- Be the kind of person you want your campers to become - obey the rules yourself!
- Know as many campers as possible by name. Know something about them. Build relationships.
- Be friendly. Always show interest in what individual campers are doing and their progress.
- "One pat on the back is worth two slaps in the face." Praise good qualities and actions.
- A sense of humor is extremely valuable. Use it frequently.
- Maintain your poise at all times. Don't let campers "get to you."
- Don't take misbehavior personally. It is a choice the camper is making.
- Every child has needs; his behavior will give you clues as to what those needs are.
- Keep in mind that misbehavior is seldom willful. Try to find the cause.
- Try to see the camper's side of the situation. Discuss it with him/her until you understand.
- Distract, distract, distract! One of the best methods to control behavior is to keep them busy!
- Show your disapproval of behavior through your speech, facial expressions, and actions.
- Being close when you note a potential problem can keep it from actually occurring.
- Enlist other leaders (peers or staff) to provide role models.
- Allow natural consequences to occur if the results are not to severe.
- Withholding privileges or taking away something a camper likes is usually effective.
- Sending a child to "timeout" allows them time to cool down and think about behavior change.
- Have a group meeting to discuss and resolve generalized problems.
- Remain with your campers during meals and free time.
- Avoid getting campers over-tired, keyed-up, or tense.
- Be willing to admit when you're wrong and ask for forgiveness.
Reprinted from The Complete Resource Pack , published by the American Camp Association. To order, call 800-428-2267.
Originally published in the 2000 May/June of Camping Magazine.