What can you fit in the summer 2017?

by Karen Meister

Every summer, we get about 10 1/2 weeks to plan for the kids and the family.  I for one, was never in the “mommy camp” mindset.  Keeping three boys home for an entire summer would crush me.  Sorry!  Not only would I have grayed prematurely, but the cost of entertaining three kids (and often times, friends) would have been overwhelming.  I was always creative with things to do at lower prices, but 10 1/2 weeks is a lot of planning.

For years, I did spend 8 full weeks running a camp… so I guess it was a mommy camp.  Tons of fun, loved it, and got to be the mommy that provided camp to about 1,000 kids and quite a few families.  But I wanted my kids to have the experience of being independent and away from me.  It was time to go to sleep away camp.  There are many decisions to make when selecting just the right camp for your children and family, but the first big decision is FULL SUMMER OR PARTIAL SUMMER.

Which is best for the kids, the family, the finances….  not necessarily in that order!   I have always been a planner.  I usually ask first, selfish or not, what I want out of the summer in between hours at work:

  • a trip, 
  • some alone time (I’m sure everyone wants some of that), 
  • closet cleaning,
  • exploring a new hobby….
You get the idea.  Then of course, how much time do I need for these wonderful things.  Adults only trip?  Maybe 10 days?  Family trip?  5-7 days?  Then build the rest of my “wants” around those major choices.
For me, full summer camping for the kids was always the right choice.  

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.

Full Summer Camping-The Best!

by Karen Meister

Summer lasts for 3 months…  And letting go of your babies for what feels like the whole summer can be scary the first time.  52 days is a typical full summer camp and that is just not happening (says many the first year)…..  So here is what probably goes on once they leave and you have only committed to a half summer.

You will:

  1. Go to work, in the home or out of the home.
  2. No lunches to make, no beds to make, no need to rush the kids out of the house so you can add an extra “fill in the blanks”  (workout routine, cooking class, reading time…).
  3. Several hours a day sitting in front of the computer pouring over the 500 pictures posted by the camp in order to find the one picture of your child (smiling, grumpy, busy, messy)….
  4. Start creating the to-do list of big projects.
  5. Prepare for the grown up trip you plan to take with your significant other.
  6. Enjoy your trip and return to the to-do list that never left the drawing board.
  7. Welcome the kids home from camp or go to visiting day and pick them up.
  8. Do laundry and hear stories.
  9. Go back to work and send the kids to day camp, back to making lunches and rushing them out the door.
  10. Wonder why you thought 26 days was too long….
You now have the kids home for almost 6 more weeks before school starts again.  And the thoughts going through your mind are:
  1. Let’s take a short family vacation to break up the 6 weeks.  Can we afford it?
  2. It is really hot and raining almost every day.  

Camp-sickness Cures


by Karen Meister

Yes, yes.  School is just a few weeks away.  Your child has either arrived home or this information will help you get prepared for their return.

Thankfully, your child had the best summer and can only talk about camp and wishes desperately to return.  Congratulations!!  You did a great job in preparing your child for independence and success at camp.  And now, you get to deal with the aftermath.  Just keep remembering the free time you had all summer, take a deep breath and here are some tips to help the whole family re-enter!!

1.  Work on the photo album.  You spent hours looking at the computer for the perfect picture of your “happy” child.  You have saved them.  Work together to create a keepsake album of the summer of 2016 ie using a program like Snapfish.  With each picture, take the time to hear the story and get a one sentence caption that can be included.  So many good things come from this exercise:

  • you will relive the summer through your child’s stories without them feeling like you are interrogating
  • you will get your child thinking in a structured and goal-specific way which will help ease the transition into school
  • your child will be able to appreciate all the accomplishments now and into the future.

2.  Allow electronics time.  Fresh air was fabulous for the summer, but with television and computers now available, they may appear to be stuck in cyber-space for a while.  Let them.  And yet, if it gets out of hand, there is such power in the code for the router.  Loved the family that had the chores chart  that had to be completed in order to get the wifi password of the day!

Not just a Camp Expert

by Karen Meister

This was a great summer!  I have been fortunate to receive feedback from so many of the families I have sent on summer experiences.  But there were a few special phone calls worth sharing because they represent situations in which many may find themselves.  And these types of calls make my “job” as your Camp Expert so very rewarding.


I spoke to a mom during the summer regarding homesickness.  Her child suffered a couple of years ago, skipped camp the following year, and then went to a new camp this year.  Mom was hoping the change in camp would alleviate the problem, but alas, this was not the case.  Because she was concerned that homesickness would be a problem, arrangements were made to allow phone calls to be made home.  Although she loved the activities, she was unhappy.  Mom agreed that

The goal was to help her daughter overcome her homesickness and successfully enjoy camp.   

- The plan:  I suggested she call the camp director AND the front line counselor and ask them to be part of the team to help her daughter find success at camp.  The camp diverted her away from using phone calls as a way to solve problems and the mom was not going to be available every second to receive a call if in fact, it came in.  The child had a go-to counselor for the special time, special hug or anything she needed during her stay.

The result:  mom called and said that her daughter is happy, healthy, and wants to stay at camp.

The lesson:  feeling homesick is a normal transition for many people (including adults).  

Camp Experts Packing List

Packing-for-Camp To Do’s

by Karen Meister

There is so much going on right now that your head must be spinning.  Awards ceremonies, finals and AP exams!  One month left of school and so many days of summer still unplanned.  Too many procrastinators for sure.  And although there is still space, and we can find it for you, this article is dedicated to the PLANNERS!!  (Listen to the slow clap in the background….)

So if you are one to prepare in advance, here is a simple and organized “to-do list” to prepare for sleepaway camp!   Click here for a great packing spreadsheet.

  • Plan Ahead — The camp will be sending you a list of items that are required, whether they go for 2 weeks or 7.  Beyond shopping for clothing, the early order list will include:  duffle bags and name labels that go on EVERYTHING.  In addition, you need to know when the truck will be picking up the duffles in order to work backwards and deliver the bags to the loading site on time.  If you are sending your kids to a uniform camp, you need to order those items in advance.


  • Review Camp Packing Lists — Individual camps should provide a recommended camp packing list, complete with any required equipment, preferred footwear, etc. Be sure to carefully review what is needed, with special attention to those items that may not be permitted at camp. Before packing your camper’s favorite game system or cell phone, be sure that the camp permits electronic items. Most camps do not allow electronic items in camp or at least out of the cabin.


  • Label Everything — Laundry pens, iron-ons, and press and stick labels will distinguish your camper’s belongings from those of other cabin mates.

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.

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 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.

Top 10 Questions for Camp Director

by Karen Meister

The Camp Directors and Owners are flying around the country meeting and greeting potential campers and families this month.  They are very busy, and ready to present the picture of their camp to you and your children.  But you need to be armed with the right type of questions to make sure that you find the perfect camp for your child and family.

Here are the top 10 questions for you to ask at the meeting:

1. What is the camp’s philosophy and programming structure?

The flavor of a camp starts from the top down.  The philosophy of the director will be the direction of the staff.  What is the philosophy on competition, rules and boundaries, sportsmanship, in bunk relationships, participation when the child is interested or not interested in an activity, and methods of encouragement.  Understand the programming structure:  full choice, partial choice, activities with your bunk, activities with your division, single sex and coed activities, placement by age, placement by ability…..  Understand how your child will spend their days and make sure it fits their personality. Bottom line:  Make sure their philosophy matches your parenting style and your child’s personality and learning style as well.

2. How is staff hired, screened and trained?

First, find out the hierarchy of staff from the top down.  You are meeting the director.  Understand how many people are between your child and the director, the chain of command and communications between the chain.  Then, find out :

Who interviews the staff? What are the criteria for staff members? How are they screened? Are there background checks in place?  How many US vs out of country staff will there be?  

What is your sideline behavior?

by Karen Meister

Are you the coach?  The motivator?  The task master?  The one who brings the goodies?  Do you want everyone to participate?  Do you want the kids to win?  Did you play the sport and reliving or rewriting through your child?

Who are you on the sidelines?  What is your sideline behavior?

I remember when my kids were playing tennis tournaments.  I knew plenty about tennis since I also competed when I was a kid and adult.  I would take them out to practice.  I would watch them during their tennis lessons.  I even offered to coach other kids while I watched my kids play.  I was so excited that they were going to learn “my sport of passion”.  And they were enjoying it too.  During Career Day, when they were in elementary school, they dressed up as tennis pros.  So much fun!!!

But alas, they taught me a lesson that I will never ever forget and am here to share with you.  I was taking my job as “mommy coach” way too seriously.  They showed me the way they were holding their rackets and I started to correct them and determined a new coach had to be found.  What were they teaching my kids???

A western grip and open stance, of course.  I was “old school” and my kids were getting great instruction.  I needed to BUTT OUT!!!!

And I sheepishly apologized for my ways to my 12 and under kids.

Sending your kids to sleepaway camp is a great way to support your kids’ learning and passion while butting out!!  But it is very important to find the right program.  Sleepaway camp will allow them to:


In memory of….

by Karen Meister

Today is September 11th and we all remember where we were and what we were doing on that horrible day.  It is now 14 years later and our lives have changed forever.  I pray for the lives who were lost, the families left behind and wish that the passing of time has helped them to heal.

Traumatic as well as remarkable occurrences through history stay with you forever.  Many of us remember the day Kennedy was shot and how we felt.  Some were too young to remember.   I have vivid memories of July 20th, 1969.   I was at camp.  I am so thankful to my parents for giving me phenomenal summers and memorable experiences.  Here is the story….

After a couple of years, of traditional summer camp experiences, my brother and I went to Don Budge Tennis Camp in Maryland.  It does not exist any longer.  Budge, the first to win the Grand Slam in tennis, ran a real tennis training academy at a beautiful boarding school in Maryland.  I can still see, in my mind, the long tree lined road leading up to the school.  For two summers, 6 weeks at a time, we chased the yellow ball, ran around the grounds with new friends from around the country, and ate tons of oranges in between periods of the day.

Like all camp programs, there are evening activities and ours combined lectures on sportsmanship, point management, tennis strategy and fun things like dances and banquets.  But on July 20th, 1969, we brought our pillows and blankets into the lounge where there was one television for us to all watch.  Remember, 1969 was not the age of big technology.  

What Did You Do This Summer?

by Karen Meister

The kids have been away all summer.  You decided, before they left, that you were going to take care of some things that you had not had time to address during the school year.  You are psyched, have a plan and before you know it, the kids are either back or on their way back in one more week.

Did you accomplish what you wanted?  Learn to salsa with your spouse?  Vacation?  Clean your file cabinet?  Did you accomplish anything?  When the kids come home and ask how YOUR summer was, what are you going to tell them?

The reason I pose this question is that many parents are afraid to give their children the gift of summer independence because they don’t know what they will do with themselves.  They are either afraid that:

  • their purpose will cease to exist,
  • they will actually have to talk with their spouse,
  • they will be expected to accomplish something other than relaxation, or
  • they feel that it is selfish to send the kids away and have nothing that must be taken care of.

If you have not yet sent the kids away, what dreams do you have of accomplishing?  Trust me, a mini episode of empty nest syndrome is a real issue.  When the kids leave for college, there does exist a real sense of depression.  A summer without the children can be unsettling.  More articles to come on how to handle these feelings.  But…

Don’t deny your children the opportunity to learn incredible life skills at sleepaway camp because of your fears.

So what will you tell your kids you did with your summer 2015?

Will they go back to the same camp?

by Karen Meister

Some of the kids are home, and some are expected in a week to ten days.  The summer has flown by and it is already time to get school supplies, uniforms, and finally get to the reading list that was never started.  How did it go so quickly?

End of the summer rituals at camp are special.  Color war, end of summer banquet, awards, the final campfire, the tears as you hop on the bus to go home or to the airport.  A very special time in the life of a child.  These memories and bonds are being formed for life.  The longer a child stays at the same camp, the tighter will be the forever bonds that are formed.  And yet, staying at the same camp for 7 or 8 years is not right for everyone.

Sometimes you have selected a camp based on the child who you have at 8 years old.  The camp will be the same as they get older.  But is that still right for your child?

The camp is competitive, non-competitive, recreational, instructional, too far, too close or whatever it may be to you on a particular day that you choose.  But with one to two years of your child’s growth as well as your experience and understanding of the offering of the camp, you may question whether you have made the right choice.  The question is good; the question should be asked; and there should be no finger pointing of blame.  This is called growth — both by child and parent.

So what are the next steps?  Do the homework.  Welcome your children with opened arms upon their return and ask how their summer was.  

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 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 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. 

They Stayed At Visiting Day

We can’t go home! It’s crazy hat day!

It’s their first summer at camp and you were a nervous wreck.  So you signed them up for a half season.  You get to visiting day and your children have had their family meeting with each other in preparation for your arrival.

They give you big hugs and kisses, accept all the presents.  They show you everything they have done.

Then they burst out in unison….


Now what??  You approach the camp director with this wonderful dilemma and the director says…. of course!  We would really love for them to stay.  They have been the greatest campers and we would love to have them stay for the rest of the summer.

Wow!  What a turn of events!  Things could not have made you happier of course because you were so nervous they would not be able to make it for the whole summer.  In fact, everyone seems to have been just fine.  If you, the parents!!

If this happened to you, let me know.  It happened to me when I was a kid visiting my sister at sleepaway camp.  With only the clothes on my back, I staye for the remainder of the summer.  Clothes were borrowed and sent from home a few days later.

Tell me your stories.  Send pictures and stories to

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 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.  

Three Weeks Till Camp Is Over

by Karen Meister

You finally decided to send your kids to camp for the entire summer.  The first 3 1/2 weeks, you were permanently perched in front of the computer looking for photographic hints as to their mental condition.  You arrived at visiting day and hugged, kissed, cried, cleaned their cabin area and left them with tons of goodies.  You left thinking….

OMG!!  They are going to be home in 3 weeks and I have done nothing with the summer!!!!!!

So, you have 3 weeks left. What will you do?  What advice can you give to parents who say… no, I can’t send my kids away for the whole summer.  I’ll miss them too much?

Can’t wait to hear.  Please share!

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 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.

Want to Tour Camps for 2018 Summers


by Karen Meister

To tour or not to tour?  That is the question.

Your friends in NY, NJ, PA and MA spend the summer before they send their kids to camp visiting a series of pre-selected camps.  They pack up the car with provisions for two days and take the kids to camps within 4 hours of driving.  Which camp will be their future summer home??  It is a natural course of  business.

But alas, most of my readers are from the South and/or South/Central America.  And touring summer camps a year before camp is to start is although possible, quite a large expense.  I tour the camps on your behalf and of course, try to get to know you very very well in order to recommend the camp that will be the perfect fit.

However, if you decide to make the financial investment into touring the year before, it is a terrific idea because you will use all six senses to make your ultimate decision:

1.  TOUCH:  You will touch the baseball fields, feel the cabins, shake some hands and feel hugs from welcoming staff.

2.  SEE:  Once you are prepared to send your child to camp, you will be able to visualize their settings.  You will see their bunks, the grounds, the counselors, the activities.  As good as videos are these days, there is nothing better than seeing the real thing.

3.  HEAR:  Going into the dining hall and hearing the roar of cheering during every meal time may or may not be great for your child.  But you will know for sure when you visit.

4. TASTE:  Of course, if there are any allergies or food concerns, you will see the dining hall in action and be able to taste test the food and the way it is served.

Are they gone yet?

by Karen Meister

The planning and packing are complete.  School has ended and now the waiting begins…. for many.  So many camps and teen programs start right after Father’s Day.

So, what do you do from now until then?  If you planned well, the kids are either doing pre-summer programs like day camps or “mommy” camp or your teens are sleeping in and happy to do a little down time.  You may have even planned a family trip for pre-camp weeks.  I am loving the pictures I see on Facebook of all the activities — from the Islands to Europe to up in Canada to stay-cations — we do live in Paradise!

Now, if you did not plan well for this time, you have extra humans in the house ALL THE TIME!!  If you are both working parents, you may have a caregiver in the house for the full day and I’m sure you are coming home to slight chaos.  If you are at home with the kids, then you are either having a great time meeting other friends and their kids for some low key activities OR you are spending plenty of money on activities to keep the kids busy.

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK!! When are they leaving for camp????

The kids want to leave and you are happy too.  And that is what it is supposed to be like.  You are not getting rid of your kids.  You are exposing them to learning ne wthings, meeting new people and growing independently.

Now, what about you?  What will you be doing this summer with the extra time you have while the kids are away?  Yes, yes, the closet cleaning is always top of the list.  

Saving Camp Memories in Print


by Karen Meister

The often repeated term – “Refresh Refresh” – represents a typical mom who has sent her children to sleepaway camp but just can’t stand the thought of missing that photo of the day!  Every photo speaks volumes as to your daughter’s state of mind, position in the cabin and happiness for the day.  That daily picture tells you whether your son is playing hard, kicking daisies in the outfield, bonding or being left out.

Most likely, your interpretation of that moment is quite different than reality.  So why not make a project with your kids?  Get to know what was really going on when that picture was taken?  Long weekend coming up and it is a great time, while still doing laundry from the duffel bags, to put your memory books together with your kids.

So….  Plan ahead.  The summer is coming.  Know that you will start your project now that school is out!!

All those photos that I know you saw and saved….

1. Put them into a folder labeled Summer  2015.

2.  Make subfolders, if you have multiple children, and want to make separate projects for each folder.

3.  Attempt to put them in order by labeling each picture and put the first one as 001-”whatever name you gave it”.

4.  Open a word document and create a list of the photos number and name.

5.  Sit with the kids and start taking notes, by photo number, of what your kids tell you about what is going on.

6.  Write a forward and date for your book which will serve as your first page to the book.

You can then go to any of the many photo book on line publishing companies from Shutterfly, Snapfish, iPhoto….

Girls Should Not Be Victims

by Karen Meister

As parents, we have spent many years preparing both our sons and daughters for college.  And yet, we send them off assuming  that they will be cared for by an administration at the college campus level.  And you know what they say about those who “assume”.  

Date rape drugs, sexual assault, and men overpowering freshman girls.  It is time to stop pointing the finger at others who have not protected our daughters.  It is time prepare our daughters and ourselves to be aware; to be able to defend ourselves and our loved ones.

The Young Women’s Self-Defense Program is coming to South Florida.  It will be open to current high school and college girls.  It is a 1 -2 week intensive that will be held as a day program in North Dade County, to enable easy access to those in the Dade/Broward County areas.  Packed with amazing tools and techniques for protecting your body, your credit and your identity, the program is a definite investment in your daughter’s safe future.  And moms, you can attend as well.

For more information, contact Karen Meister at  Or you can click here to complete the on line form for more information.


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 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.



Returning Home

by Karen Meister

“Re-entry for grown-ups vs. kids”….

A trip of a lifetime…. saved my pennies, took time (when for business reasons, didn’t have it to take), saw the greatest players in tennis in the most fantastic tennis facility in Melbourne, Australia, beautiful sites, great food, terrific friends, the stressors of home and work life disappeared for a glorious two weeks, and my electronic communication was limited to the hotel room where I had wi-fi…..

And now I’m back.  Exhausted, jet lagged, need to take care of business, back to the routine of daily life, and I have a bit of a cold.

Why do I share these details?  Certainly not to complain… not my nature.  But…

WHAT IS RE-ENTRY LIKE FOR YOUR KIDS AT THE END OF THE SUMMER  And how close to the start of school should you allow them to stay away?

Summer camp, summer trips, summer experiences take your kids on a new adventure.  And they leave the cares, woes, stressors and most importantly, electronics behind.  The longer they get to be away from home and imbedded in their different world, the greater is the long term  impact on their new behaviors and ability to maintain calm and order.

Yes, most certainly re-entry can be challenging.  And the older the child, the longer it does take to adjust to returning home.  Why?

The younger child comes home, has lot to share, needs a really good bath from head to toe and back, and clean sheets for sleeping.  And that’s it!  They may need to brush up on a little reading to get the cobwebs out of their academic portion of their brains.  

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”.

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.