We’ll put out a new podcast about summer camp and the lessons we’ve learned each Friday from January until June. We hope you’ll take a moment to listen and then bring a friend to listen, too. You’ll find the show notes for each of our conversations below.

*Any purchases of the books through the link below will help raise money for SCOPE, a charitable organization that helps to send children to camps all over the US.

Subscribe on one of these digital campfire sites:

 

Summer #1,Campfire #10

Inclusion Makes Us Better

With Scott Hicok

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This podcast is sponsored by SCOPE, an amazing organization that helps to send children from financially disadvantaged families to summer camp. You can learn more about SCOPE online and through social media @supportscope.

The conversation you are about to hear is one that has changed how I view summer camp and my life as a whole. It’s insightful, heart-warming, challenging and hopeful all at the same time.

Scott Hicok, the director of Camp Southern Ground, was kind enough to give me a tour of their jaw-dropping facility and then spend some time around the campfire.

The passion project of Zac Brown, leader of the Zac Brown Band, Camp Southern Ground is showing us all how we can build a more inclusive community and how doing so makes us all better. They are living their mission of helping to grow more good in the world.

Scott certainly knows summer camp with over 15 years experience in the camp industry. He’s created and managed several successful camp programs including Camp Ocean Pines in California. He has given presentations and led workshops for the American Camp Association and the Western Association of Independent Camps on the topics of youth development, staff communication, and developing inclusive programs. Scott has a passion for creating programs that go beyond recreation and that truly help young minds to learn and grow.  

Great Reading and resources for parents

Father Greg Boyle’s book, Barking to the Choir, is an eye-opening, heart-breaking and important read about kinship.

The Inclusion Project provides a wide range of support and resources on getting everyone involved. One of their initiatives, Lets All Play, helps schools and camps create environments that allow all to get off the sidelines and into the game.

Autism Speaks has a wealth of information for anyone interested in learning more about autism, be they parents, teachers or camp professionals.

 

Summer #1,Campfire #9

Giving the Gift of Camp

With Molly Gallagher

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This podcast is sponsored by SCOPE, an amazing organization that helps to send children from financially disadvantaged families to summer camp. You can learn more about SCOPE online and through social media @supportscope.

I do not know anyone with more summer camp experience than Molly Gallagher.

Day camp started at 3 years old. Residential camp started at 7 years old and didn’t end for two decades. She’s run or helped to run day camps and overnight camps. She’s started a camp from the ground up that was based in a huge city and led groups of kids at old summer camps in the deep woods. 

She’s done it all! So it’s easy to understand when I say that summer camp has been a gift for Molly. Some of her closest friends, most cherished memories, and a professional career has all come from it.

For the past few years, Molly has been focused on helping others give that same gift to kids who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance. As the executive director of Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education, or SCOPE, Molly and her team have raised money to help hundreds and hundreds of children enjoy camp around the country.

Around the campfire, Molly and I talk about the gift of camp, how we can keep those gifts going back home, and how we can work together to share the gift of camp with those who couldn’t otherwise enjoy it.

Want to Help?

There are so many ways to support SCOPE:


 

Summer #1,Campfire #8

Camp Helps Parents Become…

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With Susie Lupert

This podcast is sponsored by SCOPE, an amazing organization that helps to send children from financially disadvantaged families to summer camp. You can learn more about SCOPE online and through social media @supportscope.

Part Two of our ‘Camp Helps Us Become’ series is in the books! Tonight, rather than thinking about our campers, we are thinking about how camp helps parents become….

I’m thrilled to be joined around the campfire by Susie Lupert, head of the American Camp Association New York / New Jersey office.

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I’ve known Susie for years having been first introduced by an upset parent - seriously! As someone who works with over fifteen hundred camp professionals and tens of thousands of camp families, there is no one better to talk about how camp influences, challenges, inspires, and educates parents. As a bonus, Susie became a first-time ‘camp parent’ last year so she know just what sending your child off to camp feels like!

Susie provides a great deal of insight on how parents can find the right camp, work effectively with the camp they’ve chosen, and, most importantly, how to help keep the very real gains their children experience from camp going throughout the school year.

Great Reading for Parents

Homesick and Happy from Dr. Michael Thompson is a great read for parents interested in learning about the benefits of missing home. Yes, you read that correctly - benefits!

Susan Cain’s Quiet was a revolutionary book for us as ‘wide open’ summer camp people. Her research and courageous sharing made us better summer camp directors and parents.

If you’ve not yet read Grit by Angela Duckworth, you should do it asap!

 

Summer #1,Campfire #7

Camp Helps Kids Become…

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With Dr. Laurie Browne

This podcast is sponsored by SCOPE, an amazing organization that helps to send children from financially disadvantaged families to summer camp. You can learn more about SCOPE online and through social media @supportscope.

I’m excited to introduce the first of a two-part series on the Campfire Conversations focusing on the outcomes of camp on our families.

This week, we are focusing on camp helps kids become confident, better communicators, better team players, more empathetic, and more! When you listen, you’ll hear about the whole host of benefits as explained by the American Camp Association’s Head of Research, Dr. Laurie Browne.

This week, we are focusing on camp helps kids become confident, better communicators, better team players, more empathetic, and more! When you listen, you’ll hear about the whole host of benefits as explained by the American Camp Association’s Head of Research, Dr. Laurie Browne.

 Dr. Laurie is a former camp counselor, award winning camp director, and college professor who now directs the research arm of the American Camp Association. She’s also a mom of campers herself and has witnessed the distinct and transferrable outcomes of summer camp both through her research and in a very ‘real life’ way, too!

Hold onto your hats as Dr. Laurie tells us what we’ve learned about the effect summer camp has on kids and how we can keep those gains going on back home. These preliminary results come from the mid point of the 5-Year Camp Impact Study commissioned by the ACA.

Make sure to come back next week for our conversation with Susie Lupert, head of the ACA New York/New Jersey office, our largest national section, discuss how camp helps parents become….

Great Reading for Parents

Dr. Laurie is the lead writer for the American Camp Association’s Research 360 blog. It is literally a wealth of information helpful to anyone interested in raising children into competent and confident adults.

Great Video by the ACA on the Benefits of Summer Camp:

 

Summer #1,Campfire #6

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The Perfect Internship

with Kim aycock

This podcast is sponsored by SCOPE, an amazing organization that helps to send children from financially disadvantaged families to summer camp. You can learn more about SCOPE online and through social media @supportscope.

What makes a great summer camp counselor? What makes it easier to start in the workforce? How do we build the ‘soft skills’ necessary to have a fruitful life?

Kim Aycock is happy to tell us the answers to both questions.

Kim is an incredible summer camp resource. A former summer camp counselor, educator at the middle school, high school, and collegiate levels, full-time summer camp director, and summer camp researcher and trainer. I’ve learned a lot from Kim over the years and excitedly wait to learn more!

If you are a parent who wants to learn more about the staff who create your child’s summer camp experience, you need to listen.

If you are a parent who is weighing whether or not to support your adult child in working at camp, you should listen.

If you are a person heading off to camp to work this summer, you should listen.

We all need to improve our ‘soft skills.’ The problem is that there are few opportunities to practice them… except for summer camp. At camp, you spend time in a supportive environment making a lasting impact on a young person’s life. Oh, and in the process, you strengthen you communication, leadership, problem solving, teamwork, and creativity skills. You also earn responsibility and build relationships that will last your whole life.

Want to only make money? Go work at the Gap. Want to make memories and cause ripples in the world (while making some money)? Go work and live at summer camp. Don’t just take my word for it!

Great Books for Parents and Managers

Dr. Tim Elmore – GrowingLeaders.com. Kim and I are both big fans of Dr. Elmore and his team. He’s written a number of useful books for Gen Z and those who hope to manage and lead them. Habitudes and Marching Off the Map are both excellent reads.

Interesting Articles

Monster.com has a great list of the soft skills companies want. LinkedIn Surveys put out a great article, too.

Great Quotes for Parents

  • Responsibility, relationships, and a launching pad. They’ve got the support and tools they need to do something really hard, really fun and really meaningful.

  • What makes a great counselor? They have to step outside themselves and really get into caring for other people, thinking about how the other can grow. The fun part is, you get to grow, too.

 

Summer #1,Campfire #5

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Anti-Fragile Kids

with steve baskin

This podcast is sponsored by SCOPE, an amazing organization that helps to send children from financially disadvantaged families to summer camp. You can learn more about SCOPE online and through social media @supportscope.

Steve Baskin has figured out how to be a life-long camper. (Mostly, as you’ll hear in this podcast, because he’s a life-long learner!)

He first attended camp when he was 8 and he continued for 11 years. In his years as a camper and a counselor, he discovered the power of the camp experience to develop confidence, social skills and joy.

He even wrote about camp in his college applications as one of the defining experiences of his life. After graduating college, serving a stint as an investment banker, Steve went to Harvard Business School, where he decided to pursue what everyone there secretly yearns to do: summer camp.

Since 1993, Steve and his bride, Susie, have been the full-time camp owners since of Camp Champions in Marble Falls, TX. I’ve known this self-described ‘camp nerd’ for almost as long as I’ve been in camping and have learned a lot from him over the years. I’m sure you will, too!

Steve has written (a lot!) for Psychology Today on youth development education and parenting as well the Camp Champions blog, and given several talks both on the TEDx platform and at the Harvard Business School.

Great Books for Parents

Anti-Fragile by Nassim Talib is more about the financial markets than anything else but applicable to so many aspects of our lives. Here’s a good review of both the anti-fragile idea and how to move that way in your life from a resource I trust.

A Season of Life by Jeffery Marx is one of the more memorable books I’ve read in a long time. It’s the story of Joe Ehrmann, a former wild man NFL defensive lineman who turns to helping those less fortunate. In the process, he develops a new style of coaching young men to startling good results… and I’m not talking about their record.

BONUS - Here is a fantastic list of books, articles, and videos for anyone interested in working with children from Camp Champions.

Great Quotes for Parents

  • I’m sorry to hear that you and ‘so and so’ are having a hard time. Let me know how you work it out.

  • Social media is an accelerator of anxiety for children more prone to feel anxiety.

 

Summer #1,Campfire #4

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Anxious about Anxiety

with bob Ditter

This podcast is sponsored by SCOPE, an amazing organization that helps to send children from financially disadvantaged families to summer camp. You can learn more about SCOPE online and through social media @supportscope.

I first met Bob Ditter at work retreat after my first summer as a camp director. Boy… did I need his help! Thankfully, he’s been offering his help to camp leaders and families for a long time.

Bob is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in child, adolescent, and family therapy based in Boston. He’s written numerous articles for the ACA Camping Magazine, a wide range of helpful summer camp training material, and two important books listed below.

Around the campfire, Bob and I talk about something we see a lot in our society: the rise of anxiety in our children, young people, and adults.

Did you know that 25% of 13 to 18-year-olds have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in the US? And, it’s not just affecting middle schoolers. One out of every eight college student have reported elevated levels of anxiety.

Summer camp provides a lot of great methods for reducing anxiety for our campers (and staff) that we can incorporate in our lives back home.  

Make sure to join us next week as we talk with Steve Baskin, director and owner of Camp Champions in Texas, about how we can help build Anti-Fragile children.

Great Books for Parents

While Summer Camp Rules may be geared more towards people who work with children, I learned a lot from it as a parent, too. Bob takes his 30+ years of experience and wisdom gleaned from summer camp and distills it for everyone.

Next Generation Camp Leadership is one of my go-to books for developing, training and managing our 220 summer staff.

Bob has a long list of articles written for the ACA Camping Magazine. Reading one or two a week would be really helpful!

Great Quotes for Parents

- Create a space in which kids can fail and feel safe doing so.

- The more you try to eliminate a worried thought from your mind, the more it tries to assert itself.

- Anxiety says to us, I’m here for two things - comfort and certainty. The truth is that life is never always certain and never always comfortable.

 

Summer #1,Campfire #3

 

Raising Kids the Summer Camp Way

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With Roz and Jed Buck

I’m excited to have Roz and Jed Buck on the Campfire Conversation podcast tonight. As parents, teachers, decorated camp directors, and deep thinkers, they are uniquely qualified to talk about raising kids.

Roz and Jed met at summer camp, married, had children, and tried for years to get back into camping with their own place. After 5 years of searching, they agreed to take over the reins at Meadowbrook Day Camp, a wonderful day camp in Long Valley, NJ.

After instilling their Tiger Philosophy (Teamwork, Integrity, Generosity, Enthusiasm and Respect) into the campers and staff for 13 years, both decided it was time for a new challenge.

Having left the zany life of camp directors, they now share their considerable knowledge around the country helping camps, small businesses, and schools create better teams and outcomes for their people. (Hire them to speak at your camp, school, small business or conference - they are great!)

Around the campfire tonight, we speak about raising kids, well-meaning lawnmower parents, setting up the culture you want, how to expand our thinking about the need for risk, and a lot more.

Great Books for Parents

Blessings of a Skinned Knee and Blessings of a B- by Dr. Wendy Mogel. I’ve read the first book a few times and it keeps getting better as I get older. The second is now on my short list, especially having three boys in middle and high school!

Great Quotes for Parents

“Life begins at the edge of our comfort zone.”

“We either win or we learn.” (Thank you, Nelson Mandela! Here is a great resource for more of his sayings.)

*Any purchases of the books through the link above will help raise money for SCOPE, a charitable organization that helps to send children to camps all over the US.

 

Summer #1,Campfire #2

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Planning Spontaneity

With Jeff Leiken

Tonight we speak with Jeff Leiken of Evolution Mentoring and Mentor Counseling. From his website, www.Leiken.com:  

Jeff Leiken is an internationally recognized expert in the field of helping teens and young adults build substantial, thriving lives.

Utilizing his unique combinations of skills and unconventional methodologies, he is able to help most young people who had not found the legitimate caliber of help they needed in the conventional options that are readily available anywhere. His clients regularly go on and become far more confident, successful, fulfilled adults, with fulfilling careers, meaningful relationships and true personal happiness.

He is a Master Trainer of the MythoSelf® Process, a Master Practitioner of NLP, Co-Creator and Master Trainer of the cutting-edge HeroPath for Teens™ program, a published author and popular speaker and trainer for organizations who work with youth.

 He holds a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling, a Pupil Personnel Services Credential from the State of California, served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of San Francisco Graduate School Of Education, and has guest lectured at Stanford University. Jeff has served as a trainer and consultant with over 150 Summer Camps across North America.

Though he is based in San Francisco with his wife and children, Jeff travels extensively, having run programs on 3 continents and 10 countries, and has offices in San Francisco (and Marin), New York and London.

GREAT BOOKS For Parents

Adolescence is Not a Disease by Jeff Leiken. I’ve read it myself and highly recommend it. Many of Jeff’s summer camp and teen articles can be found here.

Boy Crisis by Warren Farrell and John Gray is a thorough, enlightening and, at times, terrifying book. Well researched and well worth the read.  

Other Useful Ideas

  • Spike Ball – great game. We’ve got them at our camp and at our home. Simple to play, easy to set up, and not that expensive.

  • Plan some spontaneity – go for a walk in the rain, head out for a random ice cream store trip, be a bit goofy… in the right way. The kids need to laugh – and so do you!

  • When you are with your kids, be completely present with them.

  • I mentioned an study suggesting kids laugh more than adults. That may be an urban legend as I can’t find anything online that is supportive of that claim. (And, I still think it’s probably true….)

*Any purchases of the books through the link above will help raise money for SCOPE, a charitable organization that helps to send children to camps all over the US.

 

Summer #1, Campfire #1

Welcome to Campfire Conversation

with Cole Kelly

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I love summer camp. There are few experiences better for children (and the staff members who run it) when it’s the right fit for them and there family. Kids build independence, empathy, maturity and become more creative. They unplug from social media, disconnect from Fortnite, and interact face to face with kids and staff from around the world.

The phrase we hear a lot? “I get to be my best self at summer camp.”

This, then, is the problem - camp only lasts for a few weeks each summer. And the kids returning home rarely give more than a ‘it was fantastic’ answer to the ‘how was camp’ question we parents ask. These kids - who now make their beds, treat their siblings better, and exhibit signs of becoming a happy adult - can’t tell you how it all happened.

A summer Camp Ted Talk

The Campfire Conversation podcast is built to answer the questions, “What is so great about summer camp” and “how can we create similar outcomes for our kids back home?”

Each Friday night (until June rolls around), I’ll host a conversation with a summer camp director or thought leader. We’ll dive into different ideas on why summer camp helps to create great outcomes for kids (and staff!) and how we can bring this knowledge to apply back in the real-world.

We hope you’ll join us around the campfire. You can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher. You can also join the conversation on our facebook page. We’d be pleased to hear from you!