Category Archives: Columns & Features

16 Low Cost Gifts That Mean A Lot

Gifts don’t need to be expensive to create powerful memories. 

In my younger days, I vividly recall both of my grandmothers lamenting how, as we age, the days seem to pass by more quickly. Never is that more true than during the rush and bustle of the end-of-the-year holidays and beginning of a fresh new year. With the holiday season so near, those of us who didn’t finish our shopping in July (I am related to some of those folks, and I did not get that genetic trait!) do our … Continue reading

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Night Hike Sensory Activities

Merge the five senses with nature using a night hike.

Night hikes are always a popular offering for a multitude of reasons that play into one overarching theme: the promise of the unexpected. If your night hikes have become stale, try sprinkling in one or more of these options to up the level of interest and camper excitement. Sight Guess the Color Materials: one crayon for each camper As light dims, so too does the ability of our eyes to discern colors. Once campers are deep in darkness, pass out … Continue reading

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3 Decisions I’m Making This Fall That I Didn’t Make Last Fall

What do you do for personal growth?

“All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” –Calvin Coolidge Last month I shared with you 5 Tools I’m Using This Fall That I Didn’t Use Last. I’d like to follow that up this month with some “things” that I’m choosing to do this fall. You see, growth and progress are incredibly important to me and I would bet they are to you also. Benjamin Franklin reminded us that without them, “words … Continue reading

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Healthy Competition Is Not An Oxymoron

As a psychologist who works with schools and camps around the world, I am often asked whether competition is good or bad. Proponents of competition speak fondly of their athletic victories and about wanting the same experiences for the young people they serve. Competition, they say, builds character. It’s a competitive world out there, so we had better prepare our children.  Some critics of competition want every child to feel like a winner—always. Or, they want no child to feel … Continue reading

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Finding Beauty in an Ashtray

Anything creative and pleasing to the senses can be art.

“What is it?” asked my cabin leader, gently. We both eyed my clay creation as it emerged from the camp kiln, glazed and cooled. I was 12, so I hadn’t made a something; I’d made an anything. It had just been fun to pinch and push the clay for our hour-long arts-and-crafts period. Now came the hard part: I needed to identify my project. “Hmm…” I thought out loud. Finally, my cabin leader said confidently, “Oh, I see. It’s an ashtray.” And there it was. The … Continue reading

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