As a summer camp owner, each spring as I speak to college students about becoming a summer camp counselor. Often I get a response “I am not a teaching student. How will camp help me?” Will future employers want you to have an internship? They respond in the affirmative and continue “I need real world job skills”. Being a summer camp is the place to get these skills.

Today, as we categorize todays young workforce it is often said that they are lacking soft skills. These skills are what employers want and are what overnight summer camps best teach.

Here are 5 skills that any employer would want to see in their applicants. You can arrange these in any order because none is more important than another.

Teamwork
Most jobs require employees to work together as a unit, section or team building relationships and working together with respect toward a common good. Summer Camp  is all about team work from your co counselors working together to building a team with in your cabin. Camp is a community not unlike a business organization. Camp is built of people who have very different personalities, backgrounds and life experiences that all come together for the goal of building each other up while playing and having fun.

Responsibility
At work we all want our bosses to give us greater responsibility. Very few jobs or internships can give you more responsibility than independently caring for someone else children.   At Camp, counselors you are responsible 24-hours a day at camp or off in the woods hours away from civilization.  It is the counselor that holds all of a child’s experience in their hand. From reducing injuries to motivating and encouraging  a child, to stoping bullying.  No place is a persons job more important than being a camp counselor.their work with campers is essential to camp’s operation.

Problem Solving
I once had a boss who said “Don’t bring me problems bring me solutions.” The same can be said as a camp counselor you need to figure things out and make it work the best way possible. Weather your getting 10 children to all brush their teeth or encouraging them to jump into a cold lake, you need to try things evaluate if it works and then make changes as needed. As a  camp counselors you will be constantly provided with opportunities to solve problems and come up with creative solutions.  Just the thing any employer is looking for in a new employee..

Communication Skills
Every job requires good communication skills. Without the distraction of technology and social media, camp counselors strengthen their communication skills by engaging in face-to-face interaction with campers and fellow counselors.  Daily you will learn and practice how to lead group discussions and practice conflict resolution.

Leadership
Every job requires some amount of leadership. After all it is leadership that get the promotion. At camp your unique relationships with campers will allow you to practice your level of influence on others.  At camp, you will share your life experience with their campers helping to build them into being better people.  Even though camp is casual you will be required to be at the top of your game as a role model to children. Meaning you need to remain appropriate in language and appearance at all times. Living as a role model will cause you to step your game and be your best leader.   After a summer at camp you will feel like a leader it is a powerful feeling.

Yes,  you will get to practice these skills but equally important is you will be outside in nature and playing. To soon our youth passes but at camp we like to say "Act your shoe size on your age"

Anyone that has been to Swift Nature Camp can tell you that camp water is amazing. The taste is clean and the temperature is iced cold, it must have something to do with an extra deep well and natural sand filter.  

Parents often worry about health care at summer camp and one of the simplest things to do is stay hydrated.

At camp we encourage to carry a water bottle with them all the time. We know that that the medical field says that somewhere between 60-90 ounces of water each day should be consumed to lead a healthy lifestyle. Because our body is made up of 60% water, it is important to be hydrated keeping kids running all day long. We teach our kids that WATER is so important at camp especially on warm days. Often the 1st recommendation from our nurse is "go drink a full water bottle of water". Meals are always started with a glass or two of water. Here are just some of the ways we teach our campers that they are not getting enough water.

1. Are You Thirsty?
This is a simple one,  if you are thirsty, your body is talking to you, its saying that you need some more water. Thirst occurs when your body loses two percent of its water, so if you are drinking in enough water, you will rarely feel thirsty. At camp we quench our thirst with only water never bug juice, water seems to be the most effective.

2. What Color Is Your Pee?

Urine is a tell tale sign of you hydration. Often campers don't want to take a look but, the color of you urine is a great way to determine if you are dehydrated. A campers urine will be light yellow or even clear when drinking enough fluids. Yet when you see dark yellow, it's time to go get some water, this one of the best signs of dehydration.

3. Are You Overheating?

Water helps keep your body cool and stops organs from overheating. Hot days running around camp could lead to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Drinking cool water can help, so can slowing down, staying in the shade and  going swimming. This is the reason on super hot days at SNC we increase our water activities and our drinking water during meals to 4 cups per meal.

4. Is Your Skin Dry?

If you notice irregular flaky or dry skin, it could be caused to a lack of fluid. Sometimes if we notice a camper with dry skin we use lotion combined with a water bottle. After a few days we usually get the desired result.

Listening to a camp nurse is always good advice and in this case she can help you find the signs of dehydration and find that simple solution, "Pick up a water bottle and leave your sugar loaded soda and sports drinks behind".

It's REUNION TIME 2018

We hope you can come join all the fun at our Swimming Party Reunion. Don't forget your suit!

This is a wonderful time to see camp friends visit with camp counselors and see the SNC Yearbook Video for the very 1st Time. 

Hope you ca make it. No reservation neccessary.

Where: Oak Brook Park District (1450 Forest Gate, Oak Brook, Il 60523)

When: January 7th

Time: 1-3:30pm

Please bring a friend so they can see what the SNC excitment is all about.

Plus we will have a special gift for all that come.

 

NEW TO SNC?
Our reunion is the perfect time to come ask questions, meet the staff and have some fun. So please come and go swimming.

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As a Director of an Overnight Summer Camp in Wisconsin for over 20 years, I have seen a change in how parents deal with their children. Obviously,  when I was a kid my parents spent alot less time worrying about me. Oh sure I was loved but I was given time to figure stuff out on my own even if that meant small failures or getting in trouble. But more importantly, I was given something we all want more of TIME. Yes, my parents did not schedule me in after school sports, tutoring or band. No, in my day I played with friends, watch an 1hour of TV per day (now they say the average kid is 8hrs on a screen) and figured out things to keep myself busy. Yet, with all this time on on my hands, something was bound to come out of my mouth "MOM, I'm Bored" and the her response was almost always the same "Go Outside". Today, parents hear the "I'm Bored" much less, because kids just pick up a screen and stay entertained for hours. I was speaking with a substitute teacher the other day and she said its so much easier now that 10 years ago.  I have almost no discipline issues because when students finish their online in class assignments they pull out their phone and keep engaged, causing less classroom flareups.
Research is showing this may be a bad thing, see below article. I am an Outdoors Summer Camp activist and for years said, WE ARE ADDICTED TO TECHNOLOGY! Only recently have others picked up on this and are telling us to put down our phones... And do what Mom said "Get Outside"!
 
 

Child psychologists insist that boredom is an enriching experience.

With the rise of screen time and “helicopter parenting”, i.e. hovering, we’ve seen a decline in the good-natured negligence that many of us were raised with during the 80’s and 90’s, which consisted of “go outside and play, now.” Parents nowadays feel pressured to turn their children into productive little performers, by filling their time with camps, sports, lessons and play dates. And while there are advantages too, say, learning to play the piano, researchers insist that the absence of planned activities is also an enriching experience. The best thing you can do for your kids this summer? Let them be bored.

“Your role as a parent is to prepare children to take their place in society. Being an adult means occupying yourself and filling up your leisure time in a way that will make you happy,” explains Lyn Fry, child psychologist, “If parents spend all their time filling up their child’s spare time, then the child’s never going to learn to do this for themselves.”

For the same reason that mindfulness has spread like wildfire among the wellness community, children also need to learn strategies to contend with the fast-paced, virtually-ruled nature of modern society. We also know, as adults, that being stripped of our televisions, iPads, and obligations are bound to offer a refreshing perspective and force us to interact with our surroundings in a new and different way.

Certainly, it is tempting, and perhaps we have been conditioned to feel that being bored is a waste of time. Not so— idleness is integral to allow our imaginations to grow. Dr. Teresa Belton, a visiting fellow at the University of East Anglia told the BBC that boredom is crucial for humans to develop “internal stimulus,” which, in turn, cultivates true creativity.

“There’s no problem with being bored,” says Fry. “It’s not a sin, is it? I think children need to learn how to be bored in order to motivate themselves to get things done. Being bored is a way to make children self-reliant.” Another way this helps kids is by eliminating the cycle of seeking validation for every little thing they do. Throwing out expectations is a tool to help kids truly know themselves and their preferences, and become more individually confident.

This summer, take away the screens and let kids simply do their own thing, such as playing with their toys in their room or outside in the yard. Experts also encourage writing a list of activities with children, including basic past times such as riding a bike, playing cards, drawing with sidewalk chalk, painting or reading a book. When your children approach you complaining of being bored, remind them to refer to the list. They’ll thank you later.

True Activist / //www.trueactivist.com/the-best-thing-you-can-do-for-your-kids-this-summer-let-them-be-bored/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">Report a typo

2017 header friends

Enjoy a Summer Camp In the USA

Overnight Children's Camp arts & craftsNow is the time to Commit! You have heard about all the benefits Overnight Summer Camp can provide a child.  Still, it seems a strange concept to send your child away to Swift Nature Camp and in other people's care. Yet time and time again, parents see that their child returns home different (better) than before he or she left. How can this be? What is this Camp Magic?

As a parent, these are the questions that went through my head as I sent my child to a different overnight summer camp. Does sending my kid away mean I do not love them? Does it mean I am selfish? Does it mean I am a BAD parent?

Actually sending your child to Overnight summer camp means none of these things. Often parents need to hear again all the benefits of summer camp, here are a few:

 

9. Kids are active – These days a child's life is sedentary in school, online and inside. Every moment at camp is filled with motion, from play to learning or even walking to the bathroom.

8. Experience successes – Camp's main goal is to build kids up. So at SNC we find what kids can succeed and that helps them feel more confident.

7. Gain resiliency – Life is filled with setbacks. At camp setbacks can be handled in a positive way. For instance, a group may have a difficult canoe trip, yet together they persevered and made it. Knowing you can make it is an amazing lesson.

6. Unplug – Technology has taken over our life. No time in history have children been so connected to it. In the old days kids watched TV for 2-3 hours a day now a screen is watched 7-9 hrs a day. Get back to real connections.

5. Independent – This day and age kids are scheduled most of the day. Camp gives children the ability to make choices for themselves. A skill needed in life. Wrong decisions can be gently handled and right decisions applauded by peers and non parental units.

4. Play – In nature animals learn by play. We all love watching the wolf pups play, but they are really getting ready for life. Same is true with children, they learn by having unorganized free play. Something that was a staple in kids growing up in the past. Camp still provides this in a safe, child friendly atmosphere.

3. Social skills – Living in a communal setting, like camp, provides amazing opportunities for children to learn personal skills like, empathy, resolving disagreements, teamwork and healthy communication.

2. Enjoy nature – Kids lives have become an indoor life. Nature is missing and all the research shows this is having a negative effect on today's kids. Higher stress, obesity and insecurity. Nature supports healthy child development and enriches kid’s perception of the world.

1. Friendships–Swift Nature Camp has only one mission to help children be their best. We do this in a fun and supportive way. By building friendships with people that truly care. we help child make better friends. Campers will tell you their best friends are at camp. Why? When you live with people, you learn to accept them, you build tolerance and over time your difference become bonds.  The result is a summer family.

 

So as you are thinking about the adventure your child will be on this summer, don't rule out the Northwoods of Wisconsin and Swift Nature Camp.

Kids summer campEvery summer millions of children go to overnight summer camp. But Why? Oh sure, some parents just need day care. But the vast majority of parents that are thinking about sending their child to overnight summer camp, do not take this responsibility lightly. They do their research by: going to camp fairs, talking to friends, taking camp tours and chatting with references. Why do all this? Because when you select the right Overnight Summer Camp for your child, it will be a life changer and an experience they will want to repeat summer after summer. Maybe thats why children from all around the world come to USA Summer Camps

 

So how does summer camp change kids lives? Not every camp is the same, so I can only speak about our overnight summer camp. Swift Nature Camp is located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. We cater to children 6–15, with a leadership program for our 16 & 17 year old campers. Our small camp blends old-fashioned camp activities on land and water, with environmental and nature learning. Plus we have a camp zoo, where children who love animals can even adopt one while they are at camp.

 

Here are ways that children’s lives are changed because of camp:

1) Great Staff- When you get young people who are dedicated to kids full time, your child feels it. Camp counselors have boundless energy and enthusiasm- something parents often loose as they get older. It’s like having the best big sister or brother in the world who really cares about you. They want you to be your best. So children look up to these counselors and since they are role modeling positive values, your child will pick those up and bring them home.

 

2) Communal Living- Yes, your child will be living in a cabin with 5–8 other children of their own age, building new friendships and developing strong new social circles. For most children this is a new experience. When you live with others, you have to be a little less worried about yourself and be thinking more about others. That is part of the natural progression of kids from self to others. Camp pushes them a little further along this road.

 

3) Nature-This day and age we live our lives inside. There is a big beautiful world out there that children should learn about and they should not be afraid of. All of science is saying, humans need to be connected to their environment, enjoy the beauty of the simple things in life. That’s why at SNC, we often take our kids to the lake to quietly enjoy a sunset.

 

4) Independence- Today we have so many types of parents, and often we see loving parents that hold their children back, not intentionally. But, sometimes they just don’t see that kids need and want to get out on their own, make decisions on their own and try new things. A Nature Camp is a safe place to try things, make mistakes and move on. This is all part of growing up and camp is the safe and supervised place this takes place.

 

5) Play is an amazing tool. It helps children get exercise, loose weight and feel better. More important, Free Play can help children resolve conflict, problem solve and be creative. Daily, at camp have 1.5 hours dedicated to free play, where campers can do the activities they want to do. This is like the old days, when children could just go outside and play.

 

One thing we hear from parents every summer is “I wish I would have sent my child to Swift Nature Camp sooner” you see, childhood is a once-off thing. Too soon it’s over, and you can’t reclaim the years, but you can look back on incredible memories. That’s why summer camp is so important — it’s a fun, positive experience where children can simply be children and have the time of their lives. Overnight summer camp is a vital part of a child’s personal growth and development

It’s the small size and attention to detail that makes camp so successful at promote each child’s personal development. Sending your child to Swift Nature Camp is a gift, one your child will cherish for the rest of their life. Maybe that’s why 92% of our campers want to return each summer to this Wisconsin Summer Camp.

ERNIE SWIFT Picture“First teach the child the value of work, not regimented play...
teach him that a sunset over a verdant countryside has more
intrinsic value than the most costly painting...teach him that
bread comes from the soil and not from the store”
Ernie Swift

 

Ernie Swift was raised on the windswept prairies of south-western Minnesota. His years on the family farm honed a vivid imagination, and he credited those years with helping him to develop a deep understanding of the importance of conservation. Nature was Ernie Swift’s teacher, he never received a forma college education, yet he rose through and had substantial influence on the conservation movement in the early days. Being one of the first wardens for the State of Wisconsin these days were filled with adventure. . His northwoods arrests included “Machine Gun Frank: McErlane, a couple of the Al Capone gang.  In those early days Ernie was threatened more than once at gun point and even had mobsters show up at his home.

 

Swift developed a reputation as a fearless game warden in Wisconsin’s northwoods during the 1920s and 1930s. He was seen as a  individualist, and was not afraid to walk alone through cold, dark woods, fields and marshes to uphold the law. Not surprisingly, Swift was not one to stand still,he was unafraid to walk ahead of the crowd as his career and the movement in conservation evolved.


In the 1930s, Aldo Leopold was beginning to build a name for himself as an environmentalist. Swift and he forged a lasting professional and personal relationship. At that time, Swift had left his warden responsibilities and become deputy director of the Wisconsin Conservation Department. In the early 1940s their was a deer management debate within the state. Swift and Leopold agreed that, that scientific research should guide management of the herd and the ecosystem. This did put Swift at odds with old colleagues, but he did what he felt was right not what his friends wanted. It was his work on management of the deer herd that is credited with helping set Wisconsin as a leader  of wildlife management.

 

In 1947, Swift was appointed director of the Conservation Department, what today is known as the Department of Natural Resources, . He was tenacious trying to preserve and protect Wisconsin's natural resources, In those days, America was young and seen as endless, giving little support for the notion of resource management.

 

Wisconsin was just the place for Ernie to hone his skills. It was in 1954 that his career leapfrogged to the national level. He was appointed assistant director of the US Fish and
Wildlife Service in Washington, DC. A year later, he moved out of public service. Ernie had always been one to tell it like it is and that just does not mix well with Washington.  When he was offered the the appointment as director of the National Wildlife Federation. he jumped at the chance. For nearly five years, he helped lay the groundwork for the growth of the country's largest conservation organization. His work also helped shape the first U.S. Wilderness Act, which created the National Wilderness Preservation System.

What made  Swift special was his conviction and his ability to communicate with people. It was this knowledge that gave him courage and motivation to become a speaker and writer in favor of the conservation movement.  Swift had influenced many through his essays, articles, editorials, and reports. He wrote regularly for National Wildlife magazine and Conservation News, two of the Federation's periodicals. "The Glory Trail: The Great American Migration and Its Impact on Natural Resources" was written in the late 1950's and historically looked at resource management in the U.S.  In 1967, A Conservation Saga was published an autobiography, only a year before his death.

During his lifetime Ernie Swift received more than 20 awards and citations, he won the Haskell Noyes Conservation Warden Award in 1930, was honored with the Aldo Leopold Medal in 1959, and a Gold Medallion (the first ever given in the conservation field) from the Wisconsin Exposition Department in 1966. Many of his awards are hanging at Swift Nature Camp in Minong Wisconsin

 

In 1966 The Department of Natural Resources dedicated the YCC camp to Ernie Swift as a Conservation Summer Camp and in 1996 was renamed Swift Nature Camp To learn more about Mr. E.F. Swift, see the Dinning Hall at Camp.

As Summer Camp Directors we are always looking at trends in parenting and how it is going. Recently Simon Sinek had this video posted. If you know someone born in the mid 1980 to early 2000 this is about them. For many of us parents, when we watch this video it will help us better understand our own kids and see how we can best help them in the 21st century Having said that it also helps us be better Camp Directors at Swift Nature Camp

 

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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