Category Archives: Dr. Chris Thurber

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

I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

Find new ways to help all of your campers shine.

Everyone has talents–some obvious, some hidden. At camp, it’s easy to see who the athletes are, somewhat harder to see who the artists are, and almost impossible to see who the intellectuals are. Because enhanced self-esteem is a cornerstone outcome of most camp programs, it is worth reflecting now–post season–about the ways in which your program identifies, cultivates, and showcases talents of all types. Self-esteem, after all, is grounded in feelings of competence. And feeling good about at least one … Continue reading

Posted in Camp Business, Columns & Features, Dr. Chris Thurber, The Week-Ender, Writers | 1 Comment

Ain’t Misbehavin’–On Purpose

Editor’s Note: Dr. Christopher Thurber is out of the country this week. This is an archived Week-Ender blog that was first published last summer. When directors invite me to camp in July, they generally have one thing in mind: Helping staff avoid the fabled “mid-summer slump.” But instead of teaching the staff crazy songs or preaching to them about the importance of their work, I preserve their stamina by changing the way they think. This change in thinking is the … Continue reading

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Boys Will Be Girls…And Girls Will Be Boys

Sure, there are anatomical differences between boys and girls, but even that apparent binary is more confusing than you might think. Indeed, about 1 percent of the young people you work with at camp were probably born intersex. As Anne Fausto-Sterling, author of Sexing the Body, writes: “While male and female stand on the extreme ends of a biological continuum, there are many bodies [...] that evidently mix together anatomical components conventionally attributed to both males and females. The implications … Continue reading

Posted in Camp Business, Dr. Chris Thurber, Issues, Jul/Aug 2012, Writers | Leave a comment

Doubt It or Drill It?

This time of year, I’m in high gear. I’ll visit 22 camps in the 35 days between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. The airport lounges, rental cars and stalled traffic get old fast, but the interaction with directors and staff is endlessly invigorating. Their questions force me to think. This year, more than in any of the previous 15 seasons, I’ve responded to questions about the waterfront. Should water skiers wear helmets like the wake boarders do? Should … Continue reading

Posted in Aquatics, Camp Business, Columns & Features, Departments, Dr. Chris Thurber, The Week-Ender, Writers | Leave a comment