Reprinted from the 1965 Chicago Tribune, Camp Minoqua is featured in the article andis the summer camp that Jeff went to when he was a boy from 1966-1972.


Television, telephones, and mother-love are all great things In the winter, of course, but next summer, more than 4 million school age youngsters will trade them for tents, rain, poison Ivy and unforgettable times,


IT GETS COLDER and colder. The rain comes down like the sky is broken. The tent leaks all night and break- fast is bread and rain water eaten under the Dicnic table.

Is this "Ah, Wilderness!" or "Aaarg, Wilderness!"? Only the boy or girl scrunched damply under the table can tell you. But chances are [even tho it had to be said thru chat- tering teeth] he d say it was GREAT! For this wet, cold, shivering youngster is one of 4 million school-age American children who look forward ea- to camp every summer. Why should a child be so anx- ious to go to camp that he s willing to go without six months' allowance to help foot the bill? Or get up at a snowy 5:30 a. m. to deliver the morn- ing papers so he can buy a new snorkel for camp?

It's not the creature comforts he s seeking-that s for sure. For comforts such as television, telephones, and five-course din- ners are better provided at home than on a 100-acre tract of trees and bushes.

Actually what this child is seeking, even if he s not con- aware of it, is a sense of adventure. A chance to be a conqueror rather than a spec- tator. An opportunity to create

his own security in a strange atmosphere. And where, in to- day s chrome-plated world, can a child find such an opportu- nity except in the wilderness?

As an American, he still has something of the early pioneer in his bones-the pioneer who slew his own dinner, stitched up his britches, and then fought off the enemy before he went to bed.

A note from a city-bred 14- year-old to his parents last year states proudly, "Besides clearing three campsites out of the bush, setting up a compass course, and assisting the sur- veyor map the boundary lines of camp, we got to help skin a 125-pound bear and cut logs for a new kitchen floor." This glowing letter was written by a lad who lived 10 stories up in a plush apartment where a maid laid out his clothing every morning!

There have been camps of one kind or another almost from the beginning of America -even the first settlers were campers of a sort The first organized camps began to ap- pear on the east coast as early as the 1860s, but it wasn't un-til the very late iBO0s that camping grabbed a really firm foothold for itself. It was evi-dently firm enough, for today there are more than 13,500 organized camps scattered thruout the United States.

The first organized camp in the midwest was started by a young doctor. [just graduated from Northwestern university medical school] following the worst typhoid fever epidemic Chicago has ever known. Dr. John Perley Sprague had been raised in the lumbering coun- try of Maine and had never quite got used to the ways of the city. It bothered him that so many children were growing up with no intimate knowledge of nature, so in April, 1903, he set out for upper Wisconsin be- fore the ice was even out of the rivers and lakes to find a spot to set up a camp.

What he finally settled on was a point on Lake Toma- hawk near Minocqua, which still stands today and is still in operation under the direction of his daughter, Helen, and son-in-law, Jack Broomell. Boys who go to Camp Minocqua today board the train at Chi- cago s North Western station

and arrive at camp about eight. hours later.

The 15 campers who went north with Doctor Sprague in 1903 were not so fortunate; but when this story is told, many a boy declares he d give his right arm to have been in that first group.

We took a train from Chicago," Doctor Sprague wrote Conrinued CAMP For City-Dwellers: A Place in the OpenIn camp craft classes such as bowl-making, boys can create with their own hands.

in his notes, "and when we woke up in the morning, we had only gone about 200 miles be- cause a bridge had washed out. It seems there was a lot of flooding that year. There was no diner on the train and they took the sleeper off, too. During the afternoon they fixed up the bridge and we went on, only to be stopped again when the tracks disappeared under water at the Wisconsin river. But they decided to try it and we got across and kept right on going to Mosinee, where the tracks were under water again. And we had to stop once more."

At 4 the next morning, Doc- tor Sprague got everybody off the train and they got up a game of baseball in the grass beside the tracks. Hungry to the desperation point, they finally found a boarding house cook who fixed breakfast for them for a hatful of coins that had been collected. The rest of the trip was made partly by box car and partly by hand-car.

"Finally," Doctor Sprague said, "an engine came down from the north and picked us up and on the third day we finally got there."

Camp Alinocqua is much the same today in spirit as it was 60 years ago; the ultimate aim of its directors always has been to provide the child with a natural atmosphere in which he can grow in all directions. This is the aim of all good camps today.

"There was no 'baby-sitting' in those days," Helen Broomell says. "It was primarily an op- portunity for boys to spend the summer out-of-doors . . . it wasn't even supposed to be a 'character-building' experience

except as the good influence of the men rubbed off on. the boys."

Minocqua would be classified today as an "all-around" camp with a good solid emphasis on individual growth, altho the program includes a liberal choice of everything you might consider important to camping: riding, sailing, crafts, archery, etc.

There are so many camps to- day which, altho they main- tain social orientation as the ultimate goal, are highly spe- . A few examples: folk- singing camps, language-of- your-choice camps, all-sports camps where a child chooses one major and one minor sport and works on proficiency in these areas all summer long. There are pioneer camps, camps for the psychological- ly disturbed, riding camps, and tours-of-Israel camps.

The rivalry between different types of camps is much like the rivalry between competing high schools. One group of boys came back from a visit to a neighboring camp with these words of disgust: "It's a chicken camp. Everybody wore identical T-shirts, and there were these 'Gung ho' loud speakers that blasted out in- structions all day long - just like in the movies. All the '' had to do was sit on their duffs while 'big brother' told them what to do over the loud speaker."

The kids often compare other camps they ve attended, too.

"All I got out of camp last year," said a pony-tailed girl of 12, "was saddle sores.""I was in this one camp," said a teen-. 'where it


CAMP-The Counselor Must Love Children. Nature

was like downtown New York. Everything was paved! You couldn't get dirty if you want- ed to."

For some children, being able to get good and dirty with a bunch of other guys is reason enough to go to camp. They come from big cities where they have no close companions, even in their own family group; often they don't even sit down to dinner with their parents, but eat in the kitchen with the maid.

This was a real revelation to one of the foreign-exchange counselors who came to this country thru the efforts of the Committee for Friendly Rela- tions Among Foreign Students. He was surprised at the bad table manners of some of the boys from wealthy families. He referred to the children in his cabin as "small gang- sters," but this was a term of real affection for he was com- pletely charmed by their warmth and maturity.

"An American camper is not as well disciplined as the Swedes," the counselor later observed. "He is less bashful and somewhat more matured than his Swedish mate. But you very soon get acquainted with him and after two hours he de- clares he likes or hates you more than anybody in the world."

He was judging only boys from a small segment of Amer- ican life, however, because un- less a child has a wealthy ben- or well-to-do parents, he can t afford a summer at

a private camp. Rates begin at about $575 and go on up.

Private camps are only a small part of the organized camp picture, tho. Only 3,000 of the nation s 13,500 organized camps are privately owned and run. Most of the rest are agen- cy and day camps. A "season" is more flexible at these camps, running from one day to sev- eral weeks and costing as little as $15 per week.

Many find it hard to under- stand why anyone would choose to work at a summer camp, but the conclusion can only be heartening to any par- ent considering sending his child.

Because the pay is poor, the hours are bad, and working conditions sometimes - nable [such as an "overnight" in a leaky tent], it can only be assumed that counselors take these jobs out of a love for children and nature.

One of the toughest jobs a director has is selecting good counselors. At one time these young people were chosen be- cause they possessed some spe- cial skill, but today directors seek well-rounded, emotionally mature persons. In addition to counselors, the director hires cooks, kitchen boys, stable boys, a camp-mother, a doctor and/ or a nurse. Each staff mem- ber is selected with infinite care, because it takes a special kind of person to be able to live so intimately with so many children or young adults for such a length of time. U


A PARENT interested in finding the best camp for his

Achild should consider the following points:

1. A good ratio is one counselor for every eight campers; an ideal ratio is one to four.

2. A good director will ask for a personal history of your child. U he doesn't, forget him, because if he doesn't feel he needs to know such things as the fact that Sally still wets her bed or is afraid of the dark, he isn't very interested in her.

3. A good camp has a rigid code of safety and health, but a flexible and adaptable daily program of recreation.

4. Fees alone do not make a camp bad or good, and in no way indicate what a camp is really like.

THE HYBRID MIND: The More High-Tech Education Becomes, The More Nature Our Children Need


I once met an instructor who trained young people to become the pilots of cruise ships. He described the two kinds of students he encounters. One kind grew up mainly indoors, spending hours playing video games and working on computers. These students are quick to learn the ship’s electronics, a useful talent, the instructor explained. The other kind of student grew up spending a lot of time outdoors, often in nature. They, too, have a talent. “They actually know where the ship is.”


He wasn’t being cute. Recent studies of the human senses back that statement up. “We need people who have both ways of knowing the world,” he added.

Currently, the force of economics is on the side of technology and standardized efficiency.

Optimistic researchers suggest that multitasking is creating the smartest generation yet, freed from limitations of geography, weather, and distance—pesky inconveniences of the physical world.

Others are skeptical, if not hostile to technology. In his book The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein, a professor at Emory University, reels out studies comparing this generation of students with prior generations, reporting “they don’t know any more history or civics, economics or science, literature or current events”— despite all that available information. Other researchers believe that people who experience too much technology in their formative years experience stunted development of the frontal lobe, “ultimately freezing them in teen brain mode,” as Maclean’s magazine put it.

Here’s a third possibility, what I call the hybrid mind. The ultimate multitasking is to live simultaneously in both the digital and physical worlds, using computers to maximize our powers to process intellectual data and natural environments to ignite our senses and accelerate our ability to learn and feel—combining the resurfaced “primitive” powers of our ancestors with the digital speed of our teenagers.

Want Students to Learn? Ignite the senses now

Scientists who study human perception no longer assume we have only five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. The number now ranges from a conservative 10 to as many as 30, including blood-sugar levels, empty stomach, thirst, and proprio­ception (awareness of our body’s position in space).

Ever wonder why you have two nostrils? Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley did. They fitted undergraduates with taped-over goggles, earmuffs, and work gloves to block other senses, then set them loose in a field. Most of the students could follow a 30-foot-long trail of chocolate perfume and even changed direction precisely where the invisible path took a turn.

The subjects were able to smell better with two functioning nostrils, which researchers likened to hearing in stereo. And they found themselves zigzagging, a technique employed by dogs as they track. “We found that not only are humans capable of scent tracking,” said study researcher Noam Sobel, “but they spontaneously mimic the tracking pattern of [other] mammals.”

In 2009, researchers at Madrid’s University of Alcalá de Henares showed how people, like bats, could identify objects without needing to see them, through the echoes of human tongue clicks. According to the lead researcher, echoes are also perceived through vibrations in ears, tongue, and bones—a refined sense learned through trial and error by some blind people and even sighted individuals. It’s all about hearing a world that exists beyond what we normally mistake for silence.

What else can we do that we’ve forgotten?

The U.S. military has studied how some soldiers seem to be able to use their latent senses to detect roadside bombs and other hazards. The 18-month study of 800 military personnel found that the best bomb spotters were rural people—those who’d grown up in the woods hunting turkey or deer—as well as those from tough urban neighborhoods, where it’s equally important to be alert.

“They just seemed to pick up things much better,” reported Army Sergeant Major Todd Burnett, who worked on the study for the Pentagon’s Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization. “They know how to look at the entire environment.” And the other enlistees, the ones who’d spent more time with Game Boys or at the mall? They didn’t do so well. As Burnett put it, they were focused on the proverbial “screen rather than the whole surrounding.”

The explanation may be partly physiological. Australian researchers suggest that the troubling increase in nearsightedness is linked to young people spending less time outdoors, where eyes must focus at longer distances. But more is probably going on here. Good vision, acute hearing, an attuned sense of smell, spatial awareness—all of these abilities could be operating simultaneously. This natural advantage offers practical applications. One is an increased ability to learn; another is an enhanced capability to avoid danger. Still another, perhaps the most important, is the measurement-defying ability to more fully engage in life.

Today, students (and the rest of us) who work and learn in a dominating digital environment expend enormous energy to block out many of these senses, in order to focus narrowly on the screen in front of the eyes. That’s the very definition of being less alive.



Who among us wants to be less alive? What parent wants their child to be less alive?

I believe that a central goal of modern education should be to encourage such flexible thinking, to nurture the hybrid mind — to stimulate both ways of knowing in the world: digital and direct experience.

Screens and Streams: The river of knowing

Research in this area remains a frontier in the academic world, but evidence is growing. Schools that do use outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education report significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts, and math. Students in Finland lead the world in math and science scores; in that country, it’s an article of faith that the best education includes time spent in the classroom — with lots of recess and learning time outdoors.

Children are more likely to invent their own games in green play spaces rather than on flat playgrounds or playing fields. Green play spaces also suit a wider array of students and promote social inclusion, regardless of gender, race, class, or intellectual ability. One study found that so-called at-risk students in week-long outdoor camp settings scored significantly better on science testing than in the typical classroom. At the Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois, researchers have discovered that children as young as 5 show a significant reduction in the symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder when they engaged with nature.

Cognitive and behavioral benefits accrue well beyond school boundaries. In inner-city housing projects in Chicago, investigators found that the presence of trees outside apartment buildings were predictors of certain behaviors: less procrastination, better coping skills, greater self-discipline among girls, better social relationships, and less violence. Educators benefit, too. Canadian researchers found that teachers expressed renewed enthusiasm for teaching in schools that engage their students in natural settings.

Maximum learning usually takes place when more of our senses are engaged. Yes, tight digital focus is often needed, but the healthy brain — the learning brain — also needs to pay a different kind of attention, an attention that researchers have called “fascination,” which often happens in more natural settings. This kind of attention restores the parts of the brain fatigued by too much “directed attention.” This is true for students, for teachers, for all of us.


Is education moving in this direction? Some schools are. They’re creating natural play and learning spaces, school gardens; they’re using nearby nature in cities and wilderness beyond them to connect the young to the world of knowledge. Often, they’re incorporating new technologies into these experiences.

But too many school districts are putting all their eggs on one computer chip, while reducing recess, canceling field trips, and demanding that students spend ever more time at their desks, staring at screens.

Few today would question the notion that every person, especially every young person, has a right to access the Internet, whether through a school district, a library, or a city’s public Wi-Fi program. We accept the idea that the divide between the digital haves and have-nots must be closed. But all children also have a right to develop a wider spectrum of their senses and mental abilities, to know the real world, and to be fully alive.

By  on March 30th, 2015 



Do you know kids & teens looking for a fantastic, good ol' days, totally hip & fun summer adventure that's reasonably priced?

Delighting both girls and boys, Swift Nature Camp has been a favorite childhood experience for my boys each summer since 2003. I trust the directors, I adore the counselors, I appreciate the outside active fun, and I love the gorgeous setting. And, I love that it's cheaper than my daughter's camp! Swimming, canoeing, fishing, tubing, riflery, archery, crafts, camp fires, camping trips, clowning, & good ol' capture the flag in the woods are some of what my kids love about Swift. The break from school kids, family life, and electronics gives them the awesome experience of pursuing new and different activities with fresh, friendly kids that just want to have fun without the drama. Not once in our 12 sessions did I receive a letter from the boys feeling down at camp. In fact, when they came home, they always said they wanted to stay longer next time. I'd love for you to learn more about this camp in Minong, Wisconsin. It has been a key factor in shaping my kids into the people I love today. Check it out.

The above note was taken from a camp families facebook page. At SNC our goal is to be part of your childs development and help your child be the best person they can be and get ready for life filled with self confidence and independance. Please see our other Parent Testimonials.

Like most parents you’re concerned about your child’s academic growth during the long summer break
Recent Research  by  Harris Cooper, Auniversity professor in associatio with the National Summer Learning Association, found that kids do forget information when school isn’t in session. “At best, students showed little or no academic growth over summer. At worst, students lost one to three months of learning,” the study reported.
For years teachers have noted that the beginning of the school year is a time to refresh the work that was done the previous year and that those students who recall the previous year more easily will do better at the current years studies. 
Recall when you were a kid—what was better than being a kid in the summer? For me I was one of those overnight summer camp kids so I recall the warm breeze on the lake, making leather crafts, playing capture the flag, and making new friends. Traditional Summer camps do provide children with fun learning opportunities that engage their brain and can lead to academic success when classes resume in September. 
Parents should look for opportunities to keep your child engaged and learning throughout the summer. This will allow them to continue building on their skills and foster their joy of learning.  It is important for parents to keep this goal in mind when picking a summer camp program. Selecting a summer camp that  immerses campers in experiential learning opportunities is a good choice. At Swift Nature Camp we provide just such an environment. 
At SNC we work with children not in memorizing facts about science and nature but on the process. We create an atmosphere were children have fun and want to learn.  When we guide them through the process, instead of simply giving them answers we fosters creativity, giving children skills to be critical thinkers and develop their own solutions to a problem.
The benefits of Experiential learning start at self-discovery by giving the children the tools to complete a task at hand, but leaves the steps to complete the task up to them. Children learn better and find more joy in learning when they do it themselves. When campers do this they better remember te experience.
In addition to learning traditional camp activities along with science campers build upon the social and emotional skills. Communal living helps children become more sensitive and caring toward others. Teamwork is what happens everyday at Swift Nature Camp.
Many of SNC parent avail themselves to the tutoring program offered. This program is more of a refresher class that keeps children "where they are" rather than teaching new concepts,  slowing down the learning loss that happens during the summer. Maybe it might be an option to consider this summer.
ACA Accreditation means that the summer camp you are considering has voluntarily agreed to undergo a thorough review of over 300 standards &emdash; from safety procedures to staff trainning and qualifications. The American Camp Association does not stand alone but works with experts from The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth service agencies to assure that current practices at that summer camp reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation. Camps and the ACA form a partnership that promotes summers of growth and fun in an environment committed to child safety. Bottom line, when you send your child to a summer camp that is ACA accreditied you know the owners and directors are doing everything possible to provide a safe and positve growing experience for your child.

ACA works with accredited camps to provide:

* Healthy, developmentally-appropriate activities and learning experience
* Caring, competent role models
* Service to the community and the environment
* Discovery through experiential education
* Opportunities for leadership and personal growth

What are some of the 300 ACA standards ?

* Staff to camper ratios are appropriate for different age groups
* Goals for camp activities are developmentally based
* Emergency transportation available at all times
* First-aid facilities and trained staff available

What's the difference between state licensing of camps and accreditation by ACA?

Accreditation is voluntary and ACA accreditation assures families that camps have made the commitment to a safe, nurturing environment for their children. Licensing is mandatory and requirements vary from state to state. ACA standards are recognized by courts of law and government regulators as the standards of the camp community.

How do ACA standards exceed state licensing requirements?

ACA goes beyond basic requirements for health, cleanliness, and food service into specific areas of programming, including camp staff from director through counselors, emergency management plans, health care, and management. ACA applies separate standards for activities such as waterfront, horseback riding, and adventure and travel.

How can I verify that my child's camp is ACA accredited?

Look for the ACA logo on camp website. Visit the ACA website at
www.ACAcamps.org or by calling 1-800-428-CAMP.
To learn more about how to choose a summer camp visit www.summercampadvisor.com

Directions - View the full report (PDF - 2.8MB)

Between 2001 and 2004 the American Camp Association conducted national research with over 5000 families from 80 ACA-Accredited camps to determine the outcomes of the camp experience as expressed by parents and children.
Parents, camp staff, and children reported significant growth in:
  • Self-esteem
  • Peer relationships
  • Independence
  • Adventure and exploration
  • Leadership
  • Environmental awareness
  • Friendship skills
  • Values and decisions
  • Social comfort
  • Spirituality
The findings from this national study indicated that camp is a unique educational institution and a positive force in youth development. The camp experience can benefit children by increasing:
  • confidence and self-esteem
  • social skills and making friends
  • independence and leadership qualities
  • willingness to try and adventurousness
  • spiritual growth, especially at camps focused on spirituality.
No differences were found based on the camp type (day, resident) or session length.
For more information on the actual instrumentation, please visit the Camper Growth Index site where details about the instrumentation developed and used in the ACA National Outcomes Study are discussed. Free access to the instruments are also described along with the access process.
By  Derrick Ho, Special to CNN
August 16, 2010 8:06 a.m. EDT
Experts advise parents against picking up their children from college if they complain about homesickness.


  • Homesickness is a distinct adjustment disorder with identifiable symptoms
  • Expert: Homesickness is an emotion that comes in waves
  • Age can make a crucial difference in coping with homesickness
(CNN) -- There was nothing but excitement for Keila Pena-Hernandez when she first stepped onto the grounds of the University of Missouri.
New school. New city. A new phase of her life. "It's just like wow, wow, wow! I was just excited that I'm in new surroundings," she said.
By the third week, the novelty of her new surroundings had worn off. The then 27-year-old health informatics doctoral student from Puerto Rico found herself lying on her bed after classes with the lights turned off and gazing out the window into the sky. All she could think of were the faces of friends and family.
"I started feeling homesick," she recalled. "This is nice, but this is not really home. The gym is awesome, but I didn't know anyone here."
This month, as thousands of freshmen and graduate students flock to colleges to begin a new academic year, many will be leaving home, some for the first time.
As routines are replaced with new social and academic pressures, and home by a dormitory full of strangers, homesickness -- the longing ache for the familiar, friends or grandma's cooking -- sets in. Pena-Hernandez knows all about that; she's felt it since she left home in 2004.
Homesickness is nothing new. It is mentioned in the Bible's Old Testament book of Exodus and Homer's "Odyssey," and happens to just about anyone away from home -- athletes and actors alike. ("Twilight" star Robert Pattinson reportedly told a U.K. magazine he misses home badly.)
Even so, only lately has there emerged a clearer sense of what homesickness is -- a distinct adjustment disorder with identifiable symptoms -- and what causes it.
In a paper co-written by Chris Thurber and Edward Walton published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, homesickness is defined as "distress and functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents."
Those who suffer from the condition feel some form of anxiety, sadness and nervousness, and most distinctly, obsessive preoccupation with thoughts of home, Thurber said.
After Keila Pena-Hernandez came to the University of Missouri, she began missing friends and family in Puerto Rico.
Pena-Hernandez craved the tropical fruits of Puerto Rico and the cool sea breeze.
"Lakes or rivers in the Midwest do not compare to the Caribbean Sea," she said.
Also troubling was the sense that her loved ones had moved on without her.
"A lot of my friends got married, had children and I'm not part of that because I'm not physically there, so you feel like you're losing out."
Yet despite the way it's coined, homesickness isn't necessarily about home. And neither is it exactly an illness, experts said.
Instead, it stems from our instinctive need for love, protection and security -- feelings and qualities usually associated with home, said Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama's School of Public Health. When these qualities aren't present in a new environment, we begin to long for them -- and hence home.
"You're not literally just missing your house. You're missing what's normal, what is routine, the larger sense of social space, because those are the things that help us survive," Klapow said.
He offered another way of approaching homesickness: It's merely an emotion that comes in waves. "Very few emotions stay with you all the time, they come and they go," he said. But when it strikes, both children and adults often get caught off guard by it, he added.
"They think something's terribly wrong. But it's normal and adaptive to feel homesick for some period of time. It's just your emotions and mind telling you you're out of your element."


Parents, here's how not to make matters worse: 

1. Avoid expressing anxiety.Your homesick freshman is not your sounding board. Instead of saying how much you miss him, express optimism about the experience your child is going through. 

2. Write instead of call.Phone calls can backfire. "Parents hear their children sobbing, children hear their parents sobbing," says psychologist Chris Thurber. "That real-time contact with home exacerbates homesickness." 

3. Find a friend. Encourage your child to look for friends and the support of a trusted adult. This can help ease the transition. 

4. Don't make a deal. Promising to pick your child up if homesickness sets in only decreases your child's likelihood of success in the new environment.
That homesickness is a spontaneous emotion also means both adults and children will feel its effects, Thurber said.
"If you look at an 8-year-old boy or girl at summer camp, and an 18-year-old university freshman, you would see very similar symptoms," he said. "The same would be true for a 28-year-old going to medical school in a different country."
Thurber said he has observed few differences in the length and intensity of homesickness between males and females.
While the cloud often lifts after a few weeks, "the distress and level of impairment among some homesick persons can become extreme," according to Thurber's report published in 2007.
In his study of homesickness among children, about 9 percent have it so bad that "it is associated with strong feelings of anxiety and depression, maybe even clinically significant symptoms," Thurber said.
"When homesickness is really bad, it's hard for people to eat, sleep or interact with others. That's terribly rare, but it does sometimes happen."
Age can play a crucial difference in coping with homesickness.
When you're 8, you don't have a lot of formal operational thought nor hypothetical thinking, said Thurber, so being away a month can seem like forever. But an 18-year-old is more likely to be able to translate that into a more manageable time frame.
"You'd be making comparisons in your head: That means if I do laundry once a week I do it four times. That changes and as people's concept of time becomes more sophisticated, so does the quality of their coping," Thurber said.
Experience counts, too.
"It turns out, [homesickness is] the very thing that inoculates against a future bout of homesickness," Thurber said. "By living through a difficult separation, your mind forces itself to cope."
It's this reason why experts advise parents against helicoptering their children out of college if they complain about homesickness.
"It's kind of like a bailout," said Ruperto Perez, director of the Georgia Institute of Technology's counseling center. Students end up being robbed of picking up problem solving and time management skills.
If there's any sort of deal parents can make, it is to agree to stop communicating -- be it text messages or via e-mails -- with their freshmen every five minutes.
Instead, Klapow said, parents should schedule a specific time, once a week, to contact their children. It also allows space and time for college students to make strong social connections among their peers -- perceived absence of social support was a strong predictor of homesickness, according to Thurber's report -- and gain much-needed independence.
Perez said this can be crucial in this day and age in which children have become more and more reliant on their parents. "There is more of an uncertainty of how to be independent. Probably because parents have provided more for them, for a longer period," he said.
While homesick kids at summer camp have the supervision of counselors, college students have less of that.


Here are tips that might help if you're experiencing homesickness: 

1. Stay engaged. Take part in college activities or even freshman camps to forget about homesick feelings and make new friends. 

2. Establish a personal routine. "If you are someone who goes to bed early and everyone's staying up late, it's OK to go to bed early," says psychologist Josh Klapow. 

3. Do something to feel closer to home. Write a letter, look at a family photo. 

4. Talk to someone. Seek out people who either understand what you're going through or have similar feelings. Pity parties in this case aren't a bad thing, says Klapow. "It's sort of like a grief support group." 

5. Time flies. Think that time is actually pretty short to make time go by faster.
Colleges have been hypervigilant for signs of depression and anxiety particularly after the Virginia Tech shootings. Counseling centers such as Perez's are taking steps to increase the awareness of the help students can turn to by promoting their services at orientation sessions and working with faculty and residential staff.
While there is still a stigma when it comes to approaching a counselor, Klapow said not doing so is as foolish as not consulting a doctor when a student is suffering from, say, stomach cramps.
"For college students, hey welcome to the big world. And the big world says, sometimes your emotions need to be dealt with," he added.
While homesickness can be dealt with, can it be prevented?
Not quite, Thurber said, despite the title of his study, "Preventing and treating homesickness."
"But what you're able to do is change its intensity," he said. Allowing teens and young adults to be active in deciding which college to go to helps.
Then there's practice and preparation.
Practice time away from home, Thurber recommended. Parents, too, can help by working with their freshmen to learn about the new environment by visiting campuses and talking to alumni. "They increase familiarity and, thereby, reduce anxiety," Thurber wrote.
Pena-Hernandez, who is finishing her Ph.D, makes a trip home once a year. She still misses home occasionally, but has the support from more friends and church as well.
We get homesick because "there are things that we love," said Thurber. "It's the byproduct of the strength of our attachment. If there were nothing in the world we were attached to, then we wouldn't miss them when we're away."

Sleep-away camp signup season is upon us, so any rational parents even considering the possibility will begin by asking themselves one question above all else: Really. They want over $1,000 a week now?

For many parents who went to overnight camp and have enough money, it’s not a close call, even if it requires a fair bit of belt-tightening. You’ve probably been talking about it for so long that your 7-year-old may well be annoyed about still being under the qualifying age of attendance. Everyone else should keep in mind that many of the expensive camps dislike their reputations as places for the affluent to get dirty and play outside. They raise money and provide some scholarships, so there is no shame in asking about how to qualify. Meanwhile, Y.M.C.A., religious and other less expensive sleep-away camps are far from rare.

When you’re considering camps, besides costs, you’ll want to ask baseline questions about food, safety, staff training and facilities. But when assessing value, what you really want to know is this: Is this a camp that changes lives? Sending the little people away is no small thing. You want it to mean something.

This week I reached out to camp experts and asked them for the single most important question that a parent should ask before committing. My favorite response came from my seventh-grade English and journalism teacher, Roger Wallenstein, who, with his wife, Judy, owned and ran Camp Nebagamon in Lake Nebagamon, Wis., from 1988 to 2003. He noted that limiting parents to a single question is a pretty good reason not to send your children away to camp, since the decision requires a lot more thought than that. O.K., Wally, I’m clearly still learning here 30 years later! Let’s go with five essential questions then.
Where are the other children going? This is a trick question. One natural default is to send a child off with a close friend, for familiarity’s sake, preferably a friend who has already been to the camp or is following in an older sibling’s or parent’s footsteps.

But your child may not be like that other child, even if they are good friends at school. And you may not share all of the friend’s family’s values. Plus, part of the point here is for a child to meet new people.

What are the retention figures? Go deep on this one. What percentage of counselors return each summer? How does that compare with national benchmarks? What percentage of counselors were campers?

And what percentage of campers who have not aged out return each summer? Does the camp track down all those who are not returning to find out why? If not, why not? If so, why are the former campers not coming back? And what percentage of children are related to alumni, particularly ones from a previous generation? This may seem pushy, but so what? This could cost $8,000 or more. Ask away.
What can they do here that they can’t do at home? A computer lab need not be a deal breaker, but it should give you pause. One comment that has rung in my head in the 16 months since I first heard it came from Richard Deering, the alumni and community director at Camp Birch Rock in Waterford, Me. Camp should be more about soul than stuff, he said.

Jill Tipograph, who helps families choose good camps, wanders their grounds herself looking for signs of stuff. “The things most parents want their kids to shed and leave behind physically and emotionally at home,” she said by way of explanation. Fashionable clothing. Electronics. (Especially electronics.)
What are the camp-only activities that beget soul? Canoe and hiking trips are classics. All-camp, multiday games and festivals. Crafts. Doing without electricity, or air-conditioning and heated pools at least. Or walls, if the children live in tents.

What makes the camp unique? This question comes from Mr. Wallenstein, who likes it because it encompasses so many of the other questions. It ought to be easy to answer for anyone selling an experience in a competitive marketplace. But it never fails to trip up some people and places.
Ms. Tipograph suggests several alternative ways to get at this one: What values do the director or camp support daily, say through a system of recognition during meals or lineups or flag-raising when a camper helps a peer? And what does the camp specifically stand against?
Barb Levison, a camp consultant, says that directors, in particular, love to talk about their camps, or they ought to at least. So ask about their philosophy. “If they lead with better baseball skills or improved theatrical ability, it will feel very different than if they answer with thoughts about good values, respect or being a good friend,” she said. Can you tell me about the ties that bind? Not every child will make lifelong friends at every camp. Still, it’s worth asking: How many reunions take place each year or decade? Can I take a peek at the alumni Facebook page, if it’s closed to outsiders? What percentage of alumni donate to the scholarship fund? How many pictures have you received in the last year of camp friends posing at one another’s weddings, a decade or more from their last camp experience?

In the summer of 2012, I happened to be at a camp when two young adults were called forward to mark a particular occasion. The pair, who had met there years ago, had become engaged the night before. It wasn’t the first time it had happened at that camp either.
This summer, my daughter will be back there for her third session.
Ron Lieber is the Your Money columnist for The New York Times. He is the author of the forthcoming “The Opposite of Spoiled,” about parenting, money, values and raising the kinds of children all parents want to push out into the world, no matter how much money they have (Harper Collins, February, 2015). He hosts regular conversations about these topics on his Facebook page and welcomes comments here or privately, via his Web site. The Opposite of Spoiled appears on Motherlode on alternating Thursdays.
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Self Realization is a part of grown up. It's the "fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one's character or personality. As parents we all strive to help our children to be the most be their best. This is not only seen in how we value schooling but life experiences as well . It is a knowing that we are not alone that we are connected. Swift Nature Camp is one way that you give your children a head start on the right road.
Below Annie gives her thoughts.
WRITTEN BY:Annie Shultz- THE Mama Dweeb 
It is Summer camp time!!! Are you signing your children up? There is still time! What is holding you back? Some of my most treasured memories are from camp. I remember the friends, the crafts, the food, and especially learning how to be just myself, away from my family and comforts of home.
Summer camp encourages interpersonal growth in a way that few other experiences can.  When you find a Summer camp that is the perfect fit for your child and family, you can rest assured that your child will learn and grow about themselves. And they will also have fun. So much fun!
Here are 7 ways Summer camp encourages self-realization.  Share in the comments other ways you think it can help children grow and mature! 
  1. Stepping out of their comfort zone - At Summer camp, children learn how to make decisions without relying on parents or their go-to comforts. This can be incredibly empowering – or super scary. If your child is ready to experience independence, then taking them out of their routines and comfort zones creates the perfect environment for reflection and growth.
  2. Structured independence – When you find a camp that fits your child perfectly, s/he will have structure – a very important key to growing and maturing.  The boundaries of camp and the trained staff are all tools that will help build self-confidence, assertiveness, and courage in your child.
  3. Social Situations – Summer camps place kids in group situations that teaches them a plethora of social skills including team work, trust, judgement and conflict management.  There are team games, social living quarters, and various interactions that lend to this.  Some kids will learn how to work with others, some will discover parts of their personalities that don’t lend well to social situations, others will discover how much they enjoy working in groups.  Above all, this experience is unmatched in how it brings self-awareness.
  4. Team work in activities – Just like above, the activities they will partake in will teach the child how to best work as a team.  Some of my favorite memories include the cabin games – the friendly competition that helped us all work together. What is wonderful about this is the staff is trained to help the children learn about themselves and how to work through whatever is holding them back from enjoying camp and the other kids.
  5. Encouraged to be who they are by the trained staff – leaders are given the chance to lead! The staff of a camp really does make a huge difference in how much your child enjoys the experience.  A quality trained staff will notice the qualities of each individual child and do what they can to encourage them to be who they are.  Leaders will get a chance to lead, encourages to cheer them on, creators to create and thinkers to analyze.
  6. Feeds their hunger for adventure, sparks interest – At camp, kids learn what they love and what they really don’t care for (ok, what they really despise!).  I learned how much I didn’t enjoy arts and crafts at Summer camp. To this day I don’t really do them, even with my kids (oh my poor kids).  But I learned how much I loved leading team activities.  And if you find a camp that is geared to a specific interest you can help them have an even fiercer hunger to learn more about it!
  7. Emotional muscles grow and stretch –  Children are all so different- from shy to extremely extroverted.  Camp lets them grow these muscles! The trained staff will be there to talk through situations – like home sickness at night or hurt feelings from friends during the day.  As the child works through these rough patches, they will be so much wiser, stronger, and more confident the next time they encounter it.
For many years at Swift Nature Camp we have been teaching our staff to be on the look out for Mean Girls and Boy Bullies. New research says that both are areas of concern.  But what is most important is enlightening to us at camp is that one of the best ways to reduce bullying for boys or girls is to” Increasing positive interactions”. At SNC we constantly have expectations that reinforce positive interactions… The bottom line is we Believe in KINDNESS.

UGA researchers: Boys meaner than girls at school

© Copyright 2014 Henry Herald
University of Georgia professor Pamela Orpinas co-authored a new study on relational aggression which shows boys are ‘meaner’ and more manipulative than girls in school. (Photo courtesy of the UGA/Paul Efland)
 ATHENS – Researchers at the University of Georgia have confirmed what many students have probably suspected for years while simultaneously proving a Lindsay Lohan movie wrong.
Their conclusion: boys are meaner than girls at school.
Debunking the myth of the “mean girl,” new research from UGA has found that boys use relational aggression — malicious rumors, social exclusion and rejection — to harm or manipulate others more often than girls.
The longitudinal study, published online in the journalAggressive Behavior, followed a cohort of students from middle to high school and found that, at every grade level, boys engaged in relationally aggressive behavior more often than girls.
A team led by UGA Professor Pamela Orpinas analyzed data collected from 620 students randomly selected from six northeast Georgia school districts. Students who participated in the study completed yearly surveys, which allowed the UGA researchers to identify and group them in distinct trajectories for relational aggression and victimization as they progressed from grade six to 12.
“Overall, we found relational aggression to be a very common behavior. Almost all of the students surveyed, 96 percent, had passed a rumor or made a nasty comment about someone over the course of the seven-year study,” said Orpinas, a professor of health promotion and behavior in the College of Public Health.
Experiences of victimization were found to be universal as well. Over 90 percent of the students reported that they had been victims of relational aggression at least once.
The analysis found that students followed three developmental trajectories of perpetration and three similar trajectories of victimization — low, moderate and high declining (that is, very high in middle school and declining in high school).
When examining how these trajectories differed by gender, the data revealed some unexpected results. Significantly more boys than girls fell into the two higher trajectories for relational aggression perpetration, while more girls than boys fell into the two higher trajectories for victimization.
 “We have books, websites and conferences aimed at stopping girls from being aggressive, as well as a lot of qualitative research on why girls are relationally aggressive,” Orpinas said. “But oddly enough, we don’t have enough research on why boys would be relationally aggressive because people have assumed it’s a girl behavior.”
Studies on relational victimization are uncharted territory in scientific literature, Orpinas explained. Much more research is needed to understand why girls are more likely than boys to be targets of relational aggression or to perceive certain acts as aggressive.
While the study may call for more scholarship on “mean boys” and why they behave the way they do, Orpinas said, the findings ultimately emphasize a need to include boys and girls equally in programs aimed at reducing relational aggression.
“In the end, I think we need to ask how we can focus on increasing the positive interactions among kids rather than the negative ones,” she said, “because the kids that students admire are often the ones who are fun and positive about others.”

The article was co-authored by Caroline McNicholas, a doctoral student in the UGA health promotion and behavior department, and Lusine Nahapetyan, an assistant professor of kinesiology and health studies at Southeastern Louisiana University.


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Phone: 715-466-5666