Camp Pinnacle Counselor Orientation is in full swing. Beginning May 31, Our counselors converged from around the country and the globe for two weeks of counselor training. Orientation is as long as a camp session and it needs to be! Even though our counselors arrived with a lot of ability and talent and many have been with us before, being a camp counselor is a complex and complicated job and we want to make sure our staff is more than ready! After all, we only have two weeks to make camp incredible. We want every hour to count.
This week the focus has been on lifeguard training, leadership, policies and procedures, and tips for teaching various activities from mountain biking to archery. The counselors have taken an overnight to the Black Balsam area of Pisgah Forest to practice leading our campers on trips to the same fantastic destinations. They will take another camping trip to our back country sites on Pinnacle property next week. In order to be more effective role models, we want counselors to be able to empathize with our campers as they share similar experiences. Simply put – these two weeks are camp for the counselors. And they become much better counselors because of it!
Besides our in house orientation presentations, Psychologist Tricia Miller will do two sessions on child development, Pardee Hospital’s Family Medicine Program will bring their medical residents to create first aid scenarios and medical training which supplements our wilderness first aid training. We will have a parent panel formed from several of our locally based parents. They will share their expectations for the camp experience they want their kids to receive.
I thought we would share what we have been reading this winter. It’s our job to stay on top of the latest youth development trends and literature so we can make sure that the Camp Pinnacle program remains relevant to parents. Besides being a ridiculous amount of FUN, we want Camp Pinnacle to be one of the tools that helps kids develop the skills, mindset, optimism, confidence, character and resilience that will help them become happier and more capable adults.
Topics from these and other books will be featured in our orientation sessions as we try to facilitate the best possible learning and growing experience for your child. Below are our 2014 suggestions for the best 2014 youth development literature for those who share our obsession for helping children grow:
Harvard Professor, Edward Hallowell gives parents a wonderful five step program we can keep in mind as we give our kids a childhood that will create a footprint to help them become happy adults. In the Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Hallowell, promotes childhood as a time to provide opportunities to feel connected to others, to play and be joyful, to practice and attain mastery in numerous activities, to fail and build resilience and to receive recognition. We use Dr Hallowell’s model in our counselor training and wrote a BLOG about how his model applies to Camp Pinnacle. We love this book!
In Mindset, Stanford Researcher, Carol Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach challenges with a Fixed or a Growth Mindset. She makes it clear why praising intelligence and ability isn’t the best way to foster self-esteem and confidence, and may actually jeopardize success. Through development of a Growth Mindset and by praising effort and hard work rather than innate talent, we can better motivate our kids to approach new challenges with vigor while building resilience in the process. We use Dweck’s book in staff orientation to make counselors aware of ways through our language and leadership, we can encourage the development of a growth mindset in our campers.
The Author who brought us Mean Girls and Queen Bees and Wanna Bees, Rosalind Wiseman, has now written the definitive book on boys, Masterminds and Wingmen. Using a panel of over 160 boys, Wiseman exposes us to the world of teenage boys and gives us great insight into the lives our boys are experiencing, the rules of boys world and how male teenage power structures work. She introduces the “Act like a Man Box” and the effects living up to these expectations may have on young male behavior. As school and the economy change, we are concerned that boys are falling behind and we hope the culture we create at Camp Pinnacle will help give our male campers enhanced succeed.
One of WSJ’s “most important reads for 2013”, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Child and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, discusses how technology is affecting family relationships and how parents’ involvement with technology at home affects family connections. Renowned clinical psychologist and author, Catherine Steiner-Adair explains, families are now in crisis around this issue. Not only do chronic technology distractions have deep and lasting effects, but children desperately need warm, interactions with the adults in their lives. Drawing on real-life stories from her clinical and consulting work, Steiner-Adair offers insights and advice as to how parents can achieve greater understanding and confidence as they come up against the tech revolution happening in their family rooms. When our campers have an amazing experience and succeed beyond all expectations without any technology, they are often given a unique perspective on how technology fits into their lives. Read a recent BLOG we wrote about her book.