Resource Library

Ten Tips and Tricks for Terrific Teaching
Published Date: 2018-05-01

Many camp staff are responsible for activities instruction as part of their job. If you have never taught before, the idea of instructing a group of campers can be a scary proposition. Being in front of a group presenting material can be challenging — and for some activities, a seemingly unlimited amount of material must be taught to campers in a limited amount of time.

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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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Amber, the food service manager, watched anxiously as the small summer campers tried desperately to carry large trays containing plates of food and silverware from serving line to table during lunch at Camp Marcos. Plates full of food slid from side to side, and then, BOOM! Contents crashed to the cafeteria floor — four times during one meal. As kitchen staff rushed from one cleaned-up catastrophe to clean another, Amber had had enough. She marched over to Evan, a college student who was this year’s summer camp director, and reiterated, “This is not working!”

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Because We Love It
Published Date: 2018-04-26

“Great ambition and conquest without contribution is without significance.”

~ The Emperor’s Club

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I had made an early morning appointment with my chiropractor to help with some chronic lower back problems. Given my usual busy schedule, I made it for 8 a.m. — the first available appointment he offers in the morning — so I would have plenty of time to make it back to my office for a 9:30 a.m. appointment with a client of my own.

When I arrived at my chiropractor’s office at 7:59, I was greeted by his secretary. She asked me to have a seat and told me that “Dr. Jim” would be with me soon. At 8:15 I asked her calmly, “Is Jim here?”

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