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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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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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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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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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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One of the best reasons to go to camp is to experience something new. Yet, at the same time, some of the unpleasant feelings experienced while at camp might be because we are new! It is a paradox. It is solvable. Those of us who are returning need to welcome the newbies into the feeling of being one of us.

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The first time I can remember intentionally practicing empathy, I was an eight-year-old, first-time camper sitting in a circle with my counselors and cabinmates inside our cabin just before bed. It was maybe the third night of camp. I had settled into camp and started to realize how funny my counselors Barry, Chuck, and Tico were, and that camp could be a blast. Everyone was chattering over each other.

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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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E.g., 2019-12-05