Happy Campers: A Counterintuitive Conversation about Youth Mental Health

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?

Teaching Your Campers the Art of Friendship

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:

On Bodies, Beliefs, and Bias: Why Respect for Human Rights Is Unnatural

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.

You Are What You Think: Growing Mindsets at Camp

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.

The Quiet Ones

Close your eyes and think of a scene at camp. There is probably some mix of singing, laughing, and playing where the adults are wearing costumes (seemingly related to nothing), the campers are engaged, and “camp” is happening. Take a quick survey of the adults in this scene. What are they doing?

Avoiding the Parent Trap: Working with Difficult Parents

Most camp parents are wonderful, but at every camp, there are a few who are some degree of difficult. From parents who demand special exceptions to parents who are wholly disengaged from their child's development, it is vital that we as camp professionals take a proactive approach when dealing with any challenging situation with a camp parent. This enjoyable (and yes, funny!) workshop will discuss techniques to help you turn your most difficult parents into loyal promoters of your camp!

By the end of the course participant will learn:

Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt: The Challenges of the Seasonal Return to Camp

Welcome back! In most camps, returning staff are an important part of a successful summer, bringing knowledge, perspective, and opportunities to broaden the camp experience for the campers. It's also an opportunity for you to grow in your own strengths and skills. While many successfully navigate the return to camp easily, you may also find that the transition to a new summer comes with some unexpected challenges. Here is a list compiled to help you recognize and avoid some common pitfalls:

Back to the Basics: Creating a Cohesive Staff Community

While this sounds so simple, why is it often so hard?  Community building is what camp is all about.  Yet, all of the ice-breakers and fun games in the world don’t guarantee that staff will be unified. Discover ways to create a cohesive staff community by looking at each subset of your staff group and their unique needs, providing opportunities to connect before camp begins, and fostering continued growth all throughout the season. It’s time to get back to the basics!

By the end of the webinar participant will learn:

Groundhog Day

Harold Ramis' classic Groundhog Day (1993) turned a once minor day in February and minimally celebrated holiday into a profound lesson on love, life, and one's personal journey of growth and how we conduct ourselves on a daily basis. It also gave us some unforgettable moments, like Phil Connors' (played by Bill Murray) repetitive 6 a.m. wakeup to Sonny and Cher's hit song "I Got You Babe," released July 1965.