH
Institut für Erlebnispädagogik
Im Dru­sel­tal 8
34131 Kassel

Tele­fon: + 49 (0) 561 30 87–506
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Funded by Erasmus+ "Youth in Action"

The website and the content was developed in the project "Treehouse Camps - a Method to Strengthen Key Competences and Integration in Youth Work".

Project duration: September 2018 - August 2021