Category Archives: Dr. Chris Thurber

Giving The Gift Of Trust

There's something to be said for NOT sharing confidences.

During this season of sharing, let us be mindful of one affair we shouldn’t share: confidences. Our friends and family who confide in us deserve our discretion. Indeed, the very definition of integrity is to be true to your word. And if you’ve given someone your word that you’ll keep personal information to yourself, that should be ironclad. Too often in the two workplaces where I spend the most time—camps and independent schools—I hear “in this place, there are no … Continue reading

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Homesickness And Acculturation Stress

It isn't always easy for international campers and staff to adjust to life at camp. © Can Stock Photo Inc./igordutina

Research has shown that upwards of 95 percent of young people report at least some homesickness during a multi-week stay away from home. Even for persons with more experience in being away from home—typically those chronologically older, such as staff—the prevalence rate of homesickness is only somewhat lower. The point is that homesickness is normal. That’s a relief to any camper or counselor who feels uneasy with these feelings.   The linear distance from home has little to do with … Continue reading

Posted in Camp Business, Columns & Features, Dr. Chris Thurber, Issues, Nov/Dec 2012, Staff Training, Writers | Leave a comment

Who’s Your Oboe?

Which staffer sets the tone for your summer camp?

My wife and I were at the symphony last weekend. As is customary, the concertmaster (the violinist who sits closest to the conductor) stood up and pointed to the oboist. The oboist then played an A note at 440 hertz, the worldwide tuning standard. The woodwinds matched the note, then the brass. Then the oboist cranked out another A and the strings tuned up. You’ve probably all heard an orchestra settle in just before the conductor walks out. Last weekend … Continue reading

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Know Your Audience

Do you have staff members whose growl is worse than their bite?

“The most important skill for the people who feed our tiger is that they remember to lock the door when they leave.” These were the irrefutable words of wisdom proffered by my friend, Denis, who directs educational programming at a large zoo in a big city. Denis was dropping some knowledge on the other youth development professionals who participated in Directors’ Camp 2012, held this past weekend in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire. (http://DirectorsCamp.com) “Of course,” Denis continued, “conscientious adults who understand … Continue reading

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Manners Matter

Yes, table manners DO matter! Photo courtesy of Christopher Thurber

Early in the history of organized summer camps, cooks sparked a debate. Directors on one side of the debate argued that camps should be egalitarian utopias that teach self-reliance. Therefore, children should cook for themselves. No servants. Stoke the campfire and bust out the mess kits, they argued. The more children did for themselves at camp, the better. Hired help–cooks, custodians, or groundskeepers–created a class society. Quite the opposite of camps’ stated mission. Directors on the other side of the debate … Continue reading

Posted in Camp Business, Columns & Features, Dr. Chris Thurber, Issues, Sept/Oct 2012, Staff Training, Writers | Leave a comment