Resource Library

One of the common threads of this past year was the sheer amount of alone time most of us experienced. Even if you live in a full house like I do, the pace and variety of social experiences dropped off a cliff. Whether you spent time learning to bake, getting proficient at Zoom, or just managing to keep it together, chances are you did this by yourself. And we all noticed what that lack of time with friends and family felt like. One of the fundamental ways we make and keep friends is by spending time with them. And the more time we spend with someone, the better we know them.

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When you look back over your childhood, is there an adult outside of your family — a teacher, coach, camp counselor, or mentor — who told you something positive about yourself that you still remember today? Their positive words may even be something you still repeat to yourself.  "I can do hard things," "I am courageous," "I am persistent," or "I listen well to others" are examples of affirmations you might have internalized about yourself because someone you looked up to pointed out that trait.

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Supporting the Socially Awkward Camper
Published Date: 2021-05-03

Singer Jimmy Buffett famously said, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.” Working with children in challenging situations can be difficult, stressful, frustrating, and yes, extremely rewarding. But we have to (camp song alert!) “stay on the sunny side” of it or we risk burning out, and that’s no help to anyone at all. We have to strike the right balance of honesty, compassion, and humor for ourselves and our campers. So keep a few things in mind:

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Loving, well-intentioned parents from all over the world are inadvertently applying unhealthy pressure — the kind that undermines young people’s creativity, motivation, emotional well-being, social development, and intellectual curiosity. Simply put, the push to perform is backfiring. That is the central paradox of parental pressure. Slowly and silently, harmful pressure on young people has become a crisis. And the social isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse.

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Sometimes You Must Tell Campers No
Published Date: 2021-05-03

Whenever your job includes the supervision of campers there is an expectation that you will enforce the camp’s rules as well as its limits regarding camper behavior. As frontline staff, you will supervise participants, educate them about the consequences of injury-prone  behavior, and enforce rules and regulations to prevent injuries. The decisions you make and actions you take can be the difference between campers getting hurt or having a great experience.

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Connecting to the Purpose of Camp
Published Date: 2021-05-01

The phrase “now more than ever” has become cliché for good reason this year. After experiencing the many negative impacts of the pandemic, campers and staff have an even deeper need for the benefits of camp. But providing the best outcomes of camp will be more challenging this summer as we work within the restrictions of necessary safety precautions. Now more than ever, we as staff need to connect with the purpose of camp.

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What if I told you that as a camp counselor you are in the position to change a life? That by committing to making your campers feel seen, heard, and valued, you could be an educator, stress reliever, mediator, and role model — all in one. Well, I’m about to tell you how.

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Promoting a Culture of Appreciation
Published Date: 2021-05-01

We all want to feel valued and appreciated. This is especially true in a job situation. We typically are motivated to do our best work when the folks on top notice our efforts and outcomes. In an ideal world, every camp director gives specific praise to each and every counselor and staff member. In a small camp environment, that might be doable. However, in most situations, it is not always logistically possible in a normal summer — let alone during a pandemic. Fortunately, there are no rules about who can show appreciation. Everyone needs it. Anyone can give it!

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Interrupting Implicit Biases at Camp
Published Date: 2021-05-01

Did you know you’re walking around with a set of lenses that uniquely shape your understanding of the world? Implicit bias is the idea that we view the world through lenses that have been formed by all of our experiences from the time we were born up to today. This includes the way we were raised, our values, our family history, our education, and even our camp experiences. No two people see things the same way — we each have our own lenses.

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A Summer of Kindness: A Lifetime of Impact
Published Date: 2021-05-01

Do you ever wonder if the little things you do for others really make a difference? Many years ago, something amazing happened when I returned to one of my old camps to do some staff training. After dinner, as I was sitting outside on a bench, a staff member walked up and asked, “Do you remember me?”

I looked at her, smiled, and said, “Give me a minute,” followed by, “May I have a hint?” Before I was caught in an obviously awkward moment, she explained that 12 years earlier she’d sat on that very same bench horribly homesick as a first-day, eight-year-old camper.

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