As parents we always want to try raise the best kids and often I wonder cano I raise a child that is successful and caring? The research seems to show they parents need to start by looking  at the mixed messages we send. 

The Battle Between Success and Compassion By Vicki Zakrzewski

If you were asked to rank in order of importance academic achievement, happiness, and care for others as priorities for our young people today, how would you respond?
If you’re like most parents and teachers in the U.S., you would place the highest importance on care for others—a very worthy choice and one that science suggests can actually increase the other two outcomes



Yet, a recent U.S. survey of 10,000 middle and high school students conducted by Harvard’s Making Caring Common Project revealed that students believe their parents and teachers prioritize academic achievement and happiness over caring. 
In other words, students are receiving the message from adults that personal success is more important than concern for others. With that being the case, it becomes easier to understand why cheating is rampant among students.
This is a wake-up call for us adults. Even though we may view ourselves as very caring people, and think we’re promoting this value to our young ones, somewhere there’s a disconnect that we need to remedy—and the not-so-easy answer lies within ourselves.

The complexity of care

If getting adults to “walk the talk” of care was as easy as reminding them that they need to do so, then our problem would be solved. But care is very complex, impacted by things such as cultural beliefs and attachment security, and making it a priority in our and our children’s lives sometimes requires us to deeply introspect on how care manifests or not in daily life. 
For example, in a game called “Compassion Continuum” designed by compassion-expert Brooke Dodson-Lavelle, adult participants are asked how much compassion they would feel for their child who gave a speech in school and failed. Most people respond that they would feel a lot of compassion. Then they are asked how much compassion they would feel for another child who had given a speech and failed, but who had also bullied the participant’s own child. As you can imagine, the responses are all over the board—a perfect example of how caring for others is not always black and white and perhaps one reason why our youth, who are equipped with hyper-sensitive radar for hypocrisy, are getting mixed messages from adults.
Ultimately, our view of care is wrapped up in who we are—it’s part of our identity. And, according to Harvard professor and adult development expert Robert Kegan, changing part of one’s identity requires transformation at our deepest core. While the process is neither fast nor easy, it can yield great rewards.

Changing our view of care

After decades of research and practice in adult learning, Kegan posits that in order to truly change, we have to become aware of our unconscious emotions, habits, and beliefs that run our lives so that we can instead reflect on these internal constructs and change them if necessary. 
But this unearthing process can elicit anxiety. For example, many parents and teachers know something has to change with the staggering pressure our students are under to succeed academically, particularly as this pressure is leading to an increase in mental illness

Need more ideas on how to cultivate caring children?

Click here for a downloadable, reader-friendly list of research-based suggestions from Harvard's Making Caring Common Project.
However, the thought of having to change our beliefs about success fills many of us with anxiety because it would require us to consider our own identity around success. A parent who is concerned about the academic pressure on his or her child may be forced to examine the belief that getting into a top university will lead to a materially successful life. Upon deeper self-examination, the parent may be surprised to find that this belief is supported by other beliefs such as a materially successful life is the only way a child will be secure and happy in this world. And if a child is not secure and happy, then the parent has potentially failed in his or her parental responsibility. 
The depth of this kind of reflection may be too threatening for many of us. Thus, we unconsciously manage this anxiety by continuing on with status quo. And, hence, our children might get the message that success is more important to us than care.
So how do we start aligning our priority of care with our actions? The process that Kegan and co-author Lisa Lahey outline in their book Immunity to Change is a multi-step approach, the explanation of which would require more room than I have in this blog. However, I can offer these few suggestions based on their work:

1. Start by reflecting on the care you give and receive in your life—or lack thereof—in order to bring to conscious awareness how much care impacts you. Examine how you care for yourself and how you and your loved ones—including your pets—care for each other. Then expand this view to include the care between you and a stranger on the street, the grocery clerk, and/or a difficult work colleague. Now broaden your view of care to examine care at a societal level, from business practices to childcare options to equity to gender roles to political systems.

Did you find yourself getting emotional at any point in this reflection? For example, did a situation that lacks care make you feel angry or scared or sad? If so, why? Kegan and Lahey state that underlying every challenging situation or behavior is an “emotional ecology” that we must explore in order to understand where our potential limitations lie, and their book outlines a very specific and in-depth process to do so. Only when these limitations that have been driving our actions without us realizing it are brought to conscious awareness can we start to change them.

And once you’ve identified these limiting behaviors, Kegan suggests that instead of trying to defend them, admit them with all “their embarrassing glory”. I would also recommend practicing self-compassion, realizing, as self-compassion expert Kristin Neff posits, that you’re not alone. All of humanity struggles with challenging internal constructs. 

2. Ask yourself if there is enough at stake to warrant a change. According to Kegan and Lahey, the process of transformation at this depth can be very challenging, so we have to be sure that we’re willing to try. They have found that people are motivated to change for several reasons, including: if they don’t change, something or someone they love will be harmed; not reaching a goal has become impossible to live with; or there is “deep discrepancy” within themselves.

For instance, a teacher or parent who learns that at the root of a child’s anxiety and panic is the child’s belief that he or she is loved and accepted only when academically successful may be motivated to make some radical changes in his or her own behavior and beliefs.

3. Test out new ways of being. Once you have identified a core limitation, then Kegan and Lahey recommend trying another mode of behavior that acts against this limitation. For example, if you responded with anger to a bullying situation similar to the one described above—anger that was perhaps motivated by your own experience of being bullied—you might try acting compassionately towards the bully and see what happens. If you notice a positive change, then keep doing it.

The reward for all this inner work, according to Kegan and Lahey, is a release from the anxiety caused by the denial of our unconscious emotions, beliefs, and habits. “You [will be able to] scan the world,” write the authors, “for more promising possibilities and bring to your own living a deep restfulness that you may never before have known.” 

By examining and shifting our beliefs and practices of care, we may find that our relationships with ourselves, our loved ones, our colleagues, strangers on the street, and perhaps the rest of the world are transformed into something we could never have imagined—and we may become more successful and happier as a result.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a begger; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” And I would add that part of that restructuring includes ourselves.

Resilience is just one of the many benefits children receive from camp. Over the years parents have asked us what they can do to increase a child's resilience at home.  The following are some thoughts.
  1. Make connections 

  2. Teach your child how to make friends, including the skill of empathy, or feeling another's pain. Encourage your child to be a friend in order to get friends. Build a strong family network to support your child through his or her inevitable disappointments and hurts. At school, watch to make sure that one child is not being isolated. Connecting with people provides social support and strengthens resilience. Some find comfort in connecting with a higher power, whether through organized religion or privately and you may wish to introduce your child to your own traditions of worship.

  3. Help your child by having him or her help others 

  4. Children who may feel helpless can be empowered by helping others. Engage your child in age-appropriate volunteer work, or ask for assistance yourself with some task that he or she can master. At school, brainstorm with children about ways they can help others.

  5. Maintain a daily routine 

  6. Sticking to a routine can be comforting to children, especially younger children who crave structure in their lives. Encourage your child to develop his or her own routines.

  7. Take a break 

  8. While it is important to stick to routines, endlessly worrying can be counter-productive. Teach your child how to focus on something besides what's worrying him. Be aware of what your child is exposed to that can be troubling, whether it be news, the Internet or overheard conversations, and make sure your child takes a break from those things if they trouble her. Although schools are being held accountable for performance on standardized tests, build in unstructured time during the school day to allow children to be creative.

  9. Teach your child self-care 

  10. Make yourself a good example, and teach your child the importance of making time to eat properly, exercise and rest. Make sure your child has time to have fun, and make sure that your child hasn't scheduled every moment of his or her life with no "down time" to relax. Caring for oneself and even having fun will help your child stay balanced and better deal with stressful times.

  11. Move toward your goals 

  12. Teach your child to set reasonable goals and then to move toward them one step at a time. Moving toward that goal — even if it's a tiny step — and receiving praise for doing so will focus your child on what he or she has accomplished rather than on what hasn't been accomplished, and can help build the resilience to move forward in the face of challenges. At school, break down large assignments into small, achievable goals for younger children, and for older children, acknowledge accomplishments on the way to larger goals.

  13. Nurture a positive self-view 

  14. Help your child remember ways that he or she has successfully handled hardships in the past and then help him understand that these past challenges help him build the strength to handle future challenges. Help your child learn to trust himself to solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Teach your child to see the humor in life, and the ability to laugh at one's self. At school, help children see how their individual accomplishments contribute to the wellbeing of the class as a whole.

  15. Keep things in perspective and maintain a hopeful outlook 

  16. Even when your child is facing very painful events, help him look at the situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Although your child may be too young to consider a long-term look on his own, help him or her see that there is a future beyond the current situation and that the future can be good. An optimistic and positive outlook enables your child to see the good things in life and keep going even in the hardest times. In school, use history to show that life moves on after bad events.

  17. Look for opportunities for self-discovery 

  18. Tough times are often the times when children learn the most about themselves. Help your child take a look at how whatever he is facing can teach him "what he is made of." At school, consider leading discussions of what each student has learned after facing down a tough situation.

  19. Accept that change is part of living 

  20. Change often can be scary for children and teens. Help your child see that change is part of life and new goals can replace goals that have become unattainable. In school, point out how students have changed as they moved up in grade levels and discuss how that change has had an impact on the students.

They say in America these days our kids are having less opportunities to be challenged in a positive way and therefore having a negative impact on them as adults.

Please read below and see how camp can help supplement your child's personal growth.

Building Resilience in Children
The world can be a frightening place. As a parent, I am constantly aware of choices that I make to minimize my perception of fear and uncertainty. Death, illness,divorce, crime, war, child abductions, tsunamis, and terrorism — both here and abroad — have defined an evolving landscape for raising our families. How do we manage to parent from a place of love and understanding, not fear and paranoia?
It’s not possible to protect our children from the ups and downs of life. Raising resilient children, however, is possible and can provide them with the tools they need to respond to the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood and to navigate successfully in adulthood. Despite our best efforts, we cannot prevent adversity and daily stress; but we can learn to be more resilient by changing how we think about challenges and adversities.
Today’s families, especially our children, are under tremendous stress with the potential to damage both physical health and psychological well-being.
The stress comes from families who are always on the go, who are overscheduled with extracurricular activities, and ever-present peer pressure. In the teen years, the anxiety and pressure are related to getting into “the” college.
In today’s environment, children and teens need to develop strengths, acquire skills to cope, recover from hardships, and be prepared for future challenges. They need to be resilient in order to succeed in life. 
That is why Kenneth Ginsburg, M.D., MS Ed, FAAP, a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), has joined forces with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to author A Parent’s Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings. The new book provides a dynamic resource to help parents and caregivers build resilience in children, teens, and young adults.
Dr. Ginsburg has identified seven “C”s of resilience, recognizing that “resilience isn’t a simple, one-part entity.” Parents can use these guidelines to help their children recognize their abilities and inner resources.



Competence describes the feeling of knowing that you can handle a situation effectively. We can help the development of competence by:
  • Helping children focus on individual strengths
  • Focusing any identified mistakes on specific incidents
  • Empowering children to make decisions
  • Being careful that your desire to protect your child doesn’t mistakenly send a message that you don’t think he or she is competent to handle things
  • Recognizing the competencies of siblings individually and avoiding comparisons



A child’s belief in his own abilities is derived from competence. Build confidence by:
  • Focusing on the best in each child so that he or she can see that, as well 
  • Clearly expressing the best qualities, such as fairness, integrity, persistence, and kindness
  • Recognizing when he or she has done well
  • Praising honestly about specific achievements; not diffusing praise that may lack authenticity
  • Not pushing the child to take on more than he or she can realistically handle



Developing close ties to family and community creates a solid sense of security that helps lead to strong values and prevents alternative destructive paths to love and attention. You can help your child connect with others by:
  • Building a sense of physical safety and emotional security within your home 
  • Allowing the expression of all emotions, so that kids will feel comfortable reaching out during difficult times 
  • Addressing conflict openly in the family to resolve problems
  • Creating a common area where the family can share time (not necessarily TV time)
  • Fostering healthy relationships that will reinforce positive messages



Children need to develop a solid set of morals and values to determine right from wrong and to demonstrate a caring attitude toward others. To strengthen your child’s character, start by:
  • Demonstrating how behaviors affect others
  • Helping your child recognize himself or herself as a caring person
  • Demonstrating the importance of community
  • Encouraging the development of spirituality
  • Avoiding racist or hateful statements or stereotypes



Children need to realize that the world is a better place because they are in it. Understanding the importance of personal contribution can serve as a source of purpose and motivation. Teach your children how to contribute by:
  • Communicating to children that many people in the world do not have what they need 
  • Stressing the importance of serving others by modeling generosity
  • Creating opportunities for each child to contribute in some specific way



Learning to cope effectively with stress will help your child be better prepared to overcome life’s challenges. Positive coping lessons include:
  • Modeling positive coping strategies on a consistent basis
  • Guiding your child to develop positive and effective coping strategies
  • Realizing that telling him or her to stop the negative behavior will not be effective 
  • Understanding that many risky behaviors are attempts to alleviate the stress and pain in kids’ daily lives 
  • Not condemning your child for negative behaviors and, potentially, increasing his or her sense of shame



Children who realize that they can control the outcomes of their decisions are more likely to realize that they have the ability to bounce back. Your child’s understanding that he or she can make a difference further promotes competence and confidence. You can try to empower your child by:
  • Helping your child to understand that life’s events are not purely random and that most things that happen are the result of another individual’s choices and actions 
  • Learning that discipline is about teaching, not punishing or controlling; using discipline to help your child to understand that his actions produce certain consequences
Dr. Ginsburg summarizes what we know for sure about the development of resilience in kids by the following:
  • Children need to know that there is an adult in their life who believes in them and loves them unconditionally.
  • Kids will live “up” or “down” to our expectations. 
There is no simple answer to guarantee resilience in every situation. But we can challenge ourselves to help our children develop the ability to negotiate their own challenges and to be more resilient, more capable, and happier.


Overview of Stress

  • There will always be stress in our lives. 
  • Stress is an important tool that can aid in our survival.
  • Our body’s reaction to stress is mediated through a complex interplay of sensory input—sights and sounds—as well as the brain and nervous system, hormones, and the body’s cells and organs.
  • Emotions play an important role in how we experience stress because the brain is the conductor of this system. The way we think about stress and what we choose to do about it can affect the impact of a stressful event.
This article was featured in Healthy Children Magazine. To view the full issue, click here.

Daily at camp we promote Grataude. It can come in many way from enjoying our nice weather, nature or even friendships. We believe if gratitude was part of very life we would build a kinder group of folks. I recently found this article that we think could help parents continue what we do at SNC.


10 Ways to Build Gratitude In Our Children

by Darcy Kimmel

It’s a scene that we’ve all witnessed and one that’s all too familiar to most moms: a screaming kid having a tantrum in the aisle of some store because he is not getting something that he wants and thinks he deserves. We all feel for the mom because we’ve been there before, and we all whisper a quick prayer of thanks that this time it isn’t our child having the fit.
Many of us, hoping to put a quick end to this embarrassing scene, cave and give our child what he wants, only to have him start the entire process over again in the next aisle. One thing I have learned after raising four children is that giving our children everything they want does not make them more grateful. Instead it makes them more demanding and ungrateful.
I encourage moms to look over the horizon and see the child that they hope to usher into the future and be willing to do the hard work necessary to build that child from the inside out with character.
A compassionate parent—one who is looking out beyond the immediate—knows that gratitude is a life skill that every child needs to learn. An ungrateful person is unpleasant to be around, never satisfied. She lives with an attitude of entitlement and disappointment; she is not a happy camper, in other words, and not likely to succeed in life, love, and work.
Although character building is a 24/7/365 task for us as parents, there are some seasons and events that are custom-made to teach character to our children. This season of Thanksgiving gives us ample opportunities to reinforce the development of gratitude as a vital part of our children’s character.
Below are 10 ways to build gratitude into our children’s hearts: 
1. Start with God. Make sure your children are reminded daily through words and actions that God is the giver of all good gifts. Without a lot of piety but with lots of sincerity, let your kids see you praising God for His daily provision.
2. Lead the way. Express your gratitude to your spouse and your children frequently. Make it a natural part of your conversation to point out the actions, attitudes, and attributes you have observed in them for which you are grateful. You are priming the pump with your children when they know you are grateful for them.
3. Stop your grumbling. Our children not only learn gratitude from us, they learn how to complain and whine from our example as well. The next time you’re tempted to gripe about your circumstances, take stock and have an attitude adjustment.
4. Less is more. Remember that indulging children only makes them less grateful for what they have. Next time you’re tempted to give them more just to keep them happy, stop and help them be happy with what they have.
5. Learn to say no. Our children have the same human nature that all of us are born with, and left unchecked, it will consume them. Don’t be afraid to put a limit on how much stuff they have or how many things they get to do. When you say no to some things, it makes your children notice and be grateful for those times when you say yes.
6. Teach them the value of what they have. One of the best ways to do this is to have them earn the next “want” that they have. When a child actually has to work for the money or privilege to satisfy a “have to have,” he or she will be much more appreciative of its value.
7. Help your children express their gratitude. Make sure you’re training your children to honor those who are serving them—their Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, piano teachers, coaches, and school teachers. Help them bake cookies or frame a special photo for them as a way of saying, “Thanks for all you do for me.”
8. Let them see the other side. Many times our kids are ungrateful because they have no idea how blessed they are compared to most of the world. Make serving others who are less fortunate a lifestyle. My husband, Tim, says in his book, Raising Kids for True Greatness, that the antidote to spoiled, rebellious kids is getting them out of their “me” world and into the world of others.
9. Count your blessings. Whenever possible, have your children recount the many ways God has provided for them that day. Before grace is said at the table, have everyone chime in with their latest blessings. And before evening prayers, review the day with your children as you remind them of God’s many blessings to them. Then encourage them to speak their thanks to God before they drift off to sleep.
10. Be patient. Your children’s natural propensity is to focus on what they want and not what they have. Any character trait takes time and practice to become a habit.
Character building is hard work, but it pays off big time in the lives of our children and in our future relationship with them. Remember to pray for your children and continue to model gratitude in your own life. Someday, they may surprise you with an unprompted “thank you.” When they do, try not to fall off your chair!

What do you know about Wisconsin? Chances are you imagine cows, Harley Davidson motorcycles and the beautiful capitol of Madison. Yet, north of all that is the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Filled with all its natural beauty. In the sky you can see eagles all around swooping down to catch a fish in a nearby lake or stream. If your quiet you might just hear a loon or a wolf in the background. This is what America looked like 100 years ago. Until you experience the simple beauty, you can’t begin to imagine what you will find there. Wisconsin is also home to many children's summer camps. Choosing a summer camp in Wisconsin offers your child a chance to experience nature and the environment unlike any other place in the Midwest. At Camp Nature Swift your child gets the opportunity to play, make friend sand learn new skills, all this in the warm sun of the wonderful northwoods of Wisconsin.

Over the past few years I have been happy to act as the Vice President of the Midwest Association of Independent Camps (M.A.I.C.).We represent the very best independently owned and operated summer camps in the Midwest. MAIC includes kids' summer camps in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana. Our organization educates and inspires camping professionals to be their very best.
MAIC is a group of camp professionals who are dedicated to promoting high quality standards in organized camping, while offering children and their parents the best possible summer camp experience. Members of MAIC have been meeting together and sharing ideas, methods and practices since 1960.
To parents looking for a top quality resident camp or day camp in the Midwest: we are a great place to start your camp search. is a camp directory that represents over 45 of the very best summer camps in the midwest.
If you are looking for an amazing summer camp job working with children, be sure to choose an MAIC camp and start your search 
Remember MAIC camps are family run camps that are concerned for each child’s safety and emotional development. Above all else M.A.I.C. camps = fun, fun, fun, fun!

Ever heard of Google Earth? Well, it lets you find everywhere! Including Swift Nature Camp! Can you find it here? A hint look at the bottom of the photo and you will see town...Maybe even the Village Scoop Ice Cream Shop. From there, go north and to the West. Still not sure? Try signing up for google earth and take a fly by. If you don’t know where to look try just typing in Swift Nature Campand it will fly you right to camp. It is so much easier than taking the bus.

So be sure to go to 
Google Earth and download the special program.
It’s cool to see camp from this view...Maybe this is what it is like being an eagle in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. So tune in to google earth and be you’ll be amazed.

JOIN SMORECAMP....its alot like facebook but only for Summercamp friends!

Its Free and if you join today you can start meeting staff and campers long before you arrive at SNC! is a great way to re-create camp memories and continue to make new ones. Through photos, videos, posts, email and blogs, you can re-live your days as a camper and keep that special camp feeling all year long. You can make and listen to your own camp songbook, as well as post your cabin groups (bunks), activities and levels achieved, trips, pranks, traditions, and so much more.

* Keep in touch with your friends!
* Find new Friends!
* Create your own profile page!
* Upload all your camp photos!
* Prank your Friends

Wisconsin! When you hear that state mentioned, I'm sure you imagine cows, Harley Davidson motorcycles and the beautiful capitol of Madison. Yet, north of all that is the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Filled with all its natural beauty. In the sky you can see eagles all around swooping down to catch a fish in a nearby lake or stream. If your quiet you might just hear a loon or a wolf in the background. This is what America looked like 100 years ago. Until you experience the simple beauty, you can’t begin to imagine what you will find there. 

Children thrive in Wisconsin Summer Camps.Camp offers your child a chance to...

experience nature unlike any other place in the Midwest. At Swift Nature Camp your child gets the opportunity to play, make friend sand learn new skills, all this in the warm sun of the wonderful northwoods of Wisconsin.

Your child will have an unparalleled experience Camp Nature Swift in Wisconsin. This ACA accredited camp has been teaching lucky children how to have a great summer for over 40 years. Dedicated to the spirit of Ernie Swift the camps goal is to enjoy a traditional summer camp while encouraging children to respect nature and to understand it in a more profound way, Children learn why and how to become good stewards of the environment. It is through direct experience and hands on activities that we inspire kids to be environmentally conscious when they return home. This Kids summer camp is so much more, with their dedication to the environment. It is fun with a purpose.

A Perfect Summer Camps.

The children have such a diverse selection of activities at this Wisconsin summer camp that they can barely fit it all in during their stay! From horseback riding and swimming to archery and craft making the time is action packed with fun filled adventure that your child won’t stop talking about. It will be the best summer camp experience for your child. Camp Nature Swift is no exception and even has a special program for those first time campers. Swift Camp is dedicated to the spirit of Naturalist Ernie Swift. The camps goal is to provide a traditional summer camp while encouraging children to respect nature and to understand it in a more profound way, This ACA accredited camp has been helping children have a great summer for over 40 years. 

Our Discovery Program is dedicated to those children going to camp for the first time. This special session is unlike any other overnight camp because it is designed to give additional attention to those children a little reluctant to leave home for their first summer camp experience. Regardless if your child is a first time campers or is experienced at overnight backpacking and canoeing trips your child can attend this camp.

To learn more about picking the best summer camp for your child visit 
Discover amazing and unexpected works of art as you make your way through the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin, along the banks...

 Discover amazing and unexpected works of art as you make your way through the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin, along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi, along the shores of Lake Michigan and into the Northwoods to visit the Wisconsin Concrete Park. Each of these FREE roadside attractions, known as art environments, tells a unique American story in art, tracing the maker's cultural heritage and rich traditions. Spend a day, a weekend, or an extended vacation exploring the art, architecture, and gardens of one indoor site and eight outdoor sites. Follow one of the self-guided tours or create your own, then share your unique and fun experiences on Facebook - just search for Wandering Wisconsin.
NEW 2010 maps are available now, 


25 Baybrook Ln.

Oak Brook, IL 60523

Phone: 630-654-8036


W7471 Ernie Swift Rd.

Minong, WI 54859

Phone: 715-466-5666