Posts Tagged With: summer camp

Rules for Behaviour Modification

You guys, I know you know this, but it’s worth saying again… there are some seriously wonderful, brilliant, and generous camp folks out there.

One of them happens to be my “internet friend” Dave Hennessy.
Dave and I were chatting the other day, checking in with each other on how our goals and future plans are going and he mentioned one of his “DaveRules” during that conversation. I, of course, asked for more information and when he shared his set of rules with me I LOVED the concept and asked him to write something that I could share with you good folks in my little corner of the internet.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Dave, and offer him a huge thank you for sharing his rules for behaviour modification with us.

 

daverules

 

“Alexis, what are you doing?” Alexis was 11 years old, but was army-crawling on a day’s worth of dirt carpet after a kindergartener. She looked up and smiled, “I don’t know”.

“How old are you?”

“Elllevveennnn,” she said in a sing-song voice.

“What rule are you breaking?” I said.

“Rule number twwwwoooo.” She sang-song, but more dejected this time.

“Which is?”

“Use common sense.” Eye roll.

“And now?” I stated without emotion.

“Have a seat,” walking over to the couch.

“For?” We had been through this before. “Eleven minutes.”

Alexis wasn’t happy, but she sat without another word and watched the group play. After less than 5 minutes, I have her the thumbs-up, meaning ‘go play’.

 

CHILDREN WANT BOUNDARIES

 

“Secure boundaries set by the [caregiver] (not negotiated by the child) reduce anxiety. Rules and routines like meal times, bed times, homework time, and screen time — that are set and monitored by the parent — create predictability in a child’s life. Predictability reduces uncertainty, and that reduces anxiety.

“a child’s brain is not fully developed, and hence shouldn’t be given decision-making power over adults. … Even as we know more about brain development, we seem to have become less attuned to thinking about our children’s unique developmental stage, and what is an appropriate level of choice for them to have.

“For many families, a child’s emotions, needs and desires can run the parent’s whole day rather than the other way around. Narcissism is normal, and is developmentally appropriate in small children.

“In any developmental task from walking to talking to learning to read or drive a car, kids need to struggle. Struggle is how we mature and learn mastery of new things. If children are brought up with the expectation that they will always be “in charge,” they want things to be easy. They also want parents to remove struggle and, fix their disappointments.

“Parents who set boundaries are not trying to make their child happy in the moment (though sometimes they are!). Rather, more importantly, they are trying to have their child develop skills to successfully launch into the world at 18.”

Source: Mind Body Green – Why it’s important to set healthy boundaries with your kids

 

CHILDREN REACT WELL TO KNOWING THE RULES TO THE GAME AND HOW TO WIN THE GAME

 

Children of all ages thrive when they win, and many are so rule-centric that when they lose they immediate blame someone for breaking the rules. In our after school program, the game was easy: behave well and meet your expectations (complete homework, get exercise, have fun, make friends, relax). To varying degrees they need our help; mostly children need a Mentor, a Coach, a Sensei, a Wizard, a Jedi Master that is on their side as they learn and grow. Young people need help developing self-regulation and discipline, and along the way learn passion and persistence (grit).

 

THE EASIEST GAMES TO WIN ARE THE ONES WITH FEW RULES

 

To win the game at our child care, we made 3 rules. They were broad enough to cover almost any circumstance and apply to children of all ages. I was the Child Care Director, so they were “DaveRules” and easily became “BlairRules” or “GaytonRules” (at Gayton Elementary). The first two rules were always the same:

#1: BE NICE

#2: USE COMMON SENSE

And the third rule was whatever the group needed to focus on: “Keep your hands to yourself”, “Be responsible”, “Clean up your mess”. (Each rule phrased in the positive.)

 

WITH FEW RULES COME FEW CONSEQUENCES

 

One simple consequence meant no thinking and no getting upset with breaking the rules. There was no arguing, simply: “Have a seat.” This allowed for quiet time to calm down (but not a “time out”) that is generally age-appropriate. We had children sit for however many minutes they were old (Alexis was 11, so 11 minutes) however we never truly enforced that. Goodness knows every 6 year old thought they were sitting for 6 minutes, but truly it was always less (but they don’t need to know that). After they sat and calmed down, they got up. The issue was over. No lengthy discussion about what they did wrong. As long as they know what rule they broke and could repeat it, they began to internalize it and define what “common sense” meant to them. Children stopped getting upset because they broke the rules. Staff stopping having their buttons pushed and getting upset with bad behavior.

 

EVERYONE HAS RULES

 

Every leader has a set of guidelines for their followers. These are the boundaries for what they will accept or suggestions on how to live a good life. If you try to follow my DaveRules, you understand what I value and I can work hard to be the best Sensei or Coach that I can. More than anything else, I hold myself to these standards to ‘practice what I preach’.

 

Rule #3: BOOST.

 

Boost your energy level, give it your all. Hustle. Be present. Be passionate. Be all-in. Be enthusiastic. Have passion. Passion is in there twice. And have joie de vivre.

Most people know that the secret to winning is simply “show up”. I say show up, but be MORE than everyone else.

 

DAVERULES 2.0

 

I have three more life rules that I like to share with my mentees. Books and books and books have been written about these ideas and I’ve added a note of explanation where appropriate.

#4: GIVE GENEROUSLY. For each dollar you give, four will come back. You can never run out of compliments.

#5: PRACTICE COURAGE. Courage is forcing yourself to do something scary. Moral courage is required to be a good person.

#6: STAY CURIOUS. Only life-long learners that continue to invest in themselves will be successful in the long run.

Dave's Rules.png

 

MARF

 

DaveRules are malleable and this most recent list, made up of 6, has only been in place for a few months. I have been developing this system since 2008 and with each new camp, each new situation, the DaveRules changed. Only the first two have stayed the same, when I came up with them on a whim working with kindergarteners: Be Nice, Use Common Sense. As I learn, some things seem to be so foundational and important they’ve garnered a special spot and are now DaveRules. Other rules have been merged into one idea (i.e. “BOOST”). Make it your own. Just KISS.

 

Davey Hennessey is celebrating his 17th summer leading YMCA camping programs and completed his Master in Camp Administration and Leadership in November 2014. MARF stands for Maintain Always Rigid Flexibility and KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. Davey can be reached at davidahennessey@gmail.com for suggestions of books to read.

 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

So what do you think? Isn’t that some great advice?
Do you have any that you’d add to the list for YOUR program?

Tell us about it in the comment section below (or just comment to thank Dave for sharing  with us! 🙂  )

Categories: Listables | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Camp Counsellor Hiring Season

Woah, what a whirlwind couple of weeks. I finished up my full-time camp director job, officially got started working with the faith-based camp I mentioned in this post and launched Patchwork Marketplace. It’s been chaotic and SO MUCH FUN!!

But once again, my little blog took a hit when it came to managing my time, so I apologize for that – especially to Dan who asked a pretty great question about staff hiring and balancing that with camp prep and the million other things you need to do this time of year.

So, even though it’s later than I had planned… here’s some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, although I’m so far from an expert in any of this, I hope my experiences will help at least a little.

hiring-staff

Fitting it all in

Ok, so I realize this is probably not very helpful at this time of year but it’s worth saying anyway, usually in September or early October I create my work plan and map out when and how I’m going to accomplish all of my big tasks throughout the year.
I try to get the bulk of my program planning, pre summer prep completed in the fall because I know from January to May is going to be straight out madness. (That made sense for my schedule, each camp program is so unique that you will likely need to adapt that to your specific schedule.)

I was the only person solely dedicated to camp in my organization, so that meant I did everything from staff recruiting & hiring, to program development, and even camper registration – we had a development team so I got a small reprieve from grant writing and marketing, but worked quite a bit with the team to help in those areas too… so I totally get that overwhelming feeling of needing to do everything and never having enough time. I feel your pain!

What I started doing the last few years was carving out certain parts of my day for specific tasks – for instance I had a little checklist of things I needed to do for registration and I would go through that first thing in the morning and right after lunch (simply because the mail arrived after lunch and since it was a pretty recent transition to an online registration system we still had quite a few mail applications, and I always worked on it first thing in the morning so I would have answers if someone asked me how registration was going later in the day). Continue reading

Categories: New Camp Director Pro Tip | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Patchwork Marketplace

Patchwork pattern of rainbow colors.

Hi camp friends,

If you follow me on social media you would have seen me post about this already, but I thought I’d share a little more info about it here. I am just so proud and excited about this project. And if you don’t follow me on social media, this will be brand new information! Exciting! Also, let’s be friends, all of my social media links are on the sidebar. –>

How Patchwork Marketplace Came To Be

Ok, so if you’ve been around these parts before you may have seen this post by Curt Jackson in my “Path” series. And also this post about how exciting it is to work with new people in blog land and in camping. Well, once Curt and I chatted a bit, wrote for each other’s blogs we decided that we wanted to work on another project together. We brainstormed a little bit, designed some (awesome) t-shirts, wrote a few fun quizzes and other posts but we were still looking for a bigger project to work on.

Then he mentioned that he always thought it would be neat to have a site similar to the ones available for teachers but for camp and recreation professionals.

Cue record scratch.

turntable-1328823_1920

Hold the presses.

old-time-950445_1920

That’s freakin’ brilliant!

I said, “umm, YEAH!” so we put all of our resources into creating Patchwork Marketplace.

And I’m super excited about it.

Then we came up with the name Patchwork because it sort of encompassed all of the things we were trying to accomplish with the marketplace. There’s an explanation on the site, click here to read it.
(If you join our beta test, you can have access now. More about that at the bottom)

Collaboration friends, it’s where it’s at!

Sooo… What Is It We’re Doing?

Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Serendipity and Summer Camp

mis-adventures

Let me tell you a neat little story…

 

In September I saw a Facebook post that a local camp was having an open house/ ecumenical service. I’d never been to the camp before and it was only about 40 minutes away PLUS they’re not a member of my Provincial camping association (which I’m involved with) so I thought I’d check it out and chat with some board members to try to convince them to join.

 

I rounded up my husband, my mom and dad (cause they love that type of thing – my parents, not my husband… it’s not his thing, but being supportive is 🙂 ) and off we went.

 

We got to the camp and it was lovely! The buildings were looking good, there were some great fields and wooded areas and a waterfront with a lot of potential.

 

We attended the service, then afterword they announced that you could head over to the bbq, tour the facility, etc. Mum and dad headed to the bbq and hubby said “great, we can wander around like they said and you can check the place out” to which I replied “no way, I want a guided tour, let’s find a board member!” because I had questions, and I wanted to see EVERYTHING!

 

So we wandered down to the waterfront and back because there were people going that way (it was hard to tell who board members were) and on the way back this gentleman was walking with two other people and explaining something to them about the outdoor chapel.

 

So of course I made my way over and said “Excuse me, sorry for interrupting,  I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, are you a member of the board?” He was very kind and told me he was and that they were just heading over to see the outdoor chapel so of course I said “Oh that sounds wonderful, do you mind if we tag along?”.
He was thrilled that we were so interested (generally, people love talking about their camp) and off we went.

 

After that he offered to give us the full tour of camp so I obviously jumped at the chance, my husband was both in awe and a little embarrassed (I think) at my enthusiasm and the number of questions I asked about their program, facilities, camper numbers, everything.
But the board member was delightful, I gave him my business card and then he introduced me to some other board members and I gave them my cards as well.

 

It’s a small faith-based camp that was closed during 2016 because they needed to do renovations, prior to that, campership had been declining to the point where they only ran one session in 2015. This fall open house was their launch of a new era, one where they’re rebuilding and re-imagining their program. So I asked them what their plans were, if they were thinking about hiring an ED and they said that they just didn’t have the resources for that right now, so everything would have to be done on a volunteer basis.

 

After the visit…

Continue reading

Categories: Opening My Own Camp | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Starting a New Camp

 

 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever daydreamed about starting your own camp…

MEEE TOO!!!!

(High five!)

xuliyvibyic-jonas-vincent

 

So, since I’m a such big proponent of doing things that scare you, I resigned at my current camp and am setting out on a new adventure! (A new “path”, if you will…)

 

I’m going to start my own camp. I’m still in the early stages now, but I’ll be sure to post updates about where the journey takes me.

I’m terrified, I feel like I’ve jumped without a parachute… but I’m also exhilarated and excited. (And did I mention terrified?)

 

skydiving-678168_1280

 

Are any of you camp owners? I’d love to hear from you, I’ve been connecting with people who’ve been down this road before and asking for advice – so reach out to me if you have some wisdom you’d like to impart.

 

AND

Continue reading

Categories: Opening My Own Camp, The Path We Take... | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

30 Themed Meeting Ideas

Ok, so a while ago I mentioned having theme meetings at camp in this post and another camp pro Dan Laubach pointed out to me that I’m a big weiner who never followed up with the list of themes I promised (ahem, ok maybe I’m paraphrasing *a little*, Dan was actually much more polite and kind in his request for a list of themes.)

Thanks Dan, for putting this back on my radar, it’s something I wanted to share.

Most of these are pretty ridiculous and came about out of weird things my staff were doing that summer or just sort of happened organically.

Before we get into the list, here are some tips.

1. If you’re going to do a silly or stupid theme meeting, make sure you don’t have to discuss anything too serious.

2. Be aware that if you do a theme, it might take a little longer to get through the meeting, because people are likely to burst into giggles every so often.

3. Most of my meetings used to be in the evening, so a lot of these themes make a lot more sense to do at night.

30-themes

Masks

This one came about because a staff member really wanted to see someone wearing a funny mask, so we demanded that everyone put on a mask as they came in for meeting. No one asked any questions, they just went with it, it was silly and hilarious.

Things TKD would like

Sometimes we like to make it all about us… (TKD is the nickname for the assistant camp director and I) We left it open-ended, staff showed up dressed in a lot of plaid, toques, tie dye, and drinking coffee. All of these things were accurate.

Let’s be honest, there’s nothing funnier than impersonating your boss so the staff got a kick out of it. (Ok, if I’m being reaaaally honest, we were hoping they’d bring us food we liked… maybe next time we need to be more specific hahaha)

Continue reading

Categories: Listables | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Self Care at Camp

You guys! I have some exciting news… ok well it’s mostly only exciting for me.

But I wanted to share!!

You know how I talk A LOT about self-care, and how we need to encourage and support our staff to practice good self care. Well it turns out that it actually works!!! haha

Ever since I started directing camps two things have always bookmarked my experience, a pre- season cold sore, and a post season migraine. Fun, right?

 

bookmarks
Cold sore & migraine, the bookmarks to my camp experience for 10 years

 

So this year I decided to actually practice what I’ve been preaching and I set some goals for self-care.

(Check out this post to find out what I’ve said in the past about self-care.)

They weren’t anything too lofty, I had checklist of 5 items on my phone, and I would try to do some combination of at least 3 of them every day. (During the camp pre-season I was checking off all 5 every day.)

Here’s my list:

Continue reading

Categories: New Camp Director Pro Tip, Self Care at Camp | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Making Friends in Blog Land

Hi guys,

Do you know what’s nice about blogging? It’s a lot like camp.

People are supportive of each other, and there’s no feeling of competition (at least not in this little niche of camp blogging) we’re all working towards a common goal of inspiring, educating, and informing current and future camp folk. Because after all, it’s still all about the campers, right? And the more we share and collaborate, the better our individual programs will be.

cooperative-1246862_1280

So, on that topic (ok, all this was really just to get to that segue.. haha) I wanted to tell you that I wrote a guest blog post over at Summer Camp Programming about the Top 5 Reasons To Work At A Camp For People With Disabilities. 

Check it out! 🙂

And while you’re there, Continue reading

Categories: Administration, The Path We Take... | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Celebrate Your Wins

I mentioned in this post a while back that I keep a notebook of the wins I’m excited about from each summer. Some are great big, pat on the back wins and some of them are teeny tiny personal wins.

I like to list the ones that are most important to me so that I can reflect on them later to help keep my work in perspective (especially if I need to balance something that’s challenging me). I also like to include some inspiring quotes, because that’s just the kind of person I am.

So I thought I’d share the last few years entries with you guys to hopefully inspire you to create a win book of your own. Continue reading

Categories: Administration, Staff Encouragement & Motivation | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Path We Take … Curt’s Story

I’m really excited to share today’s post with you all. In my third installment in The Path We Take series we focus on Curt “Moose” Jackson, the creative and dynamic force behind the Summer Camp Programming website among other projects.

While I’ve yet to meet Curt in person, I’ve long admired his brilliant and creative programming ideas – and the fact that he has been able to bring camping professionals from around the world together to share ideas in his roundtable compilations.

(click here for information on how to participate in future email roundtables)

Now that I’ve had a chance to learn a little bit more about Curt through this process, I can also say that I admire his candor (he got real folks – and it was awesome!) and his drive to continue to explore, learn, create, and improve the level of programming we offer in the camping industry. 

I hope you enjoy learning about Curt’s journey as much as I did, and if you have any questions, comments, or just want to tell Curt how awesome he is, tell us about it in the comment section below. 

 

curts-story


Tell us about yourself.

 

Yikes, this is a broad question. It all started when I was a twinkle in my mother’s eye.

Just kidding.

I grew up an only child to a loving single parent in Southern California. My mom was a nurse who worked long hours and I was a latch-key kid. She passed away from cancer when I was 15. Unfortunately, nobody in my family wanted to take on the burden of raising a teenager. So after getting tossed around a bit between aunts and uncles my grandparents took me in. Six months later my grandfather passed away. Those two years were rough and had a big impact on my life, positive and negative.

I’ve always wanted to be an actor or a rock star, but I know that if I really did either of those careers I wouldn’t enjoy them. Besides, camp gives me the chance to do both with camp skits and camp songs. As a young kid I wanted to be a professional baseball player or a magician. Come to find out, I wasn’t very good at either of them, but I still like to pull out some magic tricks when campers are around.

I like road trips, the ocean, Moose Tracks ice cream, campfires and the smell of freshly cut grass.

I don’t like inconsiderate people, Brussel sprouts, humidity, and movie theaters that don’t have stadium seating.

TradingCards-template-SURVIVOR 2.psd

This is one of Curt’s super cool trading cards he offers on his site. You can order them here.

Continue reading

Categories: The Path We Take... | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.