FIRST TIME AT CAMP? by BOB DITTER, LCSW

 

Sending your child away to camp for the first time is a major milestone for most families, one that is often marked by excitement, anticipation and perhaps even some anxiety. Though camp is certainly about making friends and having fun, it is also about being on your own and being part of a community. One of the most important things you as a parent can do to help prepare your child for both these aspects of camp is to talk with him about it before he goes. In fact, it may be better to have several occasional, shorter talks rather than one long conversation as children often absorb more when there is less to think about at one time. I also find that children do better with this sort of conversation if it is part of a more general conversation and part of a pattern of talking, either at the dinner table or while riding in the car doing errands.

THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME SAMPLE DISCUSSION TOPICS THAT WILL HELP PREPARE YOUR CHILD EMOTIONALLY FOR THEIR BIG ADVENTURE:

Friends

Tell your child: If you are shy about meeting new kids, then learn to get to know others by being a good listener. Also remember, that not everyone in your cabin, bunk or group has to be your friend, and you don’t have to be everyone else’s friend. As long as you treat others with respect and they do the same with you, then having one or two friends at camp is fine. If you have more, then that’s great, too!

Activities

Tell your child: If you tend to be a bit homesick or worried about being homesick, remember the excitement of going to camp. You may not like all the activities, or you may be better at some than others. That’s normal. But you should be willing to try. The more you put into camp, the more you will get out of it!

Cooperating

Tell your child: You, like every other camper there, will be part of a cabin, bunk or group. As your parent, I hope you will cooperate with others and help out. That’s part of what makes camp so special— kids helping each other out. Most kids will help you if you are friendly and help them.

Give yourself time. One thing about camp is that almost everything is new— the kids, the activities, the routines, the bed you sleep in, the bathroom. It takes a few days to get adjusted, so be patient with yourself. Most of the time you will be having so much fun you won’t mind all the changes, but if you do, remember that you will get so used to things that by the time you come home you will miss all those things!

Helping out

Tell your child: Camp is about fun, but it also requires that you help out. Clean up is part of camp. You do it every day. As your parent, I hope you will cooperate.

Getting help

Tell your child: Everyone has good days and bad days. If you are having a problem, your counselor is there to help you. You don’t have to wait to tell us if you are upset about something. After all, if your counselor doesn’t know what might be troubling you, he can’t help you. Be honest and ask for what you need. If your counselor doesn’t seem to be concerned or doesn’t help you, then you can go to the unit director, head counselor, etc. (Parents should know who these “back-up persons” are and how their child will recognize them if they need to).

Being positive

It’s a great thing to remind your first-time camper about his strong points. I would focus not just on what he does well, but his positive qualities, such as what makes him a good friend or the type of person other kids would want to know. Helping children identify their strengths can help them when they are having a setback— one of those inevitable growing pains all children have from time to time.

Talking with your child about these kinds of issues is a great way to show support as your child gets ready to take this important step on the road to becoming more resilient and self-reliant. For you as a parent, it can give you peace of mind as you allow your child to participate safely in a broader world.

To learn more about camp and child development, please visit the American Camp Association’s family Web site: www.CampParents.org. For information about ACA camps, contact: American Camp Association, 5000 State Road 67 North, Martinsville, Indiana 46151, (800)428-CAMP (2267).

Obedience: Why Do You Have To Tell Them Five Times?

By Michael Thompson Ph.D. http://michaelthompson-phd.com/

"In one fairly typical encounter, a father asked his eight-year-old son five times to please go take a bath or a shower. After the fifth plea went unheeded, the father picked the boy up and carried him into the bathroom. A few minutes later, the kid, still unwashed, wandered into another room to play a video game." 
-Elizabeth Kolbert

This situation may be extreme, but most parents I know have some version of this complaint. It's a good question: Why don't kids just do what we say the first time we say it?! And there's a good answer. Several, in fact. Here are eight reasons from the child's perspective -- plus solutions that work for parents!

1. They don't share our priorities.

No child understands why a bath seems so essential to you. And every child has something else he's in the middle of doing, that seems more important to him. It may not look important to you, but a child's play is his work -- that's how young humans learn. That's a good thing--you want a child who's self-motivated, rather than expecting you to entertain him.

Solution:

First, connect with your child by noticing what he's working on and acknowledging his priorities:

"Wow, look at this elaborate train track you're building! Can you show me how it works?"

Then, give him a warning that you're about to overrule his agenda with your own:

"Henry, it's bath time. Do you want to take your bath now, or in five minutes? Ok, five minutes with no fuss? Ok, that's a deal -- let's shake on it!"

2. We've trained them not to pay attention until we yell and threaten.

Your child is no dummy. She knows she can milk extra time before bath if she just ignores you. That doesn't make her bad, just human. So if your child is like the eight year old who ignored five requests, it means you've trained her that you aren't serious until you yell.

Solution:

Don't give directives from across the room. Move in close to your child and touch her. Connect by commenting on what she's doing. Then say:

"Excuse me, Isabel....I need to tell you something,"

and wait until she looks you in the eye. If she's staring at a screen, warn her that you're going to pause the game or the TV. Don't give your directive until you make eye contact, so she knows you're serious. Give only one warning, then stick to the time limit you've agreed on. Follow through. If you don't, you're training her not to take your requests seriously.

3. They need our help to make the transition.

When you're engrossed in your computer screen, don't you find it hard to pull yourself away to tend to a whining child? Kids experience our repeated nagging the same way we experience their whining, meaning they try to tune it out. 

Solution:

Give one warning. When you go back in five minutes, connect again by commenting on his play: "Wow, look at those trains go!" Remind him of your deal:

"Ok, Sweetie, it's been five minutes. Remember our deal? Five minutes and no fuss. It's bath time now."

Then, create a bridge from his play to what you're asking:

"Do you want the two engines to leap off the track and race all the way to the bathroom? Here, I'll take this one and you take that one; Let's zoom!"

4. Their frontal cortex is still developing

Their frontal cortex is still developing the ability to switch gears from what they want to what you want. Every time you set a limit that requires your child to give up what she wants in order to do what you want, she has to make a choice. When she decides that her relationship with you is more important than what she wants at this moment, she follows your request. Every time she does that, she's strengthening her brain's ability to redirect herself toward a higher goal. That's how kids develop self-discipline. But this only works if your child switches gears somewhat willingly. If you drag her kicking and screaming, she's resisting, rather than choosing. She's not building those self-discipline neural pathways. (That's why there's a "self" in "self-discipline. It's chosen from inside.)

Solution:

Set limits with empathy so she WANTS to cooperate, and gets plenty of practice exercising her brain to choose the higher goal.

5. They don't feel heard.

We can't MAKE children obey, unless we're willing to hurt their bodies and break their spirits. They have to WANT to cooperate. Luckily, our kids usually give us the benefit of the doubt and follow our rules, as long as they feel heard.

Solution:

Acknowledge her position. If possible, give her a choice.

"I hear you. You're saying it loud and clear-- NO BATH! You really don't want to take a bath. I bet when you're older you'll NEVER take a bath, right?....Tonight you do need a bath, though....Which do you choose-- a bath or a shower?"

Sometimes, hearing your child's perspective might even convince you to compromise or change your position. That's fine. Just explain your reasoning, so your child knows it was his win/win solution that changed your mind, not his obstinacy.

6. They feel disconnected from us.

When kids don't follow our lead, it's because they feel disconnected from us. Why on earth would he feel disconnected? Because he was away from you all day. Or you lost your temper at him this morning. Or he's angry at you because you always have the baby on your lap. Or you rely on timeouts and consequences for discipline, instead of connection. Or maybe just because he's a little person in a big world, and that gets scary, and all those scary feelings get pushed down inside, where they block the child's ability to lovingly connect.

Solution:

Empathize with your child's experience, both when you're giving a directive and as often as you can. That rebuilds the connection. Be prepared for any upset feelings to surface once your child feels that warm connection more strongly, and stay compassionate through the resulting meltdown. After he's had a chance to "show" you the upset that's been weighing on him, your child will feel re-connected and cooperative.

7. They've given up on us.

Children naturally look to their parents for nurturing and guidance. If they're convinced that we're on their side, they want to please us. So if your child is defiant, or you keep finding yourself in power struggles, that's a red flag that your relationship needs strengthening.

Solution:

Half an hour of Special Time, one-on-one, daily. This seems so simple that most parents under-estimate the impact. But I have never seen special time fail. It's a tangible expression of your love, your willingness to put your child first and adore her.

Laughter also bonds you with your child, and roughhousing is usually the easiest way to get laughter going. Every child needs belly laughs and giggling both morning and evening to stay connected. When a relationship feels tense, laughter is often the easiest way back to connection. 

8. They're human.

Force creates push-back. All humans resist control, and kids are no different. The more they feel "pushed around" the more strong-willed kids rebel, and the more compliant kids lose initiative and the ability to stand up for themselves. 

Solution:

Choose your battles. Make sure your child knows you're on her side and she has some choices. Coach your child rather than trying to control her. Teaching a child self-discipline raises a child who can think for herself, stand up for what's right, and isn't likely to be taken advantage of. 

Discussions about whether kids are spoiled always indict parents for raising kids who aren't obedient, as if obedience is the holy grail to which parents should aspire. But don't you want to raise a child who's self-disciplined and WANTS to cooperate? That's very different from obedience, where the discipline comes from outside the child. As H.L. Mencken said,

"Morality is doing what's right no matter what you're told. Obedience is doing what you're told no matter what's right."

The Kolbert quote above is taken from an article that doesn't mention any of these reasons. Instead, Kolbert says kids ignore parents because "Parents want their kids’ approval" and "worry that we're going to damage...kids by frustrating them." This accusation surfaces in every discussion alleging that kids today are spoiled. But I just don't buy it. The man who picked his eight year old up and put him in the bathroom wasn't afraid to set a limit because he wanted his son's approval. It looks to me like his son didn't follow his directives because the dad didn't follow through on his limit. He had trained his child to ignore him. And he most likely finished the evening with screaming or walloping, which decrease the child's respect and connection, and therefore decrease future cooperation.

Does setting empathic limits sound like a lot of work? It is, in the beginning. It would certainly be easier if kids would immediately comply with our every directive. But the good news is that following these practices consistently not only raises a self-disciplined child, it raises a child who knows you'll follow through, so he doesn't need to be asked five times to do something. Which makes it a whole lot easier to get him into the bathtub. 

Open Letter to Parents of Counselors (and parents of campers, too, because your children may be counselors one day!)

Open Letter to Parents of Counselors (and parents of campers, too, because your children may be counselors one day!)

Dear Parents,

We realize you want the best for your child. Who wouldn’t? Being a successful young adult in the working world is a great goal for all parents to have for their children. But I have to share something with you that breaks my heart a little every time a counselor says it to me. They’ll say,

I really want to come back to camp, but my parents are making me get a real job. A real job? Ouch! That stings: not only because I used to be a counselor, but because I manage our counselors now.

It’s not that I’m taking it personally; it’s that I feel there must be something that’s not understood about the value of being a camp counselor for such a misconception to persist.

Everybody loves camp

So I’m reaching out to you again in order to make a case for camp counseling as not only being a very a real job — it’s not an imaginary job and it’s quite a demanding one — but far, far more.

Fortunately I’m not alone in this view. A few notable others also make this case:

·         In USA Today: Skip the internship, go to camp

·         American Camp Association Blog: 10 Reasons Why Businesses Should Hire Former Camp Counselors

·         New York Times: The camp counselor vs. the intern

I’ve also written several blogs on why being a camp counselor is an excellent form of long-term job and career development for the counselor, and also how that work benefits today’s youth in so many ways:

·         Being a counselor works

·         Hurray for counselors!

·         What makes a great camp counselor

I think that if you consider the counseling job from multiple angles, you’ll see that it is great training, a challenging personal growth opportunity, and immensely valued by employers.

A valid choice among many

If your child chooses to try something different, that’s one thing. We understand completely that today’s teens and young twenties have a lot of options presented to them. We certainly would never want to force anyone to come back to camp if they are being called to try something new. We also understand that academic, family, and other obligations come up, too. That’s just life!

But it is very hard on us when counselors tell us their parents are making them do something different because the parent doesn’t believe a camp counseling job has long-term value.

What about money?

Of course we know that working at camp isn’t the highest paying job. Camp Scully is about average when it comes to counselor salary, compared to the national average at camps. It’s a well-known fact that you can rake in more dough waiting tables for the summer.

Then again it’s a lot more than an unpaid internship which may or may not actually be providing the intern with training in the industry at hand (many interns complain that all they did was the three C’s — make Copies, run for Coffee, or Cleaned but didn’t actually learn about the business or industry at all). In that case, even the prestigious name of a business where an intern spent her time isn’t worth much if she can’t explain how it helped her Career.

Surely a smart young person can take away something useful from waiting tables, interning, or any job. But it’s my contention that that only goes so far in comparison with the leadership program built into many camp counseling jobs and which is very present at Camp Scully.

Trained for success

Parents, you should ask yourselves, “What will my child gain from the experience?”

Though counselors may not make a lot of money at camp in the summer, they’re also not spending much money on gas, food, lodging or entertainment except very incidentally.

The skills they develop and the leadership they polish, the resilience it calls out in them, and the multi-tasking and stamina required at camps are, however, immensely valuable. This doesn’t even include actual staff training and development sessions that directly address:

·         Communications with multiple audiences — campers, parents, fellow staff, superiors — in person, on the phone, and in writing.

·         How to think quickly in situations and adapt if things don’t go according to plan.

·         How to be creative in all situations as the counselor is responsible for the campers’ experiences.

·         What safety considerations and techniques are necessary to keep campers safe and to deal with illness or injury?

·         How to understand and risk assessment in decision making and leadership while still fostering a fun and relaxed environment.

·         Mastering knowledge of emergency procedures, practicing them in drills, especially the skill of staying calm in an emergency.

·         The art of work-life balance: long work hours versus taking time for yourself to recharge, avoid burnout and stay focused, on an even keel and energized. (Who doesn’t want that life skill?)

·         Honing the art of time management; getting all your work done efficiently and effectively.

·         Learning how to give AND receive feedback and evaluations with dignity and poise. THIS is a biggie in the job world.

·         Practicing positive problem-solving skills within groups both as the leader (as counselor) and as a member of the group (with fellow staff and superiors).

·         A process of individual development that helps the counselor learn more about how their own personality works in a group so they can rest into positive strengths, pull-back from any dominance, and push forth where she is meek.

·         And of course the BIG, BIG biggie: public speaking and presenting with confidence and creativity.

YES, we do this at Camp Scully in direct, subtle, and daily ways. And yes, all of this decidedly helps former counselors to land interesting, well-paying jobs after camp.

I welcome any parents to talk to me…in fact I WISH more parents would e-mail me or call me up to ask questions, pick my brain, and share comment or concerns. I’d love the opportunity to talk this through with anyone who has questions. Also please don’t hesitate to comment in the comment section or Facebook comments.

Fun And Safety — ACA Camps Set the Standard

ACA Accreditation means that Camp Scully cares enough to undergo a thorough (up to 300 standards) review of its operation — from staff qualifications and training to emergency management. American Camp Association® collaborates with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth-serving agencies to assure that current practices at the camp reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation. Camps and ACA form a partnership that promotes summers of growth and fun in an environment committed to safety.

ACA helps Camp Scully provide:

  • Healthy, developmentally-appropriate activities and learning experiences
  • Discovery through experiential education
  • Caring, competent role models
  • Service to the community and the environment
  • Opportunities for leadership and personal growth

Here are common question asked by parents.

What’s the difference between state licensing of camps and accreditation by ACA?
Accreditation is voluntary and ACA accreditation assures families that Camp Scully has made the commitment to a safe, nurturing environment for their children. Licensing is mandatory and requirements vary from state to state. ACA standards are recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp community.

How do ACA standards exceed state licensing requirements?
ACA goes beyond basic requirements for health, cleanliness, and food service into specific areas of programming, including camp staff from director through counselors, emergency management plans, health care, and management. ACA applies separate standards for activities such as waterfront, horseback riding, and adventure and travel.

What are some of the ACA standards that camps rely on?

  • Staff to camper ratios are appropriate for different age groups
  • Goals for camp activities are developmentally based
  • Emergency transportation available at all times
  • First-aid facilities and trained staff available when campers are present

How can I verify that my child's camp is ACA accredited?
Parents can (and should) verify the accreditation status of any camp at any time by visiting ACA's Web site at www.ACAcamps.org or by calling 1-800-428-CAMP.

If your child's camp isn't ACA accredited, ask WHY NOT?
Keep in Mind — Informed parents are best prepared to select a camp that meets their standards for staff, programs, safety, and facilities and strives to promote the welfare of every child. Read more . . .

Visit CampParents.org for more specialized talking points for marketing the value of ACA accreditation, ACA's outcomes research, and camp to parents. And, link to this family-dedicated Web site from your camp’s Web site – keep the positive message of the camp experience circulating!

Camp is not all about the performance, but the pursuit — the pursuit of relevant experience and knowledge.

The following article by ACA CEO Peg Smith appeared in USA TODAY on February 1 and 4, 2013.

What is the path to innovation — spending alone time in a seat or actively engaging in learning that helps one become adaptive, ambiguity-able, and alert? What will help create tomorrow’s innovators? One thing is clear: We will need innovators. Maybe we should spend as much time considering how we develop innovators as we do graduates. I believe a balanced approach is imperative — to life and to education.

Robert C. Pianta, PhD, found that fifth graders spend 90 percent of their time in their seats listening or working alone (Bromley, 2007). That statement seems counterintuitive to what we know about child and brain development. If play is a form of invention, and invention seeds innovation, where does active learning take place today? Where are the safe places that young people can experience risk taking, explore new activities, and gain new skills while exercising their natural curiosity to learn? Where can children enjoy lessons that are experiential and relevant to their social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development?

I believe, absent of positive play, we are seeing children manifest social and emotional behaviors that are developmentally underdeveloped. They are not prepared to work with others or participate successfully outside of the family unit. They have not learned to manage conflict or solve problems in cooperation with others. Yet, maybe most disturbing, they have not had a chance to exercise their creative and innovative muscles — the opportunities to make mistakes, reflect, persist, and survive setbacks or defeat. This is the “grit” discussed by many, including Paul Tough, author ofHow Children Succeed: “Overcoming adversity is what produces character. And character, even more than IQ, is what leads to real and lasting success” (2012).

I believe the camp experience is a classroom without walls that young people deserve and need today. Yet, it is said that the radius of play has shrunk from 1 mile to 500 feet. That time spent outdoors has declined by 50 percent in the last two decades. That by age twenty-one, a young person will have spent 10,000 hours in front of a screen. (It only takes 4,800 hours to acquire a bachelor’s degree.) A balanced approach to childhood will create tomorrow’s innovators. Our new environment is understood, but long-standing, important elements of development must be preserved.

Innovators in the future will need minds capable of synthesizing and making new meaning. Experiential learning environments such as camp give young people the opportunity to rehearse and refine ways of thinking and doing that afford an expansion of possibilities. Innovators will be critical. It is not just those who have imaginations thinking up new ideas, but innovators who will take action, make change, and make a difference.

Innovators must be comfortable with mistakes and capable of learning from mistakes; they must be persistent with a stomach for imperfection. In his blog, Vernon Lun (2006) writes that “being innovative . . . requires disruptive thinking, which is an evolutionary process with many failures along the way. That’s tough to do especially since all of us are taught that failure is bad and we try to avoid it at all costs.” Camp is not all about the performance, but the pursuit — the pursuit of relevant experience and knowledge. Learning is risky.

A positive, healthy camp experience is an oasis for many young people in today’s complex, frenetic world. It is a laboratory of maturation encouraging discovery, reflection, and possibility. Like nature, the camp community is a diverse, dynamic system that uses creativity to find new meaning. Camp allows one to synthesize his or her best intuition, life lessons, and creativity to discover new learning and a harmony with the natural world and fellow campers (citizens) — an extraordinary gift in today’s world.

Consider camp for your young innovator — camp can inspire the power of imagination, spirit, and entrepreneurial flair.

References
Bromley, A. (2007 March 29). Elementary school classrooms get low rating on high-quality instruction. UVA Today. Retrieved from http://news.virginia.edu/content/elementary-school-classrooms-get-low-rating-high-quality-instruction

Lun. V. (2006 March 27). Disruptive thinking. The Idea Dude. Retrieved fromwww.theideadude.com/2006/03/disruptive-thinking.html

Tough, P. (2012). A conversation with Paul Tough. Retrieved from www.paultough.com/the-books/how-children-succeed/extras/

How Free Play Can Define Kids’ Success

Free, unstructured playtime gives kids a chance to discover their interests and tap into their creativity. It’s a crucial element for building resilience in children, an attribute they’ll need in order to become happy, productive adults. That’s Kenneth Ginsburg’s thesis and the core of his book Building Resilience in Children and Teens.

Ginsburg, a pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who also works with homeless children, has spent a lot of time trying to help young people build tools they’ll need to succeed — even when trauma has marred early lives.

But the word “success” can be loaded, often carrying different connotations. To Ginsburg, a successful child is one who finds something he loves to do, is generous, empathetic and compassionate, committed to repairing the world, shows grit and the ability to collaborate, creativity and can take constructive criticism. These are what will serve young people as they move into the world on their own.

“Play is integral to being able to build resilience.”

“So many of the things that we care about are completely learned through the creative process,” Ginsberg said at an event hosted by the Bay Area Discovery Museum. When kids are allowed free time to play, they learn how to work in groups, negotiate, share, self-advocate, and make decisions.

Ginsburg cautions parents that putting too much pressure on children’s academics might have negative effects in the long term. The way he frames parents’ ultimate goals: Raise healthy, wise35-year-olds. Parenting with long-term vision helps keep the little things in perspective.

[RELATED READING: Are We Wringing the Creativity Out of Kids?]

“All the best ideas haven’t been thought of yet. If you have people who are only thinking about fitting in the box, then you aren’t going to get ideas outside the box,” Ginsburg said. Parents and educators shouldn’t be trying to shape children into cogs for an economy that hasn’t figured out what kind of machine it will be in 20 years.

Instead, one of the most important skills a parent can foster in children is resilience, which he says can be fostered through creativity. Ginsburg relies on the “Seven C’s of Resilience” as a road map for helping students to find their inner grit.

7 C’s of Resilience

  1. 1) COMPETENCEYoung people need to be recognized when they’re doing something right and to be given opportunities to develop specific skills.
  2. 2) CONFIDENCEConfidence comes from building real skills that parents and educators can teach and nurture. Confidence can be easily undermined, but also bolstered by tasks that push learners without making the goal feel unachievable.
  3. 3) CONNECTION: Being part of a community helps kids know they aren’t alone if they struggle and that they can develop creative solutions to problems.
  4. 4) CHARACTER. Kids need an understanding of right and what wrong and the capacity to follow a moral compass. That will allow them see that they cannot be put down.
  5. 5) CONTRIBUTION: The experience of offering their own service makes it easier for young people to ask for help when they need it. Once kids understand how good it can feel to give to others, it becomes easier to ask for that same support when it’s needed. And being willing to ask for help is a big part of being resilient.
  6. 6) COPING: Kids need to learn mechanisms to manage their stress by learning methods to both engage and disengage at times. Some strategies for doing this include breaking down seemingly insurmountable problems into smaller, achievable pieces, avoiding things that trigger extreme anxiety, and just letting some things go. After all, resilience is about conserving energy to fit the long game and kids need to know realistically what they can affect and what should be let go.
  7. 7) CONTROL: In order to truly be resilient a child need to believe that she has control over her world. Feeling secure helps engender control, which is why kids test limits.

Creativity plays an integral part of developing these seven skill sets. “Play is exactly about learning to control your environment, to figure things out,” he said. “Play is integral to being able to build resilience.” When kids play, they make mistakes and learn how to recover. It’s also a unique time for parents to observe their children and offer gentle guidance about skill development or how to share.

Keeping children on rigid, academically driven schedules denies them the space for some of the real self-learning that will see them through unexpected challenges, the ones that aren't on the test.

Originally blogged here by Katrina Schwartz

Renovating the Bath House

Our current bath house was built in 1982, and since then nothing much has changed! Well. apart from the annual avalanche of leaks each spring after the thaw! We've been steadily improving Camp over the last 4 years; new or renovated buildings and activities include:

  • Dining Hall (that one is hard to miss, right?)
  • Nature Den
  • Sand Volleyball Court
  • LIT cabin reconstruction
  • 2nd Archery Range
  • Lookout Lodge
  • Director's Palace (erm...I mean cabin)
  • New roofs on Cabins 8, 9 and LIT
  • Day Camp Center and Krazy Kitchen

Next in our cross-hairs is the bath house. It's an ambitious project with new showers (I hear the cheers of all my staff), new sinks, new floors and lot more lights.

Bazza painting Wendy from Peter Pan

Bazza painting Wendy from Peter Pan

The outside has received a lot of love over the last few years with new murals from ex-counselor, ex-lead counselor Bazza Adams. (on a side not he just recently married our former Program Director LeAnne Lawrence.)  Congratulations to them both.

So far we've raised $26,000 and we hope you enjoy the changes come the summertime.

Colin

Around the World - Week 4 - Bloggers

Periodically Camp Scully will be running a skill clinic which will incorporate blogging. It's a bit of an upgrade to our old-fashioned newspaper skill clinic. This week we have some biographers of the bloggers and 2 interviews with staff members. We hope you enjoy the read.

About the bloggers

My name is Ashley and I’m an L.I.T at camp. I’ve been going to camp for 5 years. I have seen so many different faces. I like being crazy, weird, and different. I absolutely love the colors purple and blue. I value Camp Scully because it brings you special values for life.

My name is Nasai and I’m a Green Grasshopper at camp. I think it is very fun at camp. My favorite food is pizza. My most favorite activity at camp is going swimming.

My name is Megan Vankempen and I’m in the oldest girl cabin. I’m 14. I’ve been coming to Camp Scully since I was 7 or 8 years old. I come back every year because camp helps me grow as a person and it gets me away from my city for a little while and I met some really cool people. My favorite color is purple and my favorite animals are pigs and hedgehogs. I like sports, making bracelets, eating, cartoons and shopping. I love camps food and the activities and all the staff.

My name is Dawn Harns, I am 14 years old and I go to high school. I have been coming to Camp Scully for 5 years. I love coming to camp because I get to meet new people and see old friends that I have made from past years. My favorite color is blue and my favorite animals are seals and penguins. I like to sing, draw, write, play sports, play the flute and read manga and comics.

Interview with Jordon Fernandez - By Megan Vankempen


1. How did you find out about Camp?

A. A lady told my mom about it.

2. Were you an L.I.T?

A. Yes!!

3. What’s your favorite thing about Camp?

A. Seeing old friends and making new ones

4. What’s your favorite food?

A. Tacos

5. What college are you going to?

A. Hartwick college in Oneonta NY  

Interview with Rajine Martinez

1. What do you love most about both of your cabins?

A. The kids, because I learned from them and they learn from me. And it’s fun.

2. What’s your favorite part of Camp Scully?

A. Family environment, huge family, and scholarships.

3. Which week is your favorite theme wise?

A. Color wars

4. What’s your favorite song new and all time?

A. Ain’t to proud to beg by the temptations and where have you been by Rihanna

5. What is your favorite food?

A. Lasagna, coffee and anything 

Unplugging at Camp by Dan Weir

The following is an excerpt from Dan's article. The full essay can be found in the articles section of this site.

The Kaiser Family Foundation has been conducting  a 10 year study following children  aged 8 to 18 pertaining to media in their lives. The foundation surveyed over 2000 children over 3 time periods.  They found that children’s use of technology has gone up to 7 ½ hours a day.  The amount of time, which seemed impossible  to increase six years ago, has gone up because now children are multitasking – watching a movie on their computer while they use Facebook on their iPhone.

 This study, while noting the sharp increase in technology use, showed that both grades and the amount of friendships children made stayed relatively the same. Technology can even help children keep made friendships.  It was noted, “there are more than 10,000 neighborhood groups in Yahoo!’s group directories, one of many sites that offer neighbors the means to connect” (Baym 93). There are other studies that show children are still being social despite being online and connected constantly.  Children are still making friends, they are simply making those friendships in a different way.

In a study on media by The Kaiser Family Foundation, children were asked about their time outdoors. Children were asked, “Thinking just about yesterday, how much time did you spend being physically active or exercising, (such as playing sports, working out, dancing, running, or another activity)?”, 89% answered that they did spend time outside yesterday and that they spent an average of 1 hour 42 minutes outdoors.  This number confirms suspicions that children want to spend time outdoors.  A focus of most summer camps is to reconnect children with nature. In the study “Camps and Nature” 95% of summer camps give children  a chance to reconnect with the natural environment (James).  Children want to be outdoors and summer camp gives children that opportunity through intentional programming.

When a child arrives at summer camp, they are often in a group,  also known as cabin with other campers they haven’t met before.   This cabin of roughly 8 campers, varying from camp to camp, is often accompanied by two young adults known as counselors.  These counselors have been trained in how to facilitate building friendships and incorporate teambuilding between the campers.  The counselors help children connect with each other through communication and positive encouragement. Because of this, deep and life-long friendships are often made at camp. Summer camp isn’t a one dimensional  environment either. One study states, “emerging evidence suggests that camp-based groups for children and adolescents with chronic illnesses offer promise in multiple dimensions including coping, social support, education, empowerment, normalization, and coping” (MacLusky 212).  Children are able to work through impacting issues such as asthma or dialysis while at a summer  camp.  It is this idea that often remains hidden when people outside of the summer camp industry think of a child’s camping experience.

“Well-run camps have the character of providing affordances where young people are exposed to and can experiment with different points of view – exploring possibilities by challenging others’ ideas and having their own ideas challenged in return without the risk of simultaneously challenging their relationships with each other” (Dahl 232).  It’s this experimentation that provides an ideal opportunity  for children to take the social skills they learned online and perfect them in a safe environment.  The summer camp environment allows for experimentation with social skills through opportunities for communication between aged campers and counselors.  It has been noted that a traditional resident camp helps children, “to become independent and experiencing all the wonderful thing that happen in growing up” (Orecklin)In a summer camp environment, compared to being online, children are able to connect with others that have similar interests to their own.   The difference is that online, there is no camp counselor to provide positive encouragement. The lack of compassion and positive encouragement has lead to increasing amounts of online bullying and alienation.

Avoid These 7 Killer Cover Letter Mistakes

The applicant's resume was impressive. The formatting was impeccable, the content was excellent, and he did a great job of focusing on accomplishments instead of job duties. I am an employer, I was impressed. Then I looked at his cover letter and thought about tossing that perfect resume into the trash bin. Many college students and recent grads destroy their resumes by accompanying them with halfhearted or downright terrible cover letters. While some employers don't bother reading cover letters, most do. And they will quickly eliminate you if you make these cover letter mistakes:

Using the Wrong Cover Letter Format

The applicant's cover letter looked more like a cut-and-paste email than a business letter. It had no recipient information, no return address and no date. The letter screamed unprofessional. Be sure your cover letter uses a standard business-letter format. It should include the date, the recipient's mailing address and your address.

Making It All About You

It may seem counterintuitive, but your cover letter, like your resume, should be about the employer as much as it's about you. Yes, you need to tell the employer about yourself, but do so in the context of the employer's needs and the specified job requirements.

Not Proofing for Typos and Grammatical Errors

Employers tend to view  typos and grammatical errors as evidence of your carelessness and inability to write. Proofread every letter you send. Get additional cover letter help by asking a friend who knows good writing double-check your letter for you.

Making Unsupported Claims

Too many cover letters from college students and recent grads say the applicant has "strong written and verbal communication skills." Without evidence, it's an empty boast. Give some examples for each claim you make. Employers need proof.

Writing a Novel

A good cover letter should be no longer than one page. Employers are deluged with resumes and cover letters, and their time is scarce. Make sure your cover letter has three or four concise but convincing paragraphs that are easy to read. If your competitor's letter rambles on for two pages, guess which candidate the employer will prefer.

Using the Same Cover Letter for Every Job and Company

Employers see so many cover letters that it's easy for them to tell when you're using a one-size-fits-all approach. If you haven't addressed their company's specific concerns, they'll conclude you don't care about this particular job. It's time-consuming but worthwhile to customize each cover letter for the specific job and company.

Not Sending a Real Cover Letter

Some job seekers -- college students, recent grads and even those with years of work experience -- don't bother sending a cover letter with their resume. Others type up a one or two-sentence "here's my resume" cover letter, while others attach handwritten letters or sticky notes. There is no gray area here: You must include a well-written, neatly formatted cover letter with every resume you send. If you don't, you are unlikely to be considered for the job.

Online Applications to Camp Scully

Finally, we've caught up with the times. On the website now are staff applications that can be completed online and emailed to the Director's inbox. If you are new to Camp Scully read this page to give you an idea of what it's all about. If you've worked at Camp before and were just waiting, wondering what you were going to do for the next 5 minutes, fill out your returning application now!

Were you an LIT last year? Are you ready to work at Camp? Here's your form.

You will need Adobe Acrobat to complete the forms. Click the link to down load the free reader.

A word on signatures though. If you are returning we will still need your John Hancock (signature) so you'll have to print the form after completing it and then scan and email or mail it you with a stamp and envelope and all that. Or you can come into the office and sign it.

New applicants and LIT graduates will be able to sign it when they come in for an interview. We hope you enjoy the changes to the application process.

Almost finally, Camp has a shiny, new handbook for your information. We strongly suggest you download it and read it.

Finally, the application is the only form you need right now. You won't need a medical form or anything else until you are hired. We'll send you a lovely little letter stating that you've been hired. It will also state your salary and start date and all the other forms you'll need will be with the letter.

Ten reasons to be thankful that there is a Camp Scully

I recently posted a series of 10 reasons to be thankful that there was a Camp Scully on Facebook. I did one reason every couple of days. The idea for this was prompted from our observance of Veteran's Day and the sacrifice that those veterans have made enabling things like Camp Scully to exist. One of my camp mentors and good friends, Stuart Jones from Outpost Summer Camps, suggested I post the list in its entirety and I thought what better post could I have for Camp's inaugural blog. So here it is, thanks Stu.

(BTW, check out Stuart's Camp with the link above, its fantastic!)

1. Children and staff take on a new, positive personality at camp. If they arrive withdrawn and shy, they end up leading songs, acting crazy and hugging new friends before they leave.

2. If a child is homesick on Sunday, that child will be the one most likely to cry about leaving on Friday.


3. Camp Scully's community is a very powerful force for good in a young person’s life.


4. Camp songs stay with you and are never really forgotten.


5. Time to be in nature and unplugged is a powerful and an amazing gift.


6. People make very close friends at camp who will stick together beyond high school and college. People are very grateful to have had a place to make such close friends.


7. Long distance vision is a rare thing in a person and in life. You can hone your long distance vision at camp kayaking on Snyder's Lake, experiencing The Candlelight Ceremony or building a fort in the forest. The experiences will carry you through the school year and bring you back next year.

8. Every summer at least several counselors and many children will tell me that this was “the best summer of their lives.”


9. In addition to a wider range of skills and higher confidence levels, many young people end up with more money working at camp than they do taking a summer job and paying for transportation, lodging, meals and their own entertainment.


10. Camp helps prepare young people for the world that they are going to inherit.