Resource Library

During the summer, I have many opportunities to see and discuss camper behavior at the several camps I visit during the season. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly even some well-educated, experienced adult leaders resort to tactics that involve shaming children or threatening to take things away from them as methods of managing their behavior. I believe children sometimes need firm guidance. I also believe that guidance can be offered respectfully, without shame or threats. I offer two examples from this past summer.

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Mindsets Matter
Published Date: 2020-01-01

An Interview with David Yeager, PhD

David Yeager, PhD, is an experimental development psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He researches and works to find solutions for adolescent health problems, including bullying, depression, academic achievement, cheating, trust, and healthy eating. He has co-authored work on grit and grit testing with Angela Duckworth, PhD, and on growth mindset with Carol Dweck, PhD. Yeager’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and Nature.

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"Kick a Ginger Day." Fair to say, the majority of adults reading this article have no idea what this means. A bunch of junior-high-aged kids in Calabasas, California, did, however. On November 20, 2009, at least four girls and two boys were subjected to physical and/or verbal bullying and abuse because of their red hair, freckles, and pale complexions. Ginger. Gilligan's Island. Redheads. It's quite a leap.

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Cathy’s story: “He looks like me but he sure don’t talk like me” was the comment I heard from an 11-year-old camper as he described his counselor who was black but from South Africa. In my early and admittedly failed attempts to mirror my staff to reflect my camper population, I did not understand what was most important to my campers and their parents — their identity — whether they were African American, Hmong, or Latino.

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"What you have to do is get them talking in such a way that they are unguarded. It could be anything they happen to be into, like their favorite baseball team or a dream they have about doing something. That's where you find out who they really are. By schmoozing in this way, I can tell whether I want someone on my staff or not!"

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The Last Dance
Published Date: 2014-07-01

It's late in the evening. My feet are tired. Music is reverberating in my ears. We've been dancing and mixing all night. Tonight is an incredible celebration, truly a hallmark event. This may be the last time we will all be together like this. While bits of personal and collective nostalgia have been creeping into our conversations with one another throughout the night, now there seems to be a greater sense of urgency, a need to capture all these moments before the night is over. The DJ steps to the microphone.

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Is There a Camp Movement in China?
Published Date: 2016-07-01

China is interested in American summer camps. This should not be a surprise to anyone who has seen the increasing numbers of Chinese attending the American Camp Association or Tri-State conferences. It is not a surprise to camp directors who are starting to get calls from Chinese parents — or more likely from middlemen representing Chinese parents — who are interested in having their children come to the United States for a summer, mainly to work on their English language skills.

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How to Speak So Others Listen
Published Date: 2014-01-01

When you speak, do people listen? More importantly, do they remember what you’ve said? Or, do you feel others simply tolerate or ignore you? If you’ve found yourself repeating messages or fighting to keep someone’s attention, you’re not alone! Your message has to cut through a lot of noise in today’s society, and the competition is brutal. You’re up against stress, technology, multitasking, and information overload. While it’s a challenge to be heard over the roar, it’s not impossible.

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Camps Help Make Children Resilient
Published Date: 2012-09-01

When Jacob arrived at his city’s day camp for his third season, the camp director was determined to avoid the problems Jacob was experiencing at school. Now eleven years old, Jacob had grown into a heavy child who spoke in a squeaky pre-pubescent voice. He had been tormented by bullies who thought him effeminate. The other boys in his group occasionally did the same, at least until staff intervened. Jacob’s parents weren’t his best allies either. A business woman and a university economics professor, neither seemed to have very much time for their son.

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Inspiring Healthy Staff Culture at Camp
Published Date: 2019-03-01

I’m ardently proud of the high-quality camp staff experiences that professional camp directors strive to offer young adults each season. Full of career-enhancing and life-benefitting skills, a summer spent working at camp is chock-full of core social and emotional learning.

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