Category Archives: Dr. Chris Thurber

Finding Beauty in an Ashtray

Anything creative and pleasing to the senses can be art.
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“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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My Three Favorite Things to Do with a 3×5 Index Card

The ever-versatile Index Card. Used wisely, it can build a sense of belonging, cure homesickness, and keep you grounded. Who knew?
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This time of year, I use a lot of 3×5 index cards to prop up the legs on LCD projectors. In the past, I’ve used them to shim stair treads, prop doors open, jot to-do lists and outline articles. The humble cardstock rectangle can also serve some powerful educational functions, three of which I’d like to share with you in today’s Week-Ender. #1 The Bunk Nametag The infamous Name Game has many variations, all designed to increase familiarity among campers … Continue reading

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Saving Face in a Bold-faced Lie

"I didn't do it!"
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Kids lie all the time. Grown-ups do, too, in big and small ways. Sometimes we lie to be polite, as in: “That looks fabulous!” or “This is delicious!” Perhaps protecting someone else’s feelings makes lying permissible, but lying to protect ourselves often leads to trouble. So in our work with children, how should we respond to the inevitable lying that occurs? How can we raise truthful youth? “I didn’t do it!” is probably the most common lie youngsters tell. Or, in … Continue reading

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Standing Out

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My 9-year-old son, Sava, took a field trip to the State House in Concord, New Hampshire, with his class on Monday. Like any good parent, I asked him what he learned. “I’m the only kid without a smartphone” was his reply. Interesting civics lesson. Sava went on to describe the one-hour bus ride from Exeter to the state capital. “Everyone pulled out their smartphones and started playing games. All I had was the iPod Shuffle that Grandma gave me.” (What … Continue reading

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A Healthy Lead

Photo courtesy © Can Stock Photo Inc. / photography33

Staff members are usually on top of their game until they start treating their job like one. Once young people lose sight of the importance of caring for other people’s children, taking unhealthy risks increases. By contrast, if they rest playful leadership on the three-legged stool of sleep, exercise, and nutritional food, their resilience and stamina also increase. Ask Not What Your Camp Can Do for You Does this sound idealistic? Do you wonder where on earth you might find … Continue reading

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