Resource Library

Wildfire!
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Since moving to Montana from Pennsylvania several years ago, I’ve become much more attuned to the threat of wildfires, and have begun to learn more about what can be done to safeguard the people inside structures and limit damage at the same time. Our home is now at the very edge of the service area for a fine volunteer fire department, but there are surely limits to how quickly they can respond. Just last October, fire took our neighbors’ home, and it reminded us that living on the prairie has hazards and risks along with the wonders it brings.

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Did you know that two out of every three adults have experienced at least one adverse childhood event (ACE) by the time they reach 18 years of age? In addition, one in eight adults reports experiencing four or more ACEs by age 18 (CDC, 2018). What are ACEs? They include experiencing emotional, sexual, and/or physical abuse; chronically feeling unloved or unwanted; the divorce or separation of one’s care-givers; and living with substance abuse or other mental health issues in the home.

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"Smile"
Published Date: 2018-07-01

Dear Bob:

I am a camp director at a sleepaway camp in the Midwest. We have multiple sessions of two weeks each throughout the summer. At the start of each session I notice that our staff almost seem like the proverbial deer in the headlights when the new campers arrive. After all we cover during staff training they almost don’t know how to connect comfortably with their new crop of campers. Do you have any ideas that might help?

Muddled in Michigan

Dear Muddled,

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Happy Camping, Y'all!
Published Date: 2018-05-01

Being a camp counselor is hard, but it’s the best and most rewarding work you’ll ever do. As someone who spent 17 summers at camp as a camper, counselor-in-training, cabin counselor, lifeguard, horseback wrangler, arts and crafts coordinator, and an assistant director, I can promise your time at camp will be well worth it. There will be early mornings, rainy days, and long nights, but the summers you spend as a camp counselor will stay with you forever and provide countless stories that will always make you want to go back.

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It’s Brain Science!

Psychologists have now learned that the brain is more like a muscle — it changes and gets stronger when you use it. If we take a peek inside the outside layer of the brain — called the cortex — we find billions of tiny nerve cells, called neurons. These nerve cells have branches connecting them to other cells in a complicated network. Synaptic communication between these brain cells is what allows us to think and solve problems. When we learn new things, these tiny connections in the brain actually multiply and get stronger.

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My mother crochets. Over tea in restaurants. In line at the airport. At the movies. If you can breathe there, my mom can crochet there. She crochets for friends, family, and perfect strangers. Literally. At the end of one flight to San Francisco, I watched her give a newly knotted Christmas stocking to the woman sitting next to her simply because the woman had said she liked it. That’s my mom in a nutshell. Or in a granny square. She’s eccentric, generous, and has mad skills for most things she sets her mind to. She was perseverant ages before it was trendy to have grit.

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Having managed hundreds of camp crises, we have come to realize that the majority of events that cause harm to people and reputations fall into four major categories: waterfront accidents, transportation accidents, communicable illness, and sexual misconduct. Camps, similar to the one you call home, have fallen victim to crises in all four categories.

As a staff member, it is your duty and responsibility to prevent as many injuries, accidents, and crises as possible during the camp season. You may be thinking a few things:

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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:

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Why are kids at camp so darn happy? It’s a relevant question as we embark upon another camp season. Of course, an important part of your job this summer will be to promote and enhance that happiness and to create a pathway for successful camper outcomes.

What do those outcomes look like?

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Congratulations! You committed to working at camp this summer, and the director and/or team who hired you have been anticipating your arrival since you signed on the dotted line! It is completely normal to have cold feet and wonder if you made the right decision to spend your summer at camp, similar to the feelings of the campers you will soon meet who will be embarking on this adventure as well. Before the butterflies in your stomach get the best of you, know that commitment is a two-way street.

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