Almost a month has past since I arrived in Valencia, Venezuela. During the first month, my team and I have become familiar with the title “the gringos,” which is the nickname that most of the citizens here refer to us by. We, “the gringos,” have learned a lot about life in a South American county in recent days. Part of the learning that I have received has been through university students, street merchants, and strangers helping me speak more Spanish everyday.

The apartment complex where my team and I live

 

Language misunderstandings are numerous here because it is a rarity to run across citizens of Venezuela who have visited or lived in a country where English is the primary language. One exception to that is a 11 year-old boy named Pablo that my team and I met who speaks perfect English. We bumped into Pablo at the apartment complex, Balcones del Norte, where we live.


After talking to him for a few minutes, he offered to introduce us to his mother, Liliana, who is a Engineering professor at Carabobo University (CU). Liliana received her master’s degree in United States at a University in Florida and she lived there for four years with her family. God was good because one of the challenges that my team and I have right now is building connections with faculty members at the university where we work, which just so happens to be Carabobo University.

Connecting with faculty members is a small part of the work that my team and I have been doing at the university lately. We need faculty support in order to help our organization, Vida Estudiantil (the name for Campus Crusade for Christ in Venezuela), grow. We hope Liliana will help us make better connections to student leaders on campus, help us find a suitable spot for our weekly meeting, and help us gain exposure at CU.

My team and I have been working on other tasks in order for our organization to have a strong presence at the university. We have a group of students that lead the Vida Estudiantil Bible Studies, assist in the event planning for our organization, and help get other students on their campus connected with Christ. This group is called the servant team. My team and the servant team have engaged in two meetings so far and it is thrilling to see the dreams that they have for our organization and their university.


Us with Vida Estudiantil students after giving out questionnaires

My team and I have also been sharing Christ with other students we met on campus. We gave out hundreds of questionnaires to students on campus last week. The questionnaires asked if they were interested in attending a bible study, coming to English Club, or getting to know God more. The reception we received from the students was fantastic, around two hundred students filled out questionnaires and we met many new students who are interested in getting involved in Vida Estudiantil.
While giving out the questionnaires were able to inform students of the first English Club that we were having, which we held last week. On the day of English Club, it was incredible to see all the students who attended and were eager to learn English from fluent speakers. Outside of English Club, I have been put in charge, along with Emily from my team, to plan the different outings that we are taking to the local orphanage. We are are planning on going there as soon as we touch base with the pastor that runs the orphanage.


The University where I work at with Campus Crusade for Christ

All in all, working at la Universidad de Carababo (Carabobo University) is quite different then most colleges in the the United States. One of the days that we were on campus medical students were protesting at the university. As the result of the protest, the road that we needed to use to leave via bus was blocked so we had to find an alternative exit route. This sort of demonstration is typical at the university and we need to flexible to the many curve balls that are thrown our way.
Some of those curve balls have been very interesting, I have realized there are many differences (some humorous) between the way people live here in Venezuela and the way that Americans from the United States live. I would like to share with you some of those differences.
Differences Between the United States and Venezuela


The alligator at the University's pond

1. United States: You might find some ducks, geese, or–if you are lucky– a frog at a university’s local lagoon. Venezuela: The University of Carabobo has live alligators in their pond that seem quite hungry.
2. United States: University students have to pay for all of their tuition unless they have financial aid or scholarships. Venezuela: With their socialistic government, students do not have to pay for going to a state university.
3. United States: Playgrounds exist in local communities for children to play at. Venezuela: Venezuela has what my team and I affectionately call “bro gyms,” which are outside work-out centers for people to do push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches.
4. United States: If there is a stray dog in the United States, usually within hours the dog is picked up by animal control. Venezuela: There are stray dogs everywhere, especially at the university, stray dogs linger around students and eat the food they leave behind.
5. United States: In restrooms there is always hand soap by the sinks. Venezuela: NO bathroom has hand soap and Purrell is your best friend.
6. United States: When people want to draw your attention to something they point with their fingers. Venezuela: Venezuelans use their lips to point by kissing in the direction of what they want you to look at.


One of the students, Douglas, me and his mother at our welcome party

7. United States: Gasoline prices fluctuate but they are almost always over $2.00 a gallon. Venezuela: It costs less then a dollar to fill up an entire tank of gas (this is because Venezuela is the third biggest exporter of oil, it is humorous because here it costs more for drinking water than gasoline).
8. United States: Most college-aged students do not attend a social get-together during the night with their parents. Venezuela: College-aged students will bring their parents to parties and other social functions, this is completely normal and in some cases the parent shows up at the social occasion before their child gets there.
Despite all these differences, Venezuela has a lot to fall in love with. When the seven members of my team cram into a bus that has people hanging outside the door, loud Reggaeton music blasting inside, and the bus assertively weaving through three lanes of traffic it hard not to feel alive. Also the people here are so warm and overjoyed to have us here, we experience a lot of warmth and affection. Within talking to someone for a half an hour, the other person will treat you like they have known you for your entire life. Living life in Venezuela, it is near impossible to escape the feeling like you are part of one big family.

Summer camp can be a bridge to the world over which a child can carry the seeds of attributes already planted at home and in school. The right summer camp can be the ideal first step away from home and family, because a good summer camp is still a safe environment for learning independence. Summer camp is a place for fun and the joy and passion of growth free from the stress of modern fascination for achievement...
Camp is a respite from the technology that can rule a child’s life and distract from human attributes rather than being a tool to implement them. A camper can discover and develop attributes like these over the course of every summer and have a great deal of fun doing so.
 

Affirmation:  Sometimes one simple word of affirmation can change an entire life. Recognition from outside can turn into recognition from the inside. also known as confidence.
Art: Everyone who wants to create… can. The world just needs more people who want to, and a child who is free from the pressure of competitive achievement is free to be creative.
Challenge:  Encourage a child to dream big dreams. In turn, they will accomplish more than they thought possible… and probably even more than you thought possible.
Compassion/Justice:  Life isn’t fair. It never will be – there are just too many variables. But when a wrong has been committed or a playing field can be leveled, we want our children to be active in helping to level it.
Contentment:  The need for more material things can be contagious. Therefore, one of the greatest gifts we can give children is a genuinely content appreciation for with what they have… leaving them to find out who they are.
Curiosity:  Children need a safe place outside the home to ask questions about who, what, where, how, why, and why not. “Stop asking so many questions” are words that need never be heard.
Determination: One of the greatest determining factors of success is the exercise of will. Children flourish when they are given independent opportunities to learn how to find the source of determination within themselves and exercise that determination.
Discipline: Discipline is really a form of concentration learned from the ground up, in arenas that include appropriate behaviors, how to get along with others, how to get results, and how to achieve dreams. Properly encouraged, self discipline can come to be developed into an self sustaining habit.
Encouragement: Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. The simple words that a counselor or mentor might choose to speak can offer encouragement and create positive thoughts for a child to build from.  
Finding Beauty:  Beauty surrounds us. A natural environment can inspire our children find beauty in everything they see and in everyone they meet there.
Generosity: The experience of generosity is a great way for a child to learn it. Generosity is a consistent quality of heart regardless of whether the medium that reflects it is time, energy or material things.
Honesty/Integrity:  Children who learn the value and importance of honesty at a young age have a far greater opportunity to become honest adults. And honest adults who deal truthfully with others tend to feel better about themselves, enjoy their lives more, and sleep better at night.
Hope: Hope means knowing that things will get better and improve and believing it. Hope is the source of strength, endurance, and resolve. And in the desperately difficult times of life, it calls us to press onward.
Imagination: If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that life is changing faster and faster with every passing day. The world of tomorrow will look nothing like the world today. And the people with imagination are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.
Intentionality: This word means the habit of pausing to find the intent behind each of the ongoing choices that comprise our lives. It is the moment of reflection toward one’s own source: slow down, consider who you are, your environment, where you are going and how to get there.  
Lifelong Learning: A passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please teachers. It begins in the home and school but can be splendidly expanded at summer camp. A camper has fun being safely exposed, asking questions, analyzing the answers that expose more and having more fun doing it all again. In other words, learn to love learning itself.
Meals Together: Meals together provide an unparalleled opportunity for relationships to grow, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else.
Nature: Children who learn to appreciate the world around them take care of the world around them.
Opportunity: Kids need opportunities to experience new things so they can find out what they enjoy and what they are good at. 
Optimism: Pessimists don’t change the world. Optimists do.
Pride: Celebrate the little things in life. After all, it is the little accomplishments in life that become the big accomplishments. Pride in the process is as important as pride in the results.
Room to make mistakes: Kids are kids. That’s what makes them so much fun… and so desperately in need of our patience. We need to give them room to experiment, explore, and make mistakes early, when consequences are so much less severe.
Self-Esteem: People who learn to value themselves are more likely to have self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. As a result, they are more likely to become adults who respect their own values and stick to them… even when no one else does.
Sense of Humor: We need to provoke laughter with children and laugh with them everyday… for our sake and theirs.
Spirituality: Faith elevates our view of the universe, our world, and our lives. We would be wise to instill into our kids that they are more than just flesh and blood taking up space. They are also made of mind, heart, soul, and will. And decisions in their life should be based on more than just what everyone else with flesh and blood is doing.
Stability: A stable environment becomes the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. Just as they need to know their place in the family, children need an opportunity to learn how to make their place amongst their peers. Children benefit from having a safe place to learn how stability is made and maintained outside the home.  
Time: Time is the only real currency.Children can learn to believe to respect the value of time long before they come to realize how quickly it can pass.
Undivided Attention: There is no substitute for undivided attention, whether it comes from a parent, a teacher, a mentor, or a camp counselor.
Uniqueness: What makes us different is what makes us special. Uniqueness should not be hidden. It should be proudly displayed for the world to see, appreciate, and enjoy.
A Welcoming Place: To know that you are always welcome in a place is among the sweetest and most life-giving assurances in the world.
 
Along with lifelong friendships, the recognition and development of these attributes is the lasting gift of a child’s experience at summer camp. A 
kids summer camp is the most fun possible way a child gets to experience what it is to be human.
Summer camp is usually thought of in terms of all the traditional activities and facilities that come to our mind, and those elements are indeed part of what makes the experience memorable. But the true essence of the experience of summer camp is human connection. The attributes in this article are qualities that are rediscovered and expanded by interaction with counselors, staff and other campers in a natural setting. The 
best summer camps are carefully staffed and creatively programmed by directors with this concept in mind.  As one director put it, “Our hope is to give the world better people one camper at a time.”
Summer camp can be a bridge to the world over which a child can carry the seeds of attributes already planted at home and in school. The right summer camp can be the ideal first step away from home and family, because a good summer camp is still a safe environment for learning independence. Summer camp is a place for fun and the joy and passion of growth free from the stress of modern fascination for achievement. Camp is a respite from the technology that can rule a child’s life and distract from human attributes rather than being a tool to implement them. A camper can discover and develop attributes like these over the course of every summer and have a great deal of fun doing so.........

Affirmation:  Sometimes one simple word of affirmation can change an entire life. Recognition from outside can turn into recognition from the inside. also known as confidence.
Art: Everyone who wants to create… can. The world just needs more people who want to, and a child who is free from the pressure of competitive achievement is free to be creative.
Challenge:  Encourage a child to dream big dreams. In turn, they will accomplish more than they thought possible… and probably even more than you thought possible.
Compassion/Justice:  Life isn’t fair. It never will be – there are just too many variables. But when a wrong has been committed or a playing field can be leveled, we want our children to be active in helping to level it.
Contentment:  The need for more material things can be contagious. Therefore, one of the greatest gifts we can give children is a genuinely content appreciation for with what they have… leaving them to find out who they are.
Curiosity:  Children need a safe place outside the home to ask questions about who, what, where, how, why, and why not. “Stop asking so many questions” are words that need never be heard.
Determination: One of the greatest determining factors of success is the exercise of will. Children flourish when they are given independent opportunities to learn how to find the source of determination within themselves and exercise that determination.
Discipline: Discipline is really a form of concentration learned from the ground up, in arenas that include appropriate behaviors, how to get along with others, how to get results, and how to achieve dreams. Properly encouraged, self discipline can come to be developed into an self sustaining habit.
Encouragement: Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. The simple words that a counselor or mentor might choose to speak can offer encouragement and create positive thoughts for a child to build from.  
Finding Beauty:  Beauty surrounds us. A natural environment can inspire our children find beauty in everything they see and in everyone they meet there.
Generosity: The experience of generosity is a great way for a child to learn it. Generosity is a consistent quality of heart regardless of whether the medium that reflects it is time, energy or material things.
Honesty/Integrity:  Children who learn the value and importance of honesty at a young age have a far greater opportunity to become honest adults. And honest adults who deal truthfully with others tend to feel better about themselves, enjoy their lives more, and sleep better at night.
Hope: Hope means knowing that things will get better and improve and believing it. Hope is the source of strength, endurance, and resolve. And in the desperately difficult times of life, it calls us to press onward.
Imagination: If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that life is changing faster and faster with every passing day. The world of tomorrow will look nothing like the world today. And the people with imagination are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.
Intentionality: This word means the habit of pausing to find the intent behind each of the ongoing choices that comprise our lives. It is the moment of reflection toward one’s own source: slow down, consider who you are, your environment, where you are going and how to get there.  
Lifelong Learning: A passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please teachers. It begins in the home and school but can be splendidly expanded at summer camp. A camper has fun being safely exposed, asking questions, analyzing the answers that expose more and having more fun doing it all again. In other words, learn to love learning itself.
Meals Together: Meals together provide an unparalleled opportunity for relationships to grow, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else.
Nature: Children who learn to appreciate the world around them take care of the world around them.
Opportunity: Kids need opportunities to experience new things so they can find out what they enjoy and what they are good at. 
Optimism: Pessimists don’t change the world. Optimists do.
Pride: Celebrate the little things in life. After all, it is the little accomplishments in life that become the big accomplishments. Pride in the process is as important as pride in the results.
Room to make mistakes: Kids are kids. That’s what makes them so much fun… and so desperately in need of our patience. We need to give them room to experiment, explore, and make mistakes early, when consequences are so much less severe.
Self-Esteem: People who learn to value themselves are more likely to have self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. As a result, they are more likely to become adults who respect their own values and stick to them… even when no one else does.
Sense of Humor: We need to provoke laughter with children and laugh with them everyday… for our sake and theirs.
Spirituality: Faith elevates our view of the universe, our world, and our lives. We would be wise to instill into our kids that they are more than just flesh and blood taking up space. They are also made of mind, heart, soul, and will. And decisions in their life should be based on more than just what everyone else with flesh and blood is doing.
Stability: A stable environment becomes the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. Just as they need to know their place in the family, children need an opportunity to learn how to make their place amongst their peers. Children benefit from having a safe place to learn how stability is made and maintained outside the home.  
Time: Time is the only real currency.Children can learn to believe to respect the value of time long before they come to realize how quickly it can pass.
Undivided Attention: There is no substitute for undivided attention, whether it comes from a parent, a teacher, a mentor, or a camp counselor.
Uniqueness: What makes us different is what makes us special. Uniqueness should not be hidden. It should be proudly displayed for the world to see, appreciate, and enjoy.
A Welcoming Place: To know that you are always welcome in a place is among the sweetest and most life-giving assurances in the world.
Along with lifelong friendships, the recognition and development of these attributes is the lasting gift of a child’s experience at summer camp. A summer at camp is the most fun possible way a child gets to experience what it is to be human.
Summer camp is usually thought of in terms of all the traditional activities and facilities that come to our mind, and those elements are indeed part of what makes the experience memorable. But the true essence of the experience of summer camp is human connection. The attributes in this article are qualities that are rediscovered and expanded by interaction with counselors, staff and other campers in a natural setting. The best summer camps are carefully staffed and creatively programmed by directors with this concept in mind.  As one director put it, “Our hope is to give the world better people one camper at a time.”
Summer camp selection is no easy task. If you and your child have talked and decided that he or she is ready for summer camp, there is a place to begin. A free website called www.summercampadvice.com has been prepared by experienced directors of a long established camp to help you choose the best one for your child. This article will offer you some basic guidelines that can help you in making a well-informed decision.
Choose a camp taking into account the requirements and desires of your youngster beyond your own preferences. Include your child in the search process and have an ongoing discussion about the important things that you and your kid want from joining the camp. A child is going to want to do what he or she thinks will be fun, and that really IS important. As a parent do you want your child to enhance particular skills, learn independence in a safe environment, or develop self-confidence? Together, take note of his or her special interests and find out if your child has any intellectual, social or physical issues that require consideration. Summer camp populations may be all girls, all boys, brother and sister or co-ed. At co-ed summer camps, boys and girls do participate in many supervised camp activities together. They share use of amenities such as dining halls and swimming and waterfront areas. Brother and sister camps provide structured opportunities for social interaction but most of the time facilities and activities are separate for girls and boys. Private summer camps are more costly than nonprofit summer camps, but price does not always equate with the quality of a young camper's experience at that camp. It is best to anticipate extra expenses involved in choosing and going to summer camp such as extra canoe trip or activity charges and the cost of your visit to the camp. When you contact a camp you are considering, the director should be happy to give you complete information about the true cost of that camp. Keep in mind as you discuss this or other topics that the attitude of a camp's directors and staff will have more bearing on your child's experience than the cost. Usually the duration of a camp can range from one to eight weeks. Consider your child's willingness to be away from home, for days or overnight. Ongoing discussion with your child will be helpful, especially for balancing fear with anticipation and excitement. A first time camper will often face an adjustment and that may be temporarily challenging for some kids. Find out how the camp accommodates and deals with a first time camper's homesickness and the initial adjustment to camp life. A conversation about this area with a camp's director can also show you if the attitude so important to a good experience of camp is going to be there when your child arrives. Your child may want to join a camp with friends. Although it is natural for a youngster to want to go to camp with his or her friends, there are instances when there is value in time away from accustomed peer pressures. When it comes to learning independence and developing self confidence there can be an advantage to starting fresh in an unfamiliar environment. Children usually have restrictions and achievement pressures when in school and at home, but at summer camp they are free to try different things with new friends. With the help of knowledgeable staff and counselors in the camp, campers of all ages can safely find out what works best and what doesn't in terms of interpersonal relationships. You can find out more about how to bring these opportunities to your child's life by visiting www.summercampadvice.com.
As parents we love our children and we want the best for them. Yet, what is our goal? As much as we love them its to get our kids out of the house. Yes, we need to launch them into the real world. In order to make this happen successfully we need to raise independent, self-sufficient human beings. Accomplishing this goal requires prent to always be thinking. What is the best route to take between helpless...
Independence is best built gradually. We want to build such skills as making sound decisions, caring for one's own needs, taking action to meet goals, being responsible for one's own actions, and seeking out the information we need to guide choices. None of these things will develop magically or over night, however. Kids need a range of experiences, from simple to complex, in order to learn these skills. Let's take a quick look at each of these areas.
Wise decisions begin with baby steps. We wouldn't dream of turning our young adults loose in a car with out training and supervised practice. So why would we not do the same in decision making. Small children need to be allowed to make decisions as soon as they are capable of choosing between two things. This can with guided choices "Do you want your striped pants or your green pants today?" or "It's your turn to choose what veggies do you want for supper." Now here is the important part. What do you say after the decision? Do you process the results from their decisions? Point out the advantages and disadvantages of each choice, and then allow your child to choose. Be sure you are intentional and only suggest acceptable choices sot here is no chance of making a wrong choice. As kids grow open the door to making choices.
Children need practice and experience to make good decisions. After all, humans tend to learn more when things don't go the way we expected. A common error for parents is not to give children practice in making mistakes. Often because it is quicker or easier. Yet, we need to give our children responsibilities. Spent time to teach your children how to do personal and household tasks. Kids will try very hard to learn these skills. Plus, when the child does finally become proficient, you will have eased your own burden in many ways and they feel satisfied in their accomplishments.
Children's Summer Camp is a wonderful place that challenges your child to become responsible for their stuff and actions. At camp children are supervised but not coddled so clothes left on the floor need to be picked up, their is no maid service. Parents often tell us that the true benefit of summer camp is the increased self confidence and initiative to get chores done around the house.
Findi aSummer Camp at SummerCampAdvice.com
Swift Nature Camp is a Overnight Summer Camp for boys and girls ages 6-15. We blend Traditional camp activities with that of a Science Camp.
infancy and independent adulthood?
Jeff Liken has spent 25 years working with teens and young adults, helping them navigate the perils of the adolescent stage of life to grow into confident, centered adults. He is also a summer camp consultant. Here are his thoughts for Bullying Awareness Month.
The most common trait we hear attributed to those who bully is that they lack empathy. They do not "feel the pain" of the victims as they inflict pain upon them, freeing them to act without guilt, shame or hesitation.  Unbound by a social, emotional and/or moral consciousness, they can comfortably and easily do things that the rest of us would find unthinkable.

In my experience, few bullies are sociopaths. There is actually a spectrum of bullies in that regard, only a few whom fit that category, and many of them suffer from the "I am special so the rules don't apply to me" complex, not really from being a sociopath.

Most of those who do it though are not that extreme. The majority have developed a complex, sophisticated denial mechanism  that allows them to hurt others, and be okay with it, reinforced by a story they tell themselves that justifies behaving this way. With little prodding, they feel deeply for what they are doing and easily reveal it - at least in the early stages of doing it.Being A Teen Today Is Insanely Stressful

Youth culture today is far more complex and high-pressured than it was when we were our kid's age. Most teens today have a sense of scarcity of resources and opportunities and their life feels like constant competition.

The school demands alone create more intellectual stress than most adults could easily manage as adults. The social pressures though, and the absurd standards that modern youth peer culture  sets for one another, are far worse than most parents truly understand.

Many teens live with a sense that they are perpetually just one wrong choice or comment away from failure or rejection. Beyond worrying about school failure ("you won't get into a  good college and thus your life is doomed" which is flawed thinking that is endlessly perpetuated by adults), their bigger fear comes in the form of worrying about being abandoned by the peer group, the modern equivalent of being kicked out of the tribe - especially because they spend the majority of their lives now in the tribe of their peers.

Consider this:• In 1950 youth between the ages of 12 to 18, spent 60 hours a week with adults and only 12 alone with peers.
• In 2010, this age group spends 60 hours a week in contact with peers, and less than 12 with adults.
• In "wired" homes in America, parents spend on average 4 minutes a day of uninterrupted time with their kids.


Today's kids are influenced mostly by machines (6 hours a day of screen time is the national average for today's teens), institutions (kids typically outnumber adults 24 to 1 in schools and spend 7 hours a day there 170 days a year) and countless hours a day being influenced by peers.

For many of them, being accepted by peer culture, having status in peer culture or proving themselves invincible to peer culture, becomes their highest concern and greatest source of stress.

The fear of being kicked out of the peer tribe that dominates their experience of the world, essentially equates at a deep psychological level, to certain-death. It’s no wonder it consumes so much of their time and energy.  (Have you ever heard your teen daughter say, "If any one finds out about this, I'll die?" In their inner world, it is not just a cliché.)

In a survival situation all morality goes out the window. We'd do almost anything to survive. If not, you'd die.

Many of these bullies have a story they are living that links back to this.•If they were abused themselves, • they bully others to maintain their own status and value• it is to establish their dominance •it is to demonstrate to the "in-crowd" that they are funny and ruthless

I can go on and on, but most causes of bullying behavior comes back to the same thing:They are doing it and are okay with doing it because it is what they feel they need to do to survive, in a stressful, competitive world.

Until this changes, there is little adults can do besides continue to run around and clean up the messes. All the training in the world on recognizing the signs of bullying won't stop bullies from bullying.

Today's kids need to have the power taken back  from popular culture, especially popular peer culture. The power these have over them trumps the power most parents have to influence their kids once they hit the middle school years.

This is not "just the way it is", nor is it indicative of a "normal stage of development". This is a modern creation, or perhaps better said, the pervasive by-product of the modern way of life that places so much emphasis on the things that matter least - and that demands parents be so consumed with things outside of home that they have little time or energy left to address what should be their primary concern: things going on inside their kids' lives.

It takes more than 4 minutes a day to raise kids to be morally and socially conscious people. It takes more than 12 hours a week of contact and attention from adults to influence kids to choose the values of mature adult culture over the values of popular adolescent culture.  It takes more than just parents teaching kids about right and wrong, for kids to adopt these same beliefs.

I've built my life's work on becoming one of these critically needed adults in the lives of youth during their adolescent years. I hear their stories, know their struggles and "get" how complex and pressure filled their lives are. .. and how much time, repetition and time and repetition it takes to help them internalize a secure self-directed value set that frees them from peer approval dependence.

They need many more people doing what I do, teaching them real life skills, helping them construct their beliefs and values independent of the negative influences of society, giving them the reassurance that they matter, their lives count and they will succeed if they choose to live a life of uncompromising commitment towards the things that really matter. .. and giving them the real life experiences now that prove to them that they already have what it takes, far more so than they realize. We all needed it at their age, today more than ever.
Jeffrey Leiken, MA (leiken.com)
Summer camp can be a bridge to the world over which a child can carry the seeds of attributes already planted at home and in school. The right summer camp can be the ideal first step away from home and family, because a good summer camp is still a safe environment for learning independence. Summer camp is a place for fun and the joy and passion of growth free from the stress of modern fascination for achievement...
Camp is a respite from the technology that can rule a child’s life and distract from human attributes rather than being a tool to implement them. A camper can discover and develop attributes like these over the course of every summer and have a great deal of fun doing so.
 

Affirmation:  Sometimes one simple word of affirmation can change an entire life. Recognition from outside can turn into recognition from the inside. also known as confidence.
Art: Everyone who wants to create… can. The world just needs more people who want to, and a child who is free from the pressure of competitive achievement is free to be creative.
Challenge:  Encourage a child to dream big dreams. In turn, they will accomplish more than they thought possible… and probably even more than you thought possible.
Compassion/Justice:  Life isn’t fair. It never will be – there are just too many variables. But when a wrong has been committed or a playing field can be leveled, we want our children to be active in helping to level it.
Contentment:  The need for more material things can be contagious. Therefore, one of the greatest gifts we can give children is a genuinely content appreciation for with what they have… leaving them to find out who they are.
Curiosity:  Children need a safe place outside the home to ask questions about who, what, where, how, why, and why not. “Stop asking so many questions” are words that need never be heard.
Determination: One of the greatest determining factors of success is the exercise of will. Children flourish when they are given independent opportunities to learn how to find the source of determination within themselves and exercise that determination.
Discipline: Discipline is really a form of concentration learned from the ground up, in arenas that include appropriate behaviors, how to get along with others, how to get results, and how to achieve dreams. Properly encouraged, self discipline can come to be developed into an self sustaining habit.
Encouragement: Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. The simple words that a counselor or mentor might choose to speak can offer encouragement and create positive thoughts for a child to build from.  
Finding Beauty:  Beauty surrounds us. A natural environment can inspire our children find beauty in everything they see and in everyone they meet there.
Generosity: The experience of generosity is a great way for a child to learn it. Generosity is a consistent quality of heart regardless of whether the medium that reflects it is time, energy or material things.
Honesty/Integrity:  Children who learn the value and importance of honesty at a young age have a far greater opportunity to become honest adults. And honest adults who deal truthfully with others tend to feel better about themselves, enjoy their lives more, and sleep better at night.
Hope: Hope means knowing that things will get better and improve and believing it. Hope is the source of strength, endurance, and resolve. And in the desperately difficult times of life, it calls us to press onward.
Imagination: If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that life is changing faster and faster with every passing day. The world of tomorrow will look nothing like the world today. And the people with imagination are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.
Intentionality: This word means the habit of pausing to find the intent behind each of the ongoing choices that comprise our lives. It is the moment of reflection toward one’s own source: slow down, consider who you are, your environment, where you are going and how to get there.  
Lifelong Learning: A passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please teachers. It begins in the home and school but can be splendidly expanded at summer camp. A camper has fun being safely exposed, asking questions, analyzing the answers that expose more and having more fun doing it all again. In other words, learn to love learning itself.
Meals Together: Meals together provide an unparalleled opportunity for relationships to grow, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else.
Nature: Children who learn to appreciate the world around them take care of the world around them.
Opportunity: Kids need opportunities to experience new things so they can find out what they enjoy and what they are good at. 
Optimism: Pessimists don’t change the world. Optimists do.
Pride: Celebrate the little things in life. After all, it is the little accomplishments in life that become the big accomplishments. Pride in the process is as important as pride in the results.
Room to make mistakes: Kids are kids. That’s what makes them so much fun… and so desperately in need of our patience. We need to give them room to experiment, explore, and make mistakes early, when consequences are so much less severe.
Self-Esteem: People who learn to value themselves are more likely to have self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. As a result, they are more likely to become adults who respect their own values and stick to them… even when no one else does.
Sense of Humor: We need to provoke laughter with children and laugh with them everyday… for our sake and theirs.
Spirituality: Faith elevates our view of the universe, our world, and our lives. We would be wise to instill into our kids that they are more than just flesh and blood taking up space. They are also made of mind, heart, soul, and will. And decisions in their life should be based on more than just what everyone else with flesh and blood is doing.
Stability: A stable environment becomes the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. Just as they need to know their place in the family, children need an opportunity to learn how to make their place amongst their peers. Children benefit from having a safe place to learn how stability is made and maintained outside the home.  
Time: Time is the only real currency.Children can learn to believe to respect the value of time long before they come to realize how quickly it can pass.
Undivided Attention: There is no substitute for undivided attention, whether it comes from a parent, a teacher, a mentor, or a camp counselor.
Uniqueness: What makes us different is what makes us special. Uniqueness should not be hidden. It should be proudly displayed for the world to see, appreciate, and enjoy.
A Welcoming Place: To know that you are always welcome in a place is among the sweetest and most life-giving assurances in the world.
 
Along with lifelong friendships, the recognition and development of these attributes is the lasting gift of a child’s experience at summer camp. A 
kids summer camp is the most fun possible way a child gets to experience what it is to be human.
Summer camp is usually thought of in terms of all the traditional activities and facilities that come to our mind, and those elements are indeed part of what makes the experience memorable. But the true essence of the experience of summer camp is human connection. The attributes in this article are qualities that are rediscovered and expanded by interaction with counselors, staff and other campers in a natural setting. The 
best summer camps are carefully staffed and creatively programmed by directors with this concept in mind.  As one director put it, “Our hope is to give the world better people one camper at a time.”
Summer camp can be a bridge to the world over which a child can carry the seeds of attributes already planted at home and in school. The right summer camp can be the ideal first step away from home and family, because a good summer camp is still a safe environment for learning independence. Summer camp is a place for fun and the joy and passion of growth free from the stress of modern fascination for achievement. Camp is a respite from the technology that can rule a child’s life and distract from human attributes rather than being a tool to implement them. A camper can discover and develop attributes like these over the course of every summer and have a great deal of fun doing so...
Affirmation:  Sometimes one simple word of affirmation can change an entire life. Recognition from outside can turn into recognition from the inside. also known as confidence.
Art: Everyone who wants to create… can. The world just needs more people who want to, and a child who is free from the pressure of competitive achievement is free to be creative.
Challenge:  Encourage a child to dream big dreams. In turn, they will accomplish more than they thought possible… and probably even more than you thought possible.
Compassion/Justice:  Life isn’t fair. It never will be – there are just too many variables. But when a wrong has been committed or a playing field can be leveled, we want our children to be active in helping to level it.
Contentment:  The need for more material things can be contagious. Therefore, one of the greatest gifts we can give children is a genuinely content appreciation for with what they have… leaving them to find out who they are.
Curiosity:  Children need a safe place outside the home to ask questions about who, what, where, how, why, and why not. “Stop asking so many questions” are words that need never be heard.
Determination: One of the greatest determining factors of success is the exercise of will. Children flourish when they are given independent opportunities to learn how to find the source of determination within themselves and exercise that determination.
Discipline: Discipline is really a form of concentration learned from the ground up, in arenas that include appropriate behaviors, how to get along with others, how to get results, and how to achieve dreams. Properly encouraged, self discipline can come to be developed into an self sustaining habit.
Encouragement: Words are powerful. They can create or they can destroy. The simple words that a counselor or mentor might choose to speak can offer encouragement and create positive thoughts for a child to build from.  
Finding Beauty:  Beauty surrounds us. A natural environment can inspire our children find beauty in everything they see and in everyone they meet there.
Generosity: The experience of generosity is a great way for a child to learn it. Generosity is a consistent quality of heart regardless of whether the medium that reflects it is time, energy or material things.
Honesty/Integrity:  Children who learn the value and importance of honesty at a young age have a far greater opportunity to become honest adults. And honest adults who deal truthfully with others tend to feel better about themselves, enjoy their lives more, and sleep better at night.
Hope: Hope means knowing that things will get better and improve and believing it. Hope is the source of strength, endurance, and resolve. And in the desperately difficult times of life, it calls us to press onward.
Imagination: If we’ve learned anything in recent years, it’s that life is changing faster and faster with every passing day. The world of tomorrow will look nothing like the world today. And the people with imagination are the ones not just living it, they are creating it.
Intentionality: This word means the habit of pausing to find the intent behind each of the ongoing choices that comprise our lives. It is the moment of reflection toward one’s own source: slow down, consider who you are, your environment, where you are going and how to get there.  
Lifelong Learning: A passion for learning is different from just studying to earn a grade or please teachers. It begins in the home and school but can be splendidly expanded at summer camp. A camper has fun being safely exposed, asking questions, analyzing the answers that expose more and having more fun doing it all again. In other words, learn to love learning itself.
Meals Together: Meals together provide an unparalleled opportunity for relationships to grow, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else.
Nature: Children who learn to appreciate the world around them take care of the world around them.
Opportunity: Kids need opportunities to experience new things so they can find out what they enjoy and what they are good at. 
Optimism: Pessimists don’t change the world. Optimists do.
Pride: Celebrate the little things in life. After all, it is the little accomplishments in life that become the big accomplishments. Pride in the process is as important as pride in the results.
Room to make mistakes: Kids are kids. That’s what makes them so much fun… and so desperately in need of our patience. We need to give them room to experiment, explore, and make mistakes early, when consequences are so much less severe.
Self-Esteem: People who learn to value themselves are more likely to have self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. As a result, they are more likely to become adults who respect their own values and stick to them… even when no one else does.
Sense of Humor: We need to provoke laughter with children and laugh with them everyday… for our sake and theirs.
Spirituality: Faith elevates our view of the universe, our world, and our lives. We would be wise to instill into our kids that they are more than just flesh and blood taking up space. They are also made of mind, heart, soul, and will. And decisions in their life should be based on more than just what everyone else with flesh and blood is doing.
Stability: A stable environment becomes the foundation on which children build the rest of their lives. Just as they need to know their place in the family, children need an opportunity to learn how to make their place amongst their peers. Children benefit from having a safe place to learn how stability is made and maintained outside the home.  
Time: Time is the only real currency.Children can learn to believe to respect the value of time long before they come to realize how quickly it can pass.
Undivided Attention: There is no substitute for undivided attention, whether it comes from a parent, a teacher, a mentor, or a camp counselor.
Uniqueness: What makes us different is what makes us special. Uniqueness should not be hidden. It should be proudly displayed for the world to see, appreciate, and enjoy.
A Welcoming Place: To know that you are always welcome in a place is among the sweetest and most life-giving assurances in the world.
Along with lifelong friendships, the recognition and development of these attributes is the lasting gift of a child’s experience at summer camp. A summer at camp is the most fun possible way a child gets to experience what it is to be human.
Summer camp is usually thought of in terms of all the traditional activities and facilities that come to our mind, and those elements are indeed part of what makes the experience memorable. But the true essence of the experience of summer camp is human connection. The attributes in this article are qualities that are rediscovered and expanded by interaction with counselors, staff and other campers in a natural setting. The best summer camps are carefully staffed and creatively programmed by directors with this concept in mind.  As one director put it, “Our hope is to give the world better people one camper at a time.”
Summer camp selection is no easy task. If you and your child have talked and decided that he or she is ready for summer camp, there is a place to begin. A free website called www.summercampadvice.com has been prepared by experienced directors of a long established camp to help you choose the best one for your child. This article will offer you some basic guidelines that can help you in making a well-informed decision.
Choose a camp taking into account the requirements and desires of your youngster beyond your own preferences. Include your child in the search process and have an ongoing discussion about the important things that you and your kid want from joining the camp. A child is going to want to do what he or she thinks will be fun, and that really IS important. As a parent do you want your child to enhance particular skills, learn independence in a safe environment, or develop self-confidence? Together, take note of his or her special interests and find out if your child has any intellectual, social or physical issues that require consideration. Summer camp populations may be all girls, all boys, brother and sister or co-ed. At co-ed summer camps, boys and girls do participate in many supervised camp activities together. They share use of amenities such as dining halls and swimming and waterfront areas. Brother and sister camps provide structured opportunities for social interaction but most of the time facilities and activities are separate for girls and boys. Private summer camps are more costly than nonprofit summer camps, but price does not always equate with the quality of a young camper's experience at that camp. It is best to anticipate extra expenses involved in choosing and going to summer camp such as extra canoe trip or activity charges and the cost of your visit to the camp. When you contact a camp you are considering, the director should be happy to give you complete information about the true cost of that camp. Keep in mind as you discuss this or other topics that the attitude of a camp's directors and staff will have more bearing on your child's experience than the cost. Usually the duration of a camp can range from one to eight weeks. Consider your child's willingness to be away from home, for days or overnight. Ongoing discussion with your child will be helpful, especially for balancing fear with anticipation and excitement. A first time camper will often face an adjustment and that may be temporarily challenging for some kids. Find out how the camp accommodates and deals with a first time camper's homesickness and the initial adjustment to camp life. A conversation about this area with a camp's director can also show you if the attitude so important to a good experience of camp is going to be there when your child arrives. Your child may want to join a camp with friends. Although it is natural for a youngster to want to go to camp with his or her friends, there are instances when there is value in time away from accustomed peer pressures. When it comes to learning independence and developing self confidence there can be an advantage to starting fresh in an unfamiliar environment. Children usually have restrictions and achievement pressures when in school and at home, but at summer camp they are free to try different things with new friends. With the help of knowledgeable staff and counselors in the camp, campers of all ages can safely find out what works best and what doesn't in terms of interpersonal relationships. You can find out more about how to bring these opportunities to your child's life by visitingwww.summercampadvice.com.
In America summer camps have been around for over 100 years, Here is some Summer Camp Advice, If you want your child to experience the fun and excitement of going to a sleepaway kids summer camp, you should start your search for the best camp as early as now. Sleepaway Summer Camps...
If you want your child to experience the fun and excitement of going to a sleepaway kids summer camp, you should start your search for the best camp as early as now. Sleepaway Summer Camps are different than day camps because children stay in cabins on the camp grounds for a certain period of time, usually from two to eight weeks, without going home every day. Campers can communicate with their families and friends through letters or phone calls. Visitations are usually allowed at specific times during the kids' stay at the camp. Sleepaway camps are designed to be safe but separate environments; after all, a big part of the purpose and benefit of camp is the encouragement of independence.

Part of the fun of this variety of camp is that kids get to stay in an area all their own and sleep among other kids with adult counselors always present. It makes a young camper feel very grown up and it also brings a chance to learn independence. As a parent, it will be your task to find the camp where your child can stay for right length of time during the summer. You might consider the following tips to keep in mind as you begin to look for the perfect overnight camp. 

There is an excellent free website,
www.summercampadvice.com, that exists solely for the purpose of helpingprospective campers and their parents with choosing the best summer camp by guiding them with the right questions. This site is a great place to start or to expand your search.

Since your child will be staying for a long time at the camp you choose, it is necessary to ensure that the place where they will sleep is comfortable. The cabins, bunks and closets or lockers should be clean and in good repair. The interiors should not be overcrowded and the exteriors should be well-maintained and in good condition.  Bathroom facilities should be clean and accessible. The physical facilities of a camp needn't be new or fancy, and they will not determine the ultimate quality of the experience a camper has, but they can offer hints about the camp directors' overall attitude and attention to detail.

Much more important to the experience a camper is likely to have at camp is the amount of ongoing individual attention he or she is likely to recieve from staff supervisors and mentors. At least one camp counselor should sleep in each cabin. 

The most important factor to consider when searching for a sleep away camp is safety. A good summer camp will offer very thorough information about all matters having to do with camper safety. Here are a few tips to begin with; a complete reference guide for camp safety issues can be found [at|by going to] 
www.summercampadvice.com. ; Ask about how the camp staff would handle emergencies. The camp should have a clinic with its own nurse. If your child needs special attention or has a special set of medical needs, you should discuss this in detail with the camp administrator. You should inform the directors about your child's allergies or other health conditions and make sure that the camp will accomodate your child's particular needs in those areas.
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Winter

25 Baybrook Ln.

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Phone: 630-654-8036

swiftcamp@aol.com

Camp

W7471 Ernie Swift Rd.

Minong, WI 54859

Phone: 715-466-5666

swiftcamp@aol.com