Posts Tagged With: GAC

Catch Them Doing the Right Thing

Written by Audrey “Sunshine” Monke for Gold Arrow Camp
Keeping Things Positive

I’ve often thought it would be great if all parents could go through the kind of training and orientation we provide our counselors. I’ve heard many times from past counselors that they learned a lot of their parenting techniques from working at camp! Here are a few ways to catch your child “doing the right thing.”

Staying Positive

Often, parents and teachers spend a lot of time focused on what they don’t want their children to be doing, instead of on what they do want them to be doing.  At Gold Arrow Camp, we train our counselors in positive behavior management techniques.  Here are three of the concepts we teach our counselors:

“Catch Them Doing Something Right”

Instead of looking for what a camper is doing incorrectly, we focus immediately on what they are doing well.   When kids realize that we will notice the good stuff they do, they are encouraged to do more of the desired, good behaviors.  A side benefit is that other campers see that we notice good behavior and are encouraged to do the same, so that they, too, will get positive attention.   If most of the cabin group is doing something incorrectly, we compliment and point out the kids who are doing what we like rather than nagging the rest of them.   So, instead of “Stop messing around and get your shoes on for breakfast,” we say, “Hey, great job getting your shoes on the first time I asked, Joe and Sam.”  Everyone else hears our compliment and are encouraged to get moving (and perhaps listen the first time we ask next time)!

At home, my favorite example of this is “Great job having your napkin in your lap, Owen.”  By complimenting one child, the rest are immediately reminded to do what you complimented on.

Refrain from using “Don’t” and “No”

In phrasing rules and instructions at GAC, we use positive wording whenever possible.   When adults use “don’t” or “no,” children often only hear the only part of the sentence that comes after the “don’t” or “no.”    It’s much more effective to let campers know what we DO want them doing.  On a ski boat, our instructors will say, “Keep your hands inside the boat,” instead of “Don’t put your hands outside the boat.” On a rocky trail where it’s safer to walk, instead of “Don’t run!,” we say, “Walk, please!”

At home, this can be things like, “Keep your hands and feet to yourself,” when kids are poking or hitting each other.   Or, “Time to clean up now,” instead of “No more playing.”

The 80-20 Rule

When discussing an inappropriate or negative behavior with a camper, we train our counselors in the “80-20″ rule.  Our counselors know that in a conversation with a camper about a behavioral issue, it’s best to do only 20% of the talking. The camper, in turn, does 80% of the talking while the counselor listens.   We want campers to figure out the impact their behavior had on others and determine their own plan for improvement. So, we ask open-ended questions, such as:

“How do you think your language affects the other kids in our group?”

“How would you feel if someone called you that name?”

“What can you do differently next time when you’re angry?”

When the camper thinks through and comes up with their own improvement plan, they have ownership in it and are much more likely to be successful. Plus, the counselor can then compliment them on their great idea for improvement and the conversation can have a positive tone and focus.

These are just a few of the many techniques we train our counselors to utilize at camp.  I think they can be extremely helpful for parents to use at home, too!

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Categories: Being Positive, Benefits of Camp, Family, Health, Joyful Kids, Kids, Kindness, Optimism, Parents, Self-Esteem, Social Skills | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parking the Helicopter

By Audrey “Sunshine” Monke

"I'm just going to Science Club!"

As parents of this generation, we have been told that great parenting means
being super-involved with our children and always being in constant communication with
them. We give them cell phones as soon as we feel they are ready to have a bit of
independence, so that we can be assured that they will call us the minute they need us.
There are many benefits to this parenting style. We know our kids well and have
developed close family relationships. We also know each of their homework
assignments (and assist with a few of them), the drills they did at soccer practice
(because we either coached their team or stayed and watched), and what they ate for
snack at school. The downside to our “helicopter” parenting, though, is it makes it
difficult for our children to develop their independence, problem-solving, and decision-
making skills.

Hooray for camp! Without a cell phone (or their parent next to them) to
immediately turn to when they are faced with a decision, campers learn to use other
resources – including their own great minds. Without us watching them and being a
reminder of what they’ve been scared of in the past, they challenge themselves and try
something new. The confidence that results from their accomplishments and
independence can be life-changing, and the best thing we hear from our campers and
parents is that camp truly makes their life better.

According to past staff member and camper, Renee “Zippy” Tucknott, “Gold
Arrow Camp taught me early in life that I can survive in the world without my parents
making my decisions, and I am able to make my own decisions and choices that will
impact my life. When I got to college, I experienced some of the same decisions and
choices and already knew I could survive on my own.”

Building confidence, character and resoursefulness at GAC!

As technology has provided us with the ever-increasing ability to be in touch
– immediately – with everyone, it has also given the children and young adults of this
generation a crutch that we (those of us in our late 30’s and up) did not have. When
faced with a decision or problem with a friend, we had to rely on ourselves first and later
discuss it with our parents. Now, kids are getting accustomed to calling their parents
before attempting to solve the challenge on their own. At GAC, we have a great support
network to help our campers work through challenges, fears, and problems that may
come up. They never feel “alone,” but they feel independent from their parents, and a
lot of pride comes from that independence.
So, enjoy your child’s stay at GAC this summer and rest assured that while your
helicopter is parked, your child is spreading their wings!

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Categories: Communication, Community, Councelors, Kids, Parents, Tradition, Traditions | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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