Resource Library

Shaping "Unselfie" Kids
Published Date: 2020-01-01

An Interview with Michele Borba, EdD

A former classroom and special education teacher, Michele Borba, EdD, is an internationally renowned educator, award-winning author, and parenting/ child expert recognized for her solu-tion-based strategies to strengthen children’s social-emotional intelligence and character and reduce peer bullying. Her most recent book, Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World, is full of realistic, research-based advice for building empathy in today’s generation of kids.

Borba opens Unselfie in this way:

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How to Become a Servant Leader
Published Date: 2020-01-01

I strongly believe that an organization is not defined by its products or its glitzy marketing. The people who work for the organization are its true assets.

A leader who takes care of their people will never have to worry about subpar customer service.

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Several years ago, when I directed my camp program specifically for African- American teen girls (Camp Butterfly), there were many memorable moments. But one in particular has been etched in the recesses of my mind since the day it occurred. The event happened during one of our summer sessions; it involved a young 13-year-old girl named “Lea.”

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In November 2018, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a two-week strike in front of the Swedish Parliament. She was on a mission to bring attention to the looming threat of climate change and to protest the inaction of world leaders on the issue. When she started, she was alone. Less than a year later, on September 20, 2019, she was joined by a wave of more than 14 million people in a cascading series of protests that spanned the globe through 138 countries, beginning in Australia and ending 24 hours later in the Americas (Sengupta, 2019).

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For generations, the family was known throughout the area as masters of making the most amazing fudge. Taking days to prepare, fudge making was an event — and those lucky enough to receive some would savor it as long as they could. The fudge recipe was a heavily guarded family secret, traditionally passed down to just one relative in the next generation. The grandmother had been the last maker. When it was time to pass the torch, she brought the next family member in line to her kitchen for instruction and ceremoniously gave them the recipe.

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“Without Camplify? Gosh, I don’t know where we would be.”

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ACA’s 5-Year Impact Study entered its third and final phase in fall 2018. This means that we are well on our way to understanding the lasting impacts of camp and how camp experiences prepare young people for their college, career, and adult lives. By the time you read this, we will have data from current campers and their parents or caregivers, former campers, new staff, and staff who have worked at camp for several years, all of which helps tell a story not only of the benefits of attending camp, but the specific ways camp experiences foster these outcomes. 

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“Can I talk to you for a minute?” It’s a simple question that in the blink of an eye can send the receiver on an emotional roller coaster. Take a moment and slowly read the following list. Pretend each one of these people is asking you that question. Notice your initial emotional reaction.

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Forget camp as you know it, because the world is changing faster than camp professionals are holding their ground. Forget camp’s unique combination of community living away from home in a beautiful natural setting with a recreational premise. Forget its proven power to accelerate youth development. This 160-year-old concept has a bleak future if current trends continue unchecked. In the coming decades, I predict these seven revolutions.

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Today the American Camp Association (ACA) is at an imperative strategic inflection point in its history. There could not be a more propitious time to set a new course for our Association beyond 2020. This past summer the ACA National Board adopted a bold and ambitious 2020–2024 strategic plan after engaging strategic planning consultants to undertake eight months of research with members, volunteer leaders, staff, donors, and other stakeholders.

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