Teaching Your Campers the Art of Friendship

Fostering friendships among campers is one of the most important goals of any summer camp program. As counselors, you will play a pivotal role in modeling and teaching your campers the skills they need to make friends, be a good friend to others, and maintain strong friendships.

The importance of your coaching young people in the areas of social and emotional skills has been highlighted in several studies, including the famous 80-year Harvard Study of Adult Development, which found that:

Creating a Strengths-Based Camp

Several years ago, deep into my research on positive psychology, I stumbled upon an obvious truth: We are happier when we spend more time focusing and building upon our strengths than remediating our weaknesses. This is as true for children as it is for adults.

Coaching Your Campers to Better Friendships

"Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold." — Girl Scout song based on a poem by Joseph Parry

Five Ways to Be an Outstanding Counselor this Summer

Hey, you! I know something about you. You want to be a great counselor this summer. You really do. And you can one of the best, most memorable counselors your camp has ever seen. 

Why Can’t School Be More Like Camp?

Yesterday, my fourth grade son came home from school downcast. It’s his third week at a new school, and I had encouraged him to find a friend or two to invite over to swim. He had asked two boys for their phone numbers, and the boys had said they were “adopted brothers” and written down a fake phone number before getting in different cars to go home. My heart broke for my son.

Why Kids Flourish at Camp

Campers often describe camp as their “happy place” or “the best two weeks” of their year. And, from my own observation, I’ve seen that kids and the counselors who work with them are obviously happy at camp. They smile a lot. They look relaxed. There’s a lot of laughter. So many fun things happen at camp every day that it’s no surprise it’s such a happy place for kids.

Recently I’ve read several books about the science behind happiness and the research that’s being done to determine the specific elements that cause people to “flourish” in life.

5 Reasons Why Great Parents Send Their Kids to Camp

My shy, quiet nine-year-old went to camp not knowing a soul. Two weeks later, she came home transformed. She blossomed. She made friends, learned a multitude of activities, felt safe, loved, confident, and happy — really, really happy. As hard as it was on me, it was all worth it for her. It was the single best thing I have ever done for her.
—First-time camp parent

Ten Photo Posting Tips

Posting daily photos of campers is a service many camps now offer, and many parents have come to expect. If you post photos for camp parents to view, you’ve probably handled complaints from well-meaning parents who spend a lot of time scouring through your camp’s photos, often watching them upload, one by one.

The Impact of Camp Experiences on Social Skills and Happiness

With depression, anxiety, and addiction rates high among adolescents (Keyes, 2006), and many youth engaged in relational aggression and other damaging social practices like bullying, there is clearly a need to find effective interventions to improve social skills, relationships, and overall well-being in our young people. Camp professionals know from experience that camp can serve as a positive, often life-changing, psychological intervention for youth, but for the "noncamp" world to understand the potential benefits of summer camp, rigorous research needs to be conducted and disseminated.

¿Por qué no pueden las escuelas parecerse más a los campamentos?

Ayer mi hijo de ocho años volvió de la escuela apesadumbrado. Es su tercera semana en una escuela nueva y yo le había animado a que encontrara un par de amigos para invitarlos a nadar. Les había pedido el número de teléfono a dos niños y los niños le habían dicho que eran “hermanos adoptados” y habían escrito números de teléfono falsos antes de montarse en carros diferentes para regresar a su casa. Sentí mucha pena por mi hijo.