Resource Library

Dear Summer Camp Counselor
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Let me first say, I am so intensely jealous of you. I think every person who has had the pleasure of working at camp, be it for one year or five, is envious of anyone who gets to be there when they aren't, and for good reason. Summer camp is a magical place. But it's not just the landscape that encourages those who enter camp grounds to be the greatest version of themselves. It's you who makes this place magical.

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When you agreed to work at camp, you immediately made the decision to have fun, challenge yourself, and change lives. While the format to accomplish this will be provided for you by your camp, the implementation will not. This will come from you in the form of dedication and effort. How much commitment you choose to give is important because campers don’t always come to camp knowing how to succeed.

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Begin with the End in Mind
Published Date: 2019-05-01

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey describes Habit 2, “Begin with the End in Mind,” as a valuable approach to just about anything in life. For example, if you want to do a great job on a school project, first decide what the great finished project will look like. Then you can create the action plan for the steps you need to take to reach the project outcome you’ve envisioned.

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Calming Camper Conflicts
Published Date: 2019-05-01

Conflicts between kids at camp can arise for a wide variety of reasons — from being upset by relationships with peers or learning to adjust to new and different situations, to being frustrated with their progress in an activity or simply being tired, hot, or hungry — making campers restless, irritable, and/or inattentive. The list of what might trigger conflicts between campers is exhaustive — and can be exhausting!

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Congratulations! If you are reading this, it means that you have decided to be a camp counselor for at least a part of this summer! Now that you have landed the plum job, allow me to tell you the great news and the less-than-great news about what is in store for you.

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What do campers need from the counselors who work with them? They need caring relationships with adults they can trust. They need clear limits, high expectations, and healthy challenges. Campers need to be accepted for who they are. They need counselors to support them in taking positive risks and avoiding negative ones. In short, they need you to be the very best you can be.

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I keep wondering why I didn’t wear my helmet on that nearly fateful sled ride ten winters ago. The videos I’d taken of my sons the day before had been so funny that they insisted I take more the next day with my smartphone. And when my five-year-old son Sava asked me to jump on the sled and shoot a point-of-view (POV) video, I fumbled.

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Let's start with a riddle. As a camp counselor, you carry a powerful reward for campers with you wherever you go. Whether your realize it or not, you will distribute this reward to campers throughout the day. You'll tend to give this reward most often when campers are acting out, which could lead them to misbehave more. While all children crave this reward, they develop different strategies to acquire it: some have learned to be helpful and respectful, while others have learned to whine, complain, and stir up trouble. What is this mysterious and potent reward?

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UR Strong, iGen
Published Date: 2019-03-01

The total was 254.

It was the last day of the fall trimester at the independent high school where I’ve been working for 20 years. Until our health center adopts electronic medical records, I’ll keep spending the final three hours of every term hand-keying into our confidential database the date, time, and referral question of each student with whom I’ve spent 45 psychotherapeutic minutes.

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The Last Batch of Muffins
Published Date: 2019-03-01

My congratulatory handshake to colleague Jake Labovitz, who along with his wife, Kerry, owns Windsor Mountain Summer Camp in Windsor, New Hampshire, was commentary on a highly successful season. Jake’s reply? “Thanks, but you’re only as good as your last batch of muffins.”

What Jake was referring to is called “recency” — most recent — or what happens last. For context, “Social psychologists study how social influence, social perception, and social interaction influence individual and group behavior” (APA, 2018).

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