Category: Benefits of Summer

7 Ways to Build Character at Camp

by Karen Meister

Summer camp started in the 1800′s as a way to expose the hard working children to the outdoor environment during the summer months.  What was learned in a classroom could be learned differently in nature.  What was not able to be taught in a classroom could also be taught in the outdoors. So often, I am asked for a summer experience that will teach a child to:

  • be more responsible
  • learn good character
  • be more appreciative for what they have
  • connect with humans vs technology

Our goals for summer are no different than they were way back when.  In 1905, camping advocate,  Dr. Winthrop Tisdale Talbot wrote:

“In cultivating general morality and kindly behavior the camps are helped chiefly through their usefulness in making boys strong vitally, in improving their power of digestion, in increasing their lung capacity, in letting the sunshine pour upon every portion of their bared bodies.   In camp, poor and rich lads stripped to their swimming trunks are on an absolute equality; the best man wins. Courage, generosity, goodwill, honesty are the touchstones of success in camp.

In other words, provide a place for all children to breathe deeply of clean air, disconnect from technology, practice climbing and playing and developing skills, eat healthy foods, compete hard, and live side by side with others from all walks of life to become a better member of this world.  The goals and rewards of camp have not changed since these words have been written. So boil it down to 7 things every child needs to build stronger character at summer camp:

1)    New relationships, not just with peers, but with trusted adults other than their parents.

2)    Confident identity that makes the child feel powerful in front of others. Your child may not be the best on the ropes course, the fastest swimmer, or the next teen idol when he sings, but chances are that a good camp counselor is going to help your child find something to be proud of that he can do well.

3)    A sense of control of their lives, and those experiences of self-efficacy can travel home as easily as a special art project or the pine cone they carry in their backpack. Children who experience themselves as competent will be better problem-solvers in new situations long after their laundry is cleaned and the smell of the campfire forgotten.

4)    Equity and fairness , making sure that all children are treated the same. The wonderful thing about camps is that every child starts without the baggage they carry from school. They may be a geek or the child with dyslexia, the one from the home with everything or with little, the entitled vs the grounded. At camp they will both find opportunities to just be kids who are valued for who they are. No camps tolerate bullying (and if they do, you should withdraw your child immediately).

5)    Physical development offers so much to how a child feels about themselves.  Ideally, camp offers fresh air, exercise, a balance between routine and unstructured time, and all the good food their bodies need. Not that smores (marshmallows, chocolate and graham cracker treats) don’t have a place at the campfire, but a good camp is also about helping children find healthy lifestyles.

6)    A sense of belonging to that very special cabin and special division and special camp.  All those goofy chants and team songs, the sense of common purpose and attachment to the identity that camps promote go a long way to offering children a sense of being rooted and will be with them the rest of their lives.

7)    And finally, a sense of their culture. It might be skit night, or a special camp program that reflects the values of the community that sponsors the camp, or maybe it’s just a chance for children to understand themselves a bit more as they learn about others. Camps give kids both cultural roots and the chance to understand others who have cultures very different than their own. There is a perfect camp for every family and every child.  And yet, camp is just too good to pass up.  Please make sure that summer camp is a part of your child’s life.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Sleepovers and summer camp teach kids important life skills

Reprint from the Washington Post

By Carolyn Butler
Forget empty-nest syndrome: I had a rough enough time recently sending my 6-year-old off to his first sleepover at a friend’s house.He was clearly more ready for this milestone than his father and I were: He’d been begging to go for weeks, and that afternoon, he sat on our steps eagerly waiting to be picked up — sleeping bag, glow-in-the-dark PJs and s’mores fixings in hand — as I worked at holding back tears.

While it can be hard to watch your children head off for sleepovers, sleepaway camp or even Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a few nights, such an event is a healthy and important step, says clinical psychologist Maureen Monaghan of Children’s National Medical Center.

“I think it is a great idea to give kids an experience of being on their own in a structured, supportive, supervised environment,” she says. The time away from parents provides an excellent opportunity for even young children to take initiative, exercise their autonomy and develop leadership, problem-solving and social skills, which often builds self-esteem, she explains. “Even just one night away from parents can be valuable. . . . It definitely challenges kids — it takes them out of their comfort environment — but it’s usually really positive, and we see a lot of growth and maturing.”

To learn more, I spoke with psychologist Michael Thompson, author ofHomesick and Happy: How Time Away From Parents Can Help a Child Grow ,” about letting your kids go away and the associated benefits for the whole family.

Why is it so hard for today’s parents to separate from their children, at any age?

This generation of parents has invested an enormous amount of time in being emotionally close with their children and having very deep attachments. They’ve also invested an enormous amount in protecting their children from trauma. We have doubled the amount of time spent with children in the last 20 years. When you’re all in, it’s hard to step out — it’s just that simple.

Even though it can be difficult to send kids off to a sleepover or a full summer of camp, why is it valuable?

At some point, all children are going to have to be independent, and a safe place to practice that is camp, although we’re also talking about overnight school trips, boarding school, even a week at a relative’s house. A big, developmentally appropriate step for independence is sleeping away from your parents.

When you face challenges away from your parents, you know the victory belongs to you alone. If you are, in fact, homesick and you overcome it — which the vast majority of children do — it means that YOU beat it. It was painful, and you beat it. If you were uncomfortable on a canoe trip, a trail ride, a long hike, you know that you got through it: You either sucked it up on your own or got comfort from your friends or counselors, but it’s your achievement.

Okay, so you got stung by a bee: It was scary and painful, but you got over it and you recovered, which means that you can deal with all the bees in the world without your mom — the bees being a metaphor, of course, for all of the challenges in life. How do you know what makes you strong if Mom is always fetching your shoe out of the mud or standing there saying, “Oh, it’s not so bad”?

The problem with parents is that it’s very hard for them to recognize that at times they have a regressive effect on the lives of their children, and sometimes in order for kids to reach their full potential, they have to get away from that regressive pull.

Can that make a difference later in life as well?

I think camp is the best emotional preparation for a successful college experience, because you practice being on your own, keeping track of your clothes; you practice living in a community and getting along with roommates you don’t love — all of the skills you need for true independence. . . . It’s very helpful to start the process of learning to live independently and also in community earlier.

Perhaps the biggest psychological impact of camp is on resilience, on character and on learning to be a member of a community that’s separate from your family, who always cut you some slack and who have preconceived notions about you.

One of the things that troubles me about this generation is that we want our children endlessly challenged academically, but we don’t seem to want their resilience challenged in other ways. You can’t know you’re resilient until your resilience is challenged. And resilience or grit is key because it’s what gets you through the hard times in life. When you are in college, discouraged and overwhelmed, does your mother get you through? No. But the experience of being out in a thunderstorm on a hiking trip and knowing you survived — that just might.

If they like sleepovers and are curious about friends going away to camp, or if they’ve asked to go on a weekend with a friend, that’s a very good indication. In general, I’d say that kids are ready between 6 and 12, depending on temperament and style, but especially if your child has shown some resilience. The kids I worry about are those with anxiety disorders and depression — they are at risk — but plenty of these children do great, and I have even seen some camp experiences cure anxiety disorder. I’ve also seen some [of these children] not be able to finish camp.

How can nervous parents prepare a child for camp, boarding school or any other extended time away?

Start by sending your child to their grandparents’, to an aunt and uncle’s, or to a friend’s house for a sleepover: someplace with an adult they trust but where they get to be away and have to fall asleep without their usual bedtime ritual. The inner feeling for the child will be “Well, my aunt did things totally differently from my mom, but I fell asleep anyway and it was fine.” They now have a bigger range and know they are more resilient than they thought.

You should obviously address any medical needs like medication, a special diet or potential anxiety, and it’s important to sit down and talk about what to expect, all the issues. You should always acknowledge the possibility of homesickness; tell your child if you experienced it and share your own stories.

Homesickness is universal. Research shows that 97 percent of children report homesickness of one kind or another: Of that group, 81 percent is mild, and the kid gets over it in three to four days; 19 percent of kids who go to camp have some significant distress, and it’s a longer process. About a third of the latter — or six out of 100 children — have unremitting homesickness. But they are the heroes of my book, because more than half of them go back to sleepaway camp the next summer. Recently, a woman in Toronto said to me, “Oh my God, I had a terrible first year at camp.” I said, “What happened?” and she said, “I knew I had to go back.” I asked “Why?” and she said, “I just knew I had to go back and beat it.”

Go away for a weekend yourself and enjoy the time off! Oftentimes, parents are much more anxious than their kids, whether we’re talking about a sleepover or sleepaway camp. Children often look to their parents for cues on how to handle stressful situations, so as a parent, the best thing you can do is be positive, enthusiastic and encouraging. In your head, you might be worried about some things, about how it’s all going to go, but the message you want to convey to your child is that this is going to be an enjoyable, fun experience, and you’re excited for them.

June 18, 2012

Generation Z Needs Overnight Camp

Reprinted from Camp Experts & Teen Summers

Generation Z. Those who have been born in the 90’s have grown up with conveniences that we’re enjoying today. There’s the constant connection to the internet and the world wide web, the smartphone, access to instant communication mediums such as text messaging, and of course, social media networking. Generation Z is Generation Z because of their dependence on 24/7 internet access via mobile phones, tablets and laptops. They are born with an electronic umbilical cord, from which every fiber of their being is fused to technology.

Moreover, their outlook on life is very unique and different from the other generations. They have seen America’s weakening grasp on being a global superpower, handed over to India and China as the new economic powerhouses, felt the effects of climate change on a global scale, witnessed the emergence of terrorism, of numerous school shootings, financial crises and unemployment.

This generation would rather communicate online or through text than talk face to face. They can chat with someone they don’t know on the world wide web; these people would rather stay indoors and spend all their time facing the computer and the cold screens of their phones.

It is of utmost importance that we bring Generation Z back to the roots and values the country has been striving for ever since the beginning of time. And for that, we need summer camp more than ever.

Overnight summer camp has been an honored mainstay throughout the history of the United States. It has stood over 150 years for a good reason, with one being an escape to the unbearable city heat before air conditioners entered the market. Camp provided a welcome outlet for the humid city air, which was considered unhealthy for children.

Surviving the summer heat isn’t the only reason why Generation Z needs to go to overnight summer camp. They should expand their circle of friends and overcome the limitations of only having friends inside their virtual worlds. Camp is a good place to meet new people, with their own peers, positive role models and responsible counselors providing an optimal environment. Attending camp means they can experience new things, try out new hobbies and learn to take risks. They can exercise their bodies through swimming or a challenging trek in the immediate surroundings. Camp can foster creativity via various arts and crafts activities.

The overnight summer camps of today have a lot to offer as compared to the summer camps of yesteryear. There are general camps for all-around purposes; there are sports camps catering specifically to those who would like to learn or improve their game. There are academic summer overnight camps for math and biology; arts-oriented camp for individuals who love music or theater, religious camps, special needs camp, niche camps for cooking enthusiasts and chess aficionados, and adventure-type camps for those who’d love some rock climbing or scuba diving.

Those from the previous generations (Baby Boomers and the Generation X) should take it upon themselves to pass on the overnight summer camp tradition to Generation Z, ensuring they are not completely lost in their own virtual worlds. It is vital that they come out of their houses and play out in the sun, learn the real world instead of living in an electronic one, learn to win by experiencing trial and error, and start getting this country back in shape in economic, social and ethical aspects. Enroll them in summer camp now.

Do you wish to give your children the gift of true friends, an amazing adventure, and last but not the least, fun that will stick with them throughout their life? Overnight Summer Camp isn’t there just to beat the summer heat; it’s a lifetime’s worth of treasured experience when done the right way!

The Camp Experts and Teen Summers is there to provide the perfect experience for your kids. We have over a thousand summer programs and worldwide camps in representation, ensuring your child’s distinct needs are met and they get into summer camps that will prove to be the best fit.

Whether day camps, overnight camps, sleepaway camps or specialty program camps, The Camp Experts and Teen Summers is there to help get you the ideal teen camp program. We have all the answers to your camp questions and needs.

Want your child or teen to have this experience, please click here to get free, professional overnight camp assistance.

A New Dynamic Thanks to Camp

by Nicole Gorin

My oldest daughter left for camp.  We knew she would have an awesome experience and would grow and mature.  What we didn’t know was the impact her absence would have on her two sisters (and the parents) left behind.

Growing up in a house with three girls, the eldest always plays a certain role.   The little ones look up to their big sister, but don’t always “get” to play with her.  My eldest has always been more attentive to the youngest.  So when “big sis” left for camp, my little one was sad to see her go.  The middle one?? Well she was a bit more nonchalant about the departure.

The first couple of days my little one would cry and ask when she was coming back. My middle one would say that she had only been gone for five minutes and was very curious about what she was doing without us. They were both very anxious to see pictures of her at camp. As the days went by, I began to see the two little ones start to really hang out together, to compromise, sleep in the same room, and be great company for each other. A bond started to form that had not been there before.

My middle daughter really stepped up and began to share and teach and be the big sister.  Much more willing to hear the little sister’s opinion and to make sure they were both having fun, there was a new “big sis” present. They really appreciated each other and learned a lot in the month their oldest sister was gone.

My oldest was having an incredible time at camp, forming new friendships and growing. But things were also growing at home.

Visiting day came and my middle daughter slept at camp with her older sister. They found each other at camp, but they were both different, both more grown up and both found a new appreciation for each other.  The older sister helped comb the younger one’s hair; looked after her in a way she had never before. Time had given them a beautiful connection and a reminder of how important they were to one another.

My eldest came back with a different perspective from camp. She is more appreciative of her sisters and how important they are in her life. They communicate in a different way and she continues to surprise me in that she has turned into an incredible role model for both of them. She is now more willing to play, share, and teach them so many of the things she learned.

I am truly indebted to this summer experience, for it left a long lasting imprint on the lives of my daughters and on ours in turn as their parents.

Nicole Gorin is a certified coactive life coach. She has experience in working with children, parents, families, and executives. She also has a master’s degree in speech and language therapy and incorporates this background in her work. She is passionate about working with clients who are in transition and always looks to help them create a better life. Nicole can be reached at nicole@npgcoaching.com and on her websitewww.npgcoaching.com.  Nicole worked closely with Karen Meister, Camp Experts and Teen Summers consultant, to find the right camp in order to insure her daughter’s success.

 

Play, Laugh, Learn and Love – Back to Basics


by Karen Meister

Crazy scary world we live in today.  And yet, the only thing I want for our children is for them to play, laugh, learn and love.  They should play:  freely, with and without purpose, to exercise, and to explore.

They should laugh:  at themselves, at life, and with their friends and family.

They should learn:  about history, math, culture and science, how to communicate, how to feel, and how to be independent.

They should love:  life, their family, their friends, their neighbors, and their world.

Life is way too short, in the grand scheme of the universe, to take one moment for granted.  And as a parent, we try very hard to spare our children from the harshness of certain realities and allow them to grow up with the hopes and dreams of a wonderful future.

Summer camp is a gift, an opportunity and a necessity to allow a child to escape the daily barrage of media that tends to slip through during their existence at home.  Please consider giving this opportunity to your children.

Camp does the world a lot of good.

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

 

Sending my daughter to camp

by Nicole Gorin

The decision to send my daughter to camp was a momentous one. Being a camper myself I knew of all the incredible adventures she would have. But I also knew how much I would miss her and worried about sending her out into the world.

So many questions came to mind: Was she ready? Who was going to comb her curly hair every day? Did I give her all the tools she needed to be successful? Could she take care of herself? What would she learn at camp? Was I ready for what she would come home knowing?

From silly questions to big questions. As a helicopter parent my mind was in overdrive.

Then I remembered how much fun I had at camp. All that I learned and the amazing friendships I made while I was there. The impact of giving her this experience would have an ever-lasting effect on her life. She would learn to be independent, to try new things, and to appreciate nature in a completely new way. She would learn things that were totally out of her comfort zone. Meet people from all walks of life and try new things. She would get to run and laugh and be silly and try swimming in the freezing lake and repelling, archery, and cooking. She would be exposed to things that she could never do at home. She would find herself at camp just like I did and it would change her forever.

The impact of this experience created ripples in so many areas.  Camp sent back a beautiful young lady. She is more confident and in tune with herself. She has counselors in England and friends all over the country she is constantly talking to. She has found new hobbies and a love for building things that she never had before .It is a wonderful thing as a mother to experience your child in this way. She is much more aware of all the things that we do for her and more appreciative because of it.

It was a great decision to let her go.  I encourage anyone who is thinking about it to go for it. Your children will be better for it. They will come back with more knowledge, more confidence, and more independence than you ever thought possible.

Nicole Gorin is a certified coactive life coach. She has experience in working with children, parents, families, and executives. She also has a master’s degree in speech and language therapy and incorporates this background in her work. She is passionate about working with clients who are in transition and always looks to help them create a better life. Nicole can be reached at nicole@npgcoaching.com and on her website www.npgcoaching.com.  Nicole worked closely with Karen Meister, Camp Experts and Teen Summers consultant, to find the right camp in order to insure her daughter’s success.

Color War Was the Best

by Karen Meister

Fight fight fight fight fight fight fight!!!!!!

White team, yes we are the white team.
We’ll fight conquer and win…..

It was way too many years ago, but I can still chant the winning fight song for my color war team, I still remember the plaque that was painted and feel the sweet satisfaction of winning in the final moments of color war sing.  There is nothing more memorable than ending the summer with that scratchy, frog voice that means YOU WERE IN IT!!!

If you’ve been to camp, you know what I mean.  Granted, not everyone loved it, but I most certainly drank the cool-aid for sure.

Are your kids at camp now?  If so, they are either experiencing color war right now or about to embark on a few days of mayhem, spirit, intensity, and either a win or a loss, both of which are emotional and teachable moments.  The screams of victory and the tears of defeat.

But when  the color war games have ended and the summer comes to a close, the hugs are sweet and your child will come home to live 10 for 2!  Share your color war stories.  I have a few!

Tell me your stories.  Send pictures and stories to Karen@campexperts.com.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305-931-5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world. 

Resolution 2015: Quiet

by Karen Meister

Last year, my resolution was to be conscious as it related to eating and exercise.  Like many, I always battle those 10 plus pounds.  I am excellent at losing them and finding them again.  So in 2014, I tried something new.  I am happy to say after a year of  simply being “conscious”, I have kept off 10 plus pounds for the full year and know that my mindfulness in these two areas (with the help from my FitBit) has been a wonderful new way to live.

So now, for 2015.

Purposeful unplugging.

And what do I mean by this?  It is not just unplugging from electronics.  It is learning to sit quietly and just be.  And this will be difficult for me.  My brain is always creating, organizing, planning, learning, growing.  Thankfully, I have tons of energy and enjoy doing a lot!

If not for this energy, creation, and implementation, LifeMeisters would have not been born and I would not have enjoyed the past several years learning from and writing with some wonderful people.  I would not have participated on four tennis teams, operated a business helping families find summer programs for their children and teenagers, created and implemented a Women’s Tennis Camp, started a Healthy Snack Challenge (to be continued), traveled and enjoyed my family and friends.  I am so grateful for good health and good life.  And I know that there are many other people who have accomplished so much more than I ever will.

And yet….

I have also lost several dear friends this year and I want to make sure that I can truly “live” every moment.  And I believe one element that is missing is “the quiet time”.

When at sleepaway camp, I loved sports, color war, camaraderie, competition.  I just loved camp.  But I also loved lying in the grass, staring at the stars, listening to the crickets and seeing fireflies.  One of the benefits of camp, whether young or old, is limited or no access to phones, computers, televisions, outside communication.  Being surrounded by trees, water, nature.  Knowing when the sun rises, it is time to shine.  When the sun goes down, it is time to unwind.

We can send our kids out there… for this experience.  I send your kids….  But how can I replicate this feeling “consciously”?

Alas, my new project and resolution for 2015!  Practice makes perfect and I will start by spending a simple 5 minutes trying to slow down or stop the bombardment of thoughts and just sit quietly.

You with me?  Send me ideas on “how to”….

Happy and healthy new year to you!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

That One Special Moment

by Karen Meister

My dad recently found a collection of old movies that he put on DVDs.  Being the techy in the family, I grabbed them and have enjoyed looking at them, remembering the moments in time, and clipping portions that you can actually see.  The movies back then were not the greatest of images, but they were enough to bring back the memory that is certainly a very clear picture in my mind.

One part of the movie was when my parents and grandparents came to camp to visit my brother and me.  I think I was 9 or 10 years old when we went to camp.  We went to the Poconos, all of our friends from the neighborhood went to the “other” camp in the Poconos, and we went for the entire summer.  I recall not loving this camp because the girls in my cabin were not athletic and I was.  We would get to softball and I was the only one (at least as I recall) that wanted to play.  I remember having a nickname, P.S., for pip-squeak, and that the counselors loved me like a mascot.

I went to camp with my brother and he LOVED this camp.  His counselors were funny, talented, the leaders at camp, and all the boys loved to play ball.

Bottom line, the camp was just fine.  But as I always say, it has to be the right fit for each child.

But there was that one moment that made me feel special, competent, and is a memory that was vivid in my mind and then validated when I saw the movie.

I OPENED THE SKI SHOW BY GETTING ON THE SKI INSTRUCTOR’S SHOULDERS,

SKIING AROUND THE LAKE AND WAVING THE AMERICAN FLAG!

I remembered the counselor so vividly.  And there it was on film.  I liked the little girl I saw on the film.  I liked that I had my brother there with whom I could share memories forever.  I liked that my parents and grandparents came to visit and see our world.  And I was glad when they left and I had more camp to experience.

I did ultimately move on to another camp after that first experience.  We did find a better fit.  We went to a tennis camp for two summers.  It was great!  But so was this camp.  A memory forever!!

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Scared to send your kids to camp?

by Karen Meister

I just watched Meatballs — yes, the goofy camp movie with Bill Murray.  A classic for sure.  But the message was right on.  Rudy, the little guy who arrives at camp and clearly does not fit in spends the first day or so as an outcast and runs away from camp.  Bill Murray tracks him down at the local diner, and over a milk shake and french fries, convinces him to come back to camp.  Over the course of the summer, due to “no parental intervention”, Rudy begins to develop  competence, confidence and independence.

Amazing!

Through a friendship with Bill, he begins to practice running.  He develops an ability and strength the other kids don’t have.  He feels better about himself because although he can’t kick a soccer ball, he can run.  He is selected to save the camp’s last chance in the Apache Relay against arch-rival Camp Mohawk.  And the movie ends with Rudy on the shoulders of the whole camp.

He has gone from outcast to hero and in this simple (and often times silly story), you witness the beauty and magic of camp!

But it takes time for the process to unfold.  Many would think that if your child is shy or timid or you are nervous about or for them, a short experience at camp would be best.  It is actually the reverse.  If these characteristics describe your child, you need to give them the time to work through the fear, build the competence and confidence, and leave camp with a success.

Success is defined by accomplishing ANYTHING….  the perfect piece of pottery (in their eyes), the new skill of the balance beam, a hook shot, or getting up on waterskis.  It doesn’t happen over night, but it will happen, given the chance.

Don’t fear their time away.  Embrace it, find thngs to do on your own, and smother your child with hugs and kisses when they proudly return from sleepaway camp.

Important Caveat:  It is absolutely crucial to find the right camp.  Meatballs is a movie.  If your child is a bit shy, fearful, older or whatever it may be, it is critical to speak with a camp expert that knows the culture, personnel, size, etc. at different camps.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Find Your Inner Child

by Karen Meister

I flew through the air with the greatest of ease, the daring old girl on the flying trapeze!!

I took three days, just three little days, and felt like I was away for a fantastic vacation.  It’s amazing how renewed you feel when you get away from your normal routine.  I went to tennis camp with a group of women who have the same passion for tennis as I do.  We played tennis for 5 hours a day.  This would not be heaven to everyone, but for us it was glorious.  We played, got to know each other, told stories, danced the night away, and yes I took a ride on the trapeze!

I had a blast and so did the women who joined me.  We were an international group from Miami to Hong Kong to New Jersey to Argentina.  Stories of our lives growing up were different and yet so similar.  We bonded within minutes of our arrival and left with new friends for life.  Yes, this is going to camp….

But I share this, not because I have to convince you that camp is good for your kids, but that sending your kids to camp is good for you too.  When you have little ones in the house, the time you get to yourself and/or you and your spouse, are so limited.  Needless to say, the kids always come first.  But, having an opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the child inside is extraordinary.  Being able to relax long enough to have a belly laugh that makes you cry is glorious.  Just having the time to find the quiet place in your mind where you can remember what it was like to be carefree is such a gift.

Many have said they feel guilty sending their children to camp.  First and foremost, going away to camp is a gift, not a punishment.  Crucial to find the right camp, but it is a gift for sure.  Second, take advantage of the time you have to refresh yourself.  Make sure it is a gift for the whole family.

Tennis camp was so much fun for me, I am planning another one for the spring (if by chance you happen to have a passion for tennis).  But make sure you truly consider camp for your kids, so you too, can take some time to find your inner child!

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Adults Go To Camp Too

by Karen Meister

The best parent is the one that is a good role model.  Do as I do!!  Right?

Well, it’s my turn.  I’M GOING TO TENNIS CAMP!!!!

Can’t Wait!!  One of the programs with which I work is right up my alley.  And I MUST GO VISIT to make sure it is good, safe, offers everything they say, clean and more.

For anyone that knows me, even remotely, you know tennis AND camp are two of my greatest passions!  So in usual Karen style, I have to gather my pals to come play with me at camp.  And we are all so excited.

Camp is really terrific for kids and adults providing:

  • Physical Activity – Fresh air, blue skies, and away from a computer
  • Self-Definition - Trying new things, learning to achieve and getting positive reinforcement for those efforts
  • Structure and Clear Limits - A schedule of activities to attend that you can enjoy
  • Creative Self-Expression - Variety of offerings to experiment and explore without fear
  • Positive Social Interactions - Old and new friends who share common interests learning to live as a community
  • Competence and Achievement – Opportunity to enhance skills and feel good about the accomplishment
  • Meaningful Participation - Life long bonds that are made in such a short period of time

Do the right thing for yourself and your kids.  There is a program for everyone that will excite the mind and body.  If you are interested in adult camp opportunities, we can talk next week.  LOL!

Then we will talk about the kids!!  Cyber-hugs and have a great weekend!!  I know I will for sure.

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

 

 

The White Team After Labor Day

by Karen Meister

Every Labor Day, we debate whether to wear white or not.  And of course, my head always goes to camp.

One year, I was on the white team during Color War.  I still remember the fight song, the screaming, the competition, the excitement.  I proudly painted my face with my team colors, wore white from head to toe and would not dream of having a speck of green (the opposing team) anywhere on my body.

So first, for those who don’t know what Color War is, let me give you the elevator ride explanation.  Towards the end of the summer, an exciting event occurs which announces the start (or the “break”) of color war.  Flyers fly, pamphlets are distributed or some kind of communication is made to campers and staff announcing on which team each person will be and who will hold leadership roles for the next several days.  Participants compete in everything from a sing off, sign making, athletic and non-athletic competitions, the ever-present Apache Relay, and so much more.  Camp directors and adult staff typically serve as referees and good behavior is often rewarded with points.

So why is this ritual popular, memorable and important?

  1. Competition is good and real.
  2. Team Building is good and real.
  3. Working towards the completion of a goal is good and real.
  4. Serving as a leader of your peers is good and real.
  5. Hoping to become, and building skills to earn the right to become a leader is good and real.


Within a 3 to 5 day period of intensity, your children go through a process of development, exhaustion and single minded performance to be victorious.  But victory is not measured by whether you win or lose the baseball, newcomb or lacrosse games.  It is not measured by whether you run faster, swim longer, or build a bigger fire.  Victory comes to those who encompass all which makes a good and productive member of society:

  • competence,
  • commitment,
  • sweat,
  • attitude,
  • drive,
  • tenacity, and
  • teamwork.
So when Labor Day rolls around, I remember my White Team fight song with pride.  I do not remember whether we won or lost, but I most certainly retained the lessons I learned during color war.  And therefore, I am a winner.
Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Top 5 Discoveries at Camp

by Karen Meister

Spring break is over and the kids are “happily” back in school (wink wink).  Vacation was great but wow….  whirlwind ran through the house and the return to routine is okay.  And now you can take a few moments to realize there are only 9 weeks till the end of school (in South Florida at least).  One grading period, and the kids are home for the summer.  And if you have not yet made plans — vacation, camp, teen programming, older kids in jobs — now now now is the time!!!!

And the delicious summer is the best time for your child to explore and experiment.  Best time to try on new hats (so to speak) to find out what they enjoy doing, without getting a grade….

Going to sleepaway camp WITHOUT the neighborhood friends is the best way for your child to try on new hats without consequence.  They don’t bring the mistakes home.  The failures stay at camp and are forgotten by the following year.  The successes come home through stories and pictures.

1.   In charge of their own destiny:  At camp, your child chooses to be a participant or a spectator, agreeable or defiant.  And it is good.  The experiment will allow them to determine what place makes them happy and how to manage it.

2.  Learn to make new friends:   Without a friend from home, your child must enter a new community and start fresh.  There is no history and the camp persona gets to be developed.  Liberating!!!

3.  Try new things/believe in yourself:  Surrounded by counselors cheering you on for EVERYTHING, your child will most certainly tie dye even if they hate art, swing a baseball bat even if they hate sports, or hop on a horse even if they are terrified.  The 24/7 support from peers and counselors encourages the experiment.  And the result is a newfound ability to believe that you can try new things in all areas.

4.  Develop deep relationships:  When you live with people for weeks at a time, you see their good and bad moments and must still learn to deal with it.  And you must learn HOW to deal with it without getting your feelings hurt or hurt others.  He or she will learn compassion, empathy, when to get involved and when to stand back.

5.  Practice and value teamwork:  Between Color War, intercamp games or canoeing down the river, there are so many opportunities to reinforce dependence on your fellow campers and participation in the team.  Your child will learn to be a leader and a follower, and alas bring those skills home for those pesky group projects that every school demands.

Over the years, sleepaway camp will help your child both develop skills and help them understand where their comfort zone is.  Their understanding and control of their own destiny will be reinforced and it does carry over into the school year.  Help your child develop their future  and find out not only who they are, but who they can become.

There are still many camps that have space for children.  But now is the time to make choices.  47 school days till the summer is here!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Spring Break is Here!!

by Karen Meister

Yea!!  It’s Spring Break!!  A full week off of school, no lunches to make and tons of fun activities planned for the week.  If you are going away for the week, have a blast, be safe and enjoy every minute.

If you are staying home with the kiddies, and have many activities planned for the week, remember how you feel at the start of the week.  I will check back in with you at the end of the week to see if you are pulling your hair out.

Keeping the kids home for a full week without planned activities  can be fun but after a while, the enthusiasm starts to wane, the house becomes more messy and unruly, the kids are starting to get underfoot, and you have zero free time for yourself.  Your husband is begging for attention, that you are using up on the kids, and you, the momma get nada.

You are last on the list!  Right?

So why do I bring this up?  Twelve weeks of summer is a very long time and costs a lot of money to entertain a house full of kids.  And if in fact, you want to break up the twelve weeks with a short summer program (anywhere from 2 – 5 weeks), you at least make a dent at the long summer.

Just think about how our friends up north are feeling about winter right about now?  The first days of cold and snow were exciting and were ideal for the holidays.  Twelve weeks later?  Miami has had the greatest tourist season this year with people escaping that weather, regardless of the cost.  So…

Make sure you are set and plan ahead.  And please share your thoughts about spring break next week.  Can’t wait to hear!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Role Models at Camp

by Karen Meister

My three boys and I were a real team.  Their dad traveled four to five days per week, bringing home the bacon, while I worked part time and took care of the gold — three delicious young boys.  I took them to just about every ball game, sitting by the sidelines, watching, cheering and wishing for their success.  We ate dinner together almost every night of their growing up years….  red clay in the homemade tv dinners brought to the baseball fields, so we would all cheer on the brother playing, was a memory I will never forget.  Three boys in three years causes a lot of togetherness.   I was good at just about everything they needed….  I could play sports, I could help with homework, I could cook and re-cook (they call me the Queen of Re-Heat!), I could discipline and I could love.

But there was one thing I could not do and did not like to even witness….  I HATED WHEN THEY WRESTLED!!

It made me crazy!  I was sure one of them was going to snap the other one’s neck.  Their shrieks of pain, anger and outrage scared the hell out of me.  But that was boy language for THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!  And as a mom, I just did not get it.  Knowing I could not be all things to these three boys, and yet wanting them desperately to have some good male pushing and shoving, I recruited….

During the summer, they went to sleepaway camp and learned how to be a good “guy” (I could teach them how to be a good person – slight difference).  From the male counselors, they learned not only sports but they also learned how to fall, and wipe off the dirt and bruised egos and get back into the game.  They learned how to stand up for themselves and how to enjoy being a guy.  Camp, with young and well-trained counselors, offered my boys the best opportunity to look up to someone close enough in age to really get where they were in life and how they could become the best they could be.  When a parent tells and even demonstrates to their child the right path, it makes a good dent in their development.  But it gets old fast.  To have a perceived “peer” tell them the direction of their future, it is solid gold.

As written by Michael Thompson, Ph.D., a psychologist, school and camp consultant, and author of Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow,

“Children love to learn, but they get tired of being taught by adults. Children want to learn from older children, and, at a camp that means older campers, C.I.T.’s (counselors in training) and camp counselors. They want to live with them, emulate them, absorb them. In our age-segregated society, camp is the only place in America where an 11-year-old can get the sustained attention of a 19-year-old. In return for the attention of these “older children,” campers will make sacrifices. They will follow all kinds of rules and adhere to all kinds of rituals that they would likely fight at home.  There’s just no contest between parents and counselors. The college students are vastly better looking than we are; they are truly cool and they have dazzling skills. When children need a summer filled with growth and change (not to mention fun and glory), I tell their parents to give camp a chance.”

In my experience, camp was a must have for my kids.  And I am so proud of the wonderful men they have become….

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift for the Summer

by Karen Meister

I really don’t have a one track mind.  But when was the last time you and your spouse were home alone for longer than a weekend?  When was the last time you came home after a long day and without any mixed emotions, without any guilty pull from parenting responsibilities, were able to just leisurely decide last minute to go to the beach for a late night stroll and eat outdoors?  Or just stay home and watch a movie on TV and crack open a bottle of wine and eat bread and cheese for dinner?

As an empty nester, I now have those opportunities and they are marvelous.  But I highly recommend having this opportunity while your children are still at home.  And sending your kids away from home,  for the right summer experiences, even if it is for a short three week stay, is THIS YEAR’S VALENTINE’S GIFT you and your spouse deserve.

So think about the reality.

1.  Your child or teen, placed in the right type of summer program for their needs and your criteria, will grow, develop, learn skills, make new friends, experience new opportunities, become more independent, build character and so much more.

2.  You will have a few weeks to recharge yourself.  Childless time at home gives you opportunities to pay a bit more attention to your personal needs.  We all know when days and lives are busy, the last person on your “take care of” list is yourself.

3.  And of course, with a few weeks of child care removed from your to do list, you and your spouse will have an opportunity to really reconnect.  You can certainly take the time to go away yourselves, but if finances become a bit tighter because the kids are going to camp, “staycations” are fantastic.

Invest in your children and invest in your marriage!!  Sleepaway camp and teen summer experiences are the best gift for the whole family.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

The Camp Network

by Karen Meister

This weekend, I sadly attended the funeral of the man who gave me my first tennis racket.  From humble beginnings, Tom Cundy (click to learn more) ultimately built a huge insurance company which is now run by one of his three sons.  Tom had friends, my Dad being one of them, that felt so special when Tom was around.  My Dad said that when Tom entered the room, the lights would get brighter.  He was an incredible connector, a networker, certainly a salesman, but so damn good at it.  His ability to remember names, genuinely understand their needs and give thoughtful gifts made it very easy to feel good when Tom was around.

Tennis and competition got him his start.  Raised by his mom, his Kentucky high school tennis coach took Tom under his wing and really served as his mentor.  Helping him to understand dedication, drive, and good principals, his coach helped him secure a tennis scholarship to FSU.  Tom moved to South Florida and was launched.

His three boys, who I had not seen in many years, were most certainly trained in the TC handshake, smile and greeting. Their respectfulness, manner, work ethic, and continued networking was clearly passed from one generation to the next.  The coach not only changed one man’s life but many generations following.

When I travel each summer, and attend full summer camps, I am struck by many camps where the “young men and women” are truly being taught the grand principals of sportsmanship, competition, teamwork, dedication, and are naturally networking with a fine group of young people from around the world.

I am often asked for camps where there are kids that are not snobby (or fill in the word I won’t use), but  a camp where kids are “down to earth”.  Within each camp, there is a child or two that comes from a “snooty” home.  But alas, there are many camps that take these children and return them with balance, strength and principals.  As I have said to many who equate affluence with snottiness, the two are not mutually exclusive.  A parent’s financial status has zero to do with a child’s principals.

If you are fortunate enough to choose to send your child to a full summer camp which most certainly comes at a high price, keep in mind that your child will probably devote 6 or 7 years to a network of friends that they will have for life.  They will be trained in the same principals, manners and views and will potentially be the person your son and daughter will call to sell insurance, select as a future business partner, contact to invest in their marketing idea…..

Don’t be blown away by the magnitude of a camp experience on the life of your child.  Embrace it and think about it.  Camp is so much more than a baseball game…

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

Are We Lucky!

by Karen Meister

As they sing, “the weather outside is frightful” but not here in South Florida.  There is nothing greater than being in South Florida during the winter time while the rest of the country is experiencing snow, sleet, ice, and frigid temperatures.  We are the envy of the country.  And the snow birds, both of the aviary and people kind, flock to our territory to enjoy this beautiful weather.  Who can blame them?

The stores get more crowded, the traffic is a little worse, and the restaurants are filled.  But that’s okay.  We can use the business down here and continue to enjoy the glorious outdoors.  But alas we do get toasty down here during the summer months.  So I love to head north during the summer, as I have done almost my entire life.  As a kid, we went north for camp.  One summer, my brother and I decided we would stay home for the summer and become tennis pros.  The result…. heat, rain, and we switched to ping pong pros.  Went to visiting day to see my little sister and ended up staying the rest of the summer.

For so many reasons, sending your kids to camp during the summer is a true gift…. to be offered during the holiday season.  Even if it is for 3 weeks, it breaks up the summer heat so nicely and really lets the kids experience a different environment.  Crisp mornings and the smell of pine trees — that is what I remember.  When I go visit camps during the summer, the smell is what brings me back to my fond memories as a kid.

Turns out the camp directors are fabulous snow birds and many of them are here for the next couple of weeks.  They are meeting families to make sure that their camp is right for the families they are meeting.  My phones have been very busy lately setting up meetings for everyone.  It’s a great time to take care of summer plans for the kids before they get out of school for a couple of weeks.

And after two weeks with the kids at home, you are going to be begging to send them to camp!!!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.

 

7 Skills to Develop – Camp is Great

by Karen Meister

According to the Search Institute, which specializes on research to determine what children need to succeed, young people have  seven developmental needs:

  1.  Physical Activity
  2. Competence and Achievement
  3. Self-Definition
  4. Creative Self-Expression
  5. Positive Social Interactions
  6. Structure and Clear Limits
  7. Meaningful Participation

As parents, we of course want to provide opportunities for our children to tick off each of these important needs to allow our children to grow to be productive members of society.  As always, I so strongly believe in the value of the right summer experience to enhance a child’s development alongside the activities that occur in the home and throughout the school year.  Camp is the perfect partner to dinner at the family table, strong academic support, great after school programming, giving back to the community at large, and the guidelines set by parents and other role models at home.

Why Is It Important To Send Your Child To Camp?

Youth development experts agree that children need a variety of experiences to help them grow into healthy adolescents and adults. In order to develop and internalize these positive behaviors, experiences must produce:

· A sense of industry and competency
Do they develop skills? Do they learn to work for what is important? Are they successful at what they do?

· A feeling of connectedness to others and to society
Do they feel like they “fit”? Do they see a role they can play in their group, family, or community? Do they have friends?

· A belief in their ability to make decisions
Do they learn to make good choices? Do they see the results of their decisions?

· A stable identity
Are they learning what their skills are? Are they receiving positive feedback about themselves?

25% of your child’s life is during the summer.  And in today’s pressure-oriented society, camp provides a non-threatening environment for kids to be active, to develop competence in life skills, to learn about and enhance their own abilities and to benefit from meaningful participation in a community designed just for them.

Camp is for every child, every budget, every family, everywhere.  Invest in your child’s future….

 

 Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  

S’mores Cups

  • 7 whole graham crackers, finely crushed
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 bars milk chocolate candy
  • 12 large marshmallows

You are going to be shocked how easy these are.
Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs using Baker’s Roller®;. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter in Small Batter Bowl

Step 2:
Using Small Scoop, place scant scoop of crumb mixture in each cup of a Mini-Muffin Pan. Press crumbs to form shallow cups with Mini-Tart Shaper. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling

Step 3:
While the crust is in the oven, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.

Step 4:
Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using shears dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are just slightly softened. Remove from oven to a cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely.

Step 5:
Break remaining candy bars and place in (1-cup/250 mL) Prep Bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute-1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 minutes-1 hour or until set.

Yield: 24 cups
Store the cups in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Freezing is not recommended. For a richer chocolate flavor, substitute dark chocolate candy bars for the milk chocolate.

Summer of Freedom and Wonder

by Karen Meister

The history of summer camps reflects the desire of parents to get their children outside of the urban areas during the summer….  to refresh, reflect, and often times, to get them out of harms way.  In these days of ongoing anguish over the occurrences in Boston, our natural inclination is to cling to our kids tightly.  And yet, as history has shown, there comes a time when letting go provides the greatest healing for our children.

I found this article written by Chaim Potok:

“During the first two decades of my life, the thirties and forties, poliomyelitis was a frightful scourge made all the more horrifying in that most of the afflicted were children. Summertime the disease would run rampant through urban populations, striking randomly, at times paralyzing the legs and the respiratory system of its victims. Parents sought desperately to send their sons and daughters out of cities–to summer camp.

Those polio epidemics, as we called them, would begin with the coming of late spring and hang over us like shrouds all through the summer months, and fade only with the end of the summer camp season and the first cold weather of autumn. A train or bus would carry us away from that invisible killer and the streets it menaced, and only when we were out of the city across the bridge or through the tunnel would I feel myself begin to shed the miasma of dread under which we lived. Each summer a dreamlike world presented itself to my innocent eyes: vast green fields and rolling hills and dense stands of trees and the sky an astonishing blue, open, enormous. My family–left behind. My street and neighborhood and city-vanished. The threat of paralysis or death–gone; for the time being, blessedly gone.

And so, as I grew up, chief among the uses of summer camp was the saving of young lives.

The first night in a summer camp: excitement, anxiety, apprehension, disquiet. Strangers in bunk beds. Cold clear night air. Cicadas and frogs: the mysterious pulsing of the earth. Then, finally, the fall into deep sleep. And awake early to the birds and the dawn. Ground mist on the grass and in the woods. Silent ghostly trees. A lowing cow somewhere in the distance. Blades of grass jeweled with crystalline beads of dew glistening in the first rays of the sun. A city child gazing through a cabin window on his first wondrous morning in a summer camp.”

In today’s world, we are saving our children in so many ways by letting go and allowing them to breathe the fresh air, disconnect from the world that bombards them with information 24/7.  Allowing our children to just be children is the greatest gift we can give them.  Holding on tightly, and passing our insecurities to them is not helping them cope.  By letting go, we are teaching them to move on, to live, to enjoy life.  It is critical to select wisely and certainly do your homework and make sure that you are always sending your children to a safe, secure, and well run program.  But do not hold on due to fear…. Let go and invest in their future health, happiness, independence and success.

Let them soar!!!

 

Karen Meisterin partnership with Joanne Paltrowitz, works with the international consulting firm, Camp Experts and Teen Summers.  Feel free to contact Karen for complimentary assistance at Karen@CampExperts.com or 305.931.KiDS or 305.931.5437.  Thousands of families have received confidential and complimentary guidance to select the best camp and teen programs from around the world.  Karen is also the Founder of the LifeMeisters.