Firecrackers and Confetti: Resolutions for Happy Girls

December 16, 2014

A happy girl’s guide to this year’s New Year’s Resolutions.

1. I resolve to go on at least one adventure a day.

Adventures of the pack-up-your-suitcase, walk-in-the-woods, live-by-the-seat-of-your-pants persuasion are lovely and, very often, inaccessible. Climbing Mt. Everest is hard, but big adventures are everywhere- unopened doors, questions just waiting to be asked, roads less traveled. A right turn instead of a left, can begin a grand adventure!

Flag2. I resolve, everyday, to learn one new thing about my family.

Engage with the people you love. Ask them about who they are. Ask them about their day, their passions, their history, their successes. Give your family the opportunity to share their stories.

3. I resolve to find gratitude for at least one thing that did happen and one thing that didn’t happen.

Psychologist Chris Thurber tells us that just as important as it is to rejoice in what you have, life also moves forward when you acknowledge what you don’t. For example, you weren’t expecting a fire today and be thankful there wasn’t one.

4. I resolve to burn fewer cookies.

Thurber also points out, when you throw a batch of two dozen cookies in the oven and twenty of them burn, savor your four successes. Then, consider how you can recalibrate to burn fewer of the next batch. Life requires a few tweaks now and again.

5. I resolve to let the sky be my limit.

Once a day, aim to see things not how they are, but how they could be.

6. I resolve to go where there is no guarantee.

Share yourself with the world. Never hold back, even when your efforts have no guarantees.

friends7. I resolve to start every day believing that I am a somebody and end each day as a better somebody.

Start each day believing that you are somebody- you are worthy of love and connection and you have amazing things to offer. Then, let each day change you for the better.

8. I resolve to be a tough cookie.

Set backs, scraped knees, a scraped ego. A life filled with challenge is a life filled with color and possibility. Be tough enough to absorb life’s lessons.

9. I resolve to be astonished.

Stay amazed. Life is an endless journey of firecrackers and confetti.

10. I resolve to give.

Your value increases in proportion to how much of it you give away. Holding tightly to your time and money can, ultimately, narrow your wealth.

11. I resolve to be a party animal.

The world is a party and you can be the life of it! Life is like a stick of gum- you can simply chew it or you can blow bubbles.

fireworks12. I resolve to never stop making mistakes.

Mistakes are open doors. Mistakes are proof that you are as alive as you’ve ever been. Mistakes mean that you are a take-risks, sing-out-loud, love-with-your-whole-heart, share-what’s-on-your-mind, change-the-world, happy girl!


68 Ways To Illuminate The World

October 28, 2014

68 simple ways to make the world a better place.

North Carolina

1. Be curious
2. Lend a hand
3. Learn all you can
4. Be gentle with those who make mistakes- including yourself
5. Share
6. If you don’t have to step on that bug, don’t
7. Upcycle, recycle, reuse, home make- turn trash into treasure
8. Be open, stay soft, be flexible
9. Ask questions
10. Remember names
11. Put people first
12. Invest in your neighbors daily
13. Listen
14. Don’t stop at the surface
15. Say, “I love you”
16. Withhold judgement
17. Start over whenever you need to
18. Reach out
19. Try
20. Advocate for something

Friends
21. Plant a seed
22. Add laughter where can
23. Spend time outdoors
24. Let others have the right-of-way
25. Give thanks
26. Say thanks
27. Give people a chance (or two)
28. Dismiss perfectionism
29. Explore
30. Every now and then, ignore the mirror
31. Start from the heart
32. Choose words that lift people up
33. Buy two, give one away
34. Sometimes, step up- other times, stand back
35. Hear people out
36. Seek understanding
37. Never boo- always cheer
38. Have a hankering, a sweet tooth, for life
39. For someone in need, give up your place in line
40. Be humble
41. Appreciate yesterday, but move on from it
42. Celebrate even the smallest of achievements
43. If you can lighten someone’s load, do it
44. Invest in children
45. Don’t turn a blind eye
46. Trust
47. Pats on the back, high fives, hugs- reach out and touch
48. Celebrate others
49. Celebrate success
50. Celebrate failures
51. From harvest to heart- honor the work that goes into a good meal
52. Bring life wherever you go
53. Don’t give too much thought to what happens behind your back
54. Deliver bad news tenderly
55. Remember what it’s like to be every age you’ve been thus far
56. Be someone’s safe haven
57. Stay true to truth and dare to dare
58. Break as many falls as possible
59. If you can’t find splendor at first glance, take a second

Love
60. Give compliments
61. Accept compliments
62. Think long and hard before you ever swing a fist
63. Recognize lessons everywhere
64. Show up for tomorrow
65. Trust in your ability to do hard things
66. Lean on someone
67. Let someone lean on you
68. Be of service


A City Year Congratulations!

October 27, 2014

Mollica 2

A big congratulations to our drama teacher Kay! She’s been selected as a corps member by City Year in Boston. Her next school year will be dedicated to helping students succeed the classroom. We’re so excited for Boston to experience the charisma and passion that Kay shares with our own camp community. Way to go!

 

Mollica

 

 

 


Journal Topics for Leaders

September 19, 2014

We all have the potential to impact the world in a meaningful and lasting way. Learning who we are and what we have to offer takes time, patience, and thoughtful self-reflection. Allow the following questions help you discover your own capacity for leadership. Blue Ridge Mountains

 

1. Consider the concept of control as a leadership principle. Rather than attempting to control others, how can you enhance your ability to lead by controlling your own feelings and actions?

2. Challenges will help to define your leadership style. In moments of struggle, how will you remain disciplined enough to act in accordance to the purpose you’ve set forth for yourself?

3. Consider all the ways that your life has fallen into place at the exact right moment at the exact right time in the exact right order to lead you to this moment. Life has conspired to help you make an impact on those around you. How will your acknowledgment and gratitude toward these things impact who you are as a leader?

Frog4.  Your integrity and credibility define your ability to lead. List experiences when you intentionally allowed ethics to drive your actions.

5. A successful leader values others and keeps a constant awareness on what she can learn from them. How will you work to remain open to perspectives different from your own?

6. Altruism serves as a solid foundation for leadership. List how you put people first.

7. As a leader, you’ll dedicate your life to resisting your own immediate desires and shortcomings in favor of long term success. Consider your vices. How will you work to gain control over these?

8. Leadership begins with a strong belief in your work and an ability to communicate this meaning to others. What makes your work meaningful? How can you share this meaning with the world?

9. Effective leaders empower others by encouraging autonomy and mastery. What tools can you Rockclimbingemploy to help others feel independent?

10. Leaders choose meaningful, deep interactions over surface exchanges. How do you take an interest in people?

11. Effective leaders understand how to manage conflicting personalities. How can you reconcile people of divergent belief systems to create a cohesive group?

12. Negotiating a wavering sense self-assurance can greatly enhance your capacity for leadership; it promotes empathy and a sense of authenticity. How will you navigate your fears and feelings of self-doubt to enhance your ability to lead?


Staff Development: Sample Lesson Plan

August 26, 2014

The perfect shotPartner work can have a powerful affect on a staff development curriculum. This lesson plan focuses strongly on elements of staff accountability and communication. Our goal is to subtly guide cabin leaders to communicate the ideals of camp within the framework of their own experiences. This lesson is best presented mid-season.

Materials Needed:

Large slips of paper, pens, ziplock bags or small jars

Instructions:

1. Staff are instructed to sit with a partner. (Counselors will switch partners throughout this activity, ten partners total.)

2. On a slip of paper, staff then write a response to a prompt (see below) read by the group’s facilitator (one prompt response per slip of paper).

3. Upon completion, staff will fold their responses and present the folded slip of paper to their partner. (It is critical that each partner cannot see the other’s written response).

4. Partners then place the folded response, without looking at it, from their partner into their ziplock bag or mason jar.

5. This pattern continues for three prompts per partner set.

6. This entire activity will yield a total of thirty different responses for each staff member to store in their bag or jar. Staff can read each response from their partners in any way they desire- they can read the prompt responses all at once, one each day, one each time they need a piece of inspiration, etc…

Blue Ridge ParkwayPartner #1: Focus- Cabin Culture

1. Write a statement that makes your partner feel powerful and confident in her capabilities as a cabin leader. This can be advice, a compliment, a recount of a camper’s description of your partner- or anything else you can think of!
2. Suggest how your partner can pamper herself during challenging moments at camp. How do you suggest your partner step back and relax when she feels overwhelmed?
3. Write a “big picture” statement. Remind your partner of the dent that her work in her cabin is making in the universe.

Partner #2: Focus- Program Objectives

1. What can your partner do when she wants to add new excitement, zip, and illumination to her teaching style at camp? Give her ideas.
2. Remind your partner how the energy and effort she puts into teaching her activity is actually changing the world. How is her hard work making our corner of the world a better place? What is it doing for our campers?
3. Give your partner a unique and creative idea to add a little spunk and spark to her activity’s lesson plans. If you were a camper in your partner’s activity, what would you like to learn and do?

Partner #3: Focus- Navigating A Session Change

1. Tell your partner what you really admire about her. How she can keep this element of her character strong even in moments of fatigue?
2. Describe how you think the new session’s campers will remember your partner.
3. Share a quote or saying that you think will inspire your partner’s stamina and endurance.

Camp CraftsPartner #4: Focus- Gratitude

1. List ten things that your partner can be thankful for here at camp.
2. Tell your partner why you’re thankful for her.
3. Tell your partner why she should always remain thankful to her campers.

Partner #5: Focus- Life Beyond Camp

1. Tell your partner how she can use her experience in this job to elevate her next academic year or her next year in her career.
2. Remind your partner of her potential and capacity to change the world for the better.
3. Suggest five skills and traits of your partner that she can use on a resumè or highlight in an interview.

Partner #6: Focus- Happiness and Laughter 

1. Tell your partner three things that will make her happy.
2. Describe and thank your partner for a time when she made someone else happy.
3. Write a joke to make your partner laugh.

Partner #7: Focus- Negotiating Feelings of Fatigue in a Job that Requires Energy and Effort

1. Write something, anything, that will give your partner good, energetic vibes.
2. Share with your partner how you navigate your own feelings of fatigue- these tips and tricks may help her too!
3. Work often requires us to give of ourselves completely. Even in moments of fatigue, explain to your partner why this job is worth doing.

Climb to the topPartner #8: Focus- Morals and Ethics

1. How will your partner impact her campers as she makes morals and ethics the driving force behind all of her actions during the camp season?
2. Think of the little ways that we can “slip” in our job description at camp- staying up late, lingering a touch too long in the staff lounge, etc… Remind your partner of how her own experience will be enhanced if she stays strong and resists these little moments of temptation.
3. Your partner is a role model. Share with your partner how her high standards and morals inspires those she works with.

Partner #9: Focus- Challenges and Conflict

1. Name a time when you observed your partner artfully and effectively solve a problem.
2. What is it about your partner that makes her so well equipped to handle the world and whatever it throws her way?
3. Anticipate a challenge that your partner may encounter this week. Based on your knowledge of her capabilities and skills, how do you foresee her successfully solving the problem?

Dog DaysPartner #10: Focus- Our Imprint

1. Why should your partner dedicate her summer to giving her absolute all to this job, her campers, her peers, and herself?
2. How has your partner impacted the camp community thus far?
3. For the remainder of the summer, how can your partner work to make everybody feel like a somebody?


Staff Training: Ideas and Instruction

August 20, 2014

Reflection is an essential component of any staff development curriculum. The following topics provide a solid foundation for individual contemplation as well as ideas to stimulate large and small group discussion. This material focuses a staff’s attention and efforts while it also communicates clear expectations of a camper-centric work ethic. These themes also help to reveal the meaning and power behind a staff’s work and purpose during the camp season. Each question can be easily tailored to reflect an individual camp’s philosophies, missions, and program objectives. Most of these questions are best presented to a staff at the middle or end of a camp season.

1. Describe a time this summer when you completely exceeded your expectations for yourself.

2. This summer, did you experience more moments that were professionally rewarding or professionally challenging? Throughout the season, did you focus more attention on the rewarding moments or the challenging ones?

3. Describe a moment with campers that made you stop and think.

4. Practice gratitude. Create a list of ways to thank yourself on your time off.

5. Do you have a role model on staff? Identify what you admire about her.

Climing Mountains6. Can you recollect a time when you solved a problem by stepping back and using a sense of humor? Conversely, can you recollect a time when you solved a problem by stepping in and taking yourself and the situation completely seriously?

7. Share a positive thought for the start of each day.

8. Describe one topic that you’re passionate about outside of camp and explain why you’re so dedicated to it.

9. Set a milestone to celebrate with your campers this summer. What will it be and how will you celebrate it?

10. Describe a time when you thought and acted beyond your own immediate needs for the good of the camp community.

11. Create an award to present to the entire staff.

12. Name a way that this job will affect your life outside of camp.

13. Name one thing that you offer the camp community that is uniquely your own; something that can never quite be replicated.

14. Imagine that you’re giving advice to next summer’s staff. What would you like to say to them?

Water Fall15. How do you define “success” at camp?

16. Is there anything about yourself that you wish you’d known at the start of the season?

17. Imagine that you’re writing a thank you note to your campers. How will you thank them for who they are and what they’ve taught you about yourself and your place in the world?

18. Imagine that you’re writing a thank you note to your co cabin leader (or program instructor). How will you thank her for who she is and what she’s taught you about yourself and your place in the world?

19. If your campers learn just one thing this summer, what do you hope it is?

20. What has this job done for you? What have you done for this job?

21. Describe a time this summer when you were pushed to think outside the box.

22. If you could take one thing that you’ve learned in this job and incorporate it into your life, everyday, what would it be?

23. Name your favorite place at camp and a moment that you shared with a camper there.

24. In the last 24 hours, try to count how many times your campers have made you smile. In the last 24 hours, try to count how many times you’ve made your campers smile.

Garden25. Did anything happen this summer that you expect to impact your next off-season year for the better.

26. What is the quickest way to make someone smile? Do you do this often throughout your day?

27. If this summer has encouraged you to add any three things to your life’s bucket list, what are they?

28.Describe five random acts of kindness that you’ve witnessed this season.

29. What are our ultimate goals for our campers? How can we begin our work with these in mind?

30. If you could teach humanity a single lesson, what would it be?

31. If you had to create a time capsule to represent your work this summer, what would you put in it?

32. Give an example of a minor victory that we can celebrate as a staff.

America33. Was there a mystery that you solved this summer?

34. Describe how we’re making a difference throughout our day’s work.

35. Name three character traits that are essential to being an effective and successful cabin leader.

36. Did you build anything from scratch this season? (Think beyond things here.)


How To Have A Good Day On A Bad Day (And 100 Other Thoughts On Life)

April 17, 2014

Even when it seems like the walls are caving in, life can be a total blast. Below are 100 thoughts on how to live a good, fun, full life.

1. If it seems like the sky is falling, catch it.

2. It’s not the number of zeros on your paycheck that makes you rich.

3. Knowing right from wrong is only half the battle.

4. A smile will do more for your face than any powder, shadow, or serum.

5. Stop signs exist for a reason (as do blinkers).

6. Ask people questions about themselves. They love it.

7. Before a dinner party, memorize at least three jokes.

8. You’re never too old to jump on a trampoline.

9. More than likely, the book is better than the movie.

10. Get to know your neighbors.

11. If you use the last of the toilet paper, change the roll.

12. Hold the door.

13. Admit when you’re wrong.

14. It’s rarely a good idea to cut your own hair.

15. Turn off the TV during dinner.

16. Punxsutawney Phil isn’t always right.

17. It’s better to laugh with, than to laugh at.

18. Stand for something.

19. Things don’t always have to make perfect sense to make perfect sense. Look at Dr. Suess.

20. Just because you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, it doesn’t mean you have to lay there all day.

21. Give your phone a break.

22. Sometimes, homemade pizza is just better.

23. Know your friend’s birthdays.

24. You can cheer on your own team without booing the opposition.

25. Know exactly which documents you need before you go to the DMV.

26. Don’t hit the snooze button more than twice in one morning.

27. Remember that you can choose to be your own worst critic or your own biggest fan. Try to find a balance between the two.

28. The check engine light in your car is not just a suggestion.

29. Never underestimate the power of a thank you note.

30. Your comfort zone is just a jumping off point.

31. Buy Girl Scout cookies.

32. Don’t put the carton of milk back in the fridge if it has anything less than a full glass in it.

33. Even if you don’t celebrate a particular holiday, respect those that do.

34. If your towel is wet, hang it up.

35. Every now and then, get a little dirt underneath your fingernails.

36. You’re going to end up with more Tupperware containers than you’ll have lids to fit them. That’s just how life goes.

37. It’s okay to tell someone if they have something in their teeth.

38. The best wedding guest is the one who dances her heart out when the music starts.

39. Everyone in life can be a teacher.

40. If you’ve laughed so hard that you’ve snorted, it’s been a good day.

41. Be patient with your friends around April 15th. Filing taxes can be stressful.

42. GPSs can make mistakes.

43. Appointment books are a lifesaver.

44. Take advantage of the library.

45. If someone needs an umbrella more than you, give them yours.

46. See the best in people

47. Never stop learning.

48. Set your clock ten minutes early.

49. Learn when to speak up and when to stay quiet.

50. Memorize the Pledge of Allegiance.

51. Leave a big tip.

52. Stay hydrated.

53. Be mindful of your internet presence.

54. Cherish family photo albums.

55. If you meet any couple married for more than 20 years, ask them the secret to love.

56. Spend time outside.

57. Always have an extra cup of sugar on hand for the neighbors.

58. The only way to tell if your sauce is any good is by tasting it yourself.

59. Keep snacks in your purse. Hunger is a grouchy mood’s best friend.

60. Invest time and energy into your relationships with your coworkers.

61. Sometimes, it’s more about the question than the answer.

62. Floss daily.

63. Tone and inflection matter to people’s feelings.

64. When sharing food, give your friend the last bite.

65. Even if someone is driving well below the speed limit, do not tailgate them.

66. Don’t keep tabs on every single debt you are owed.

67. Spend your lifetime believing that you are in the right place at the right time.

68. Every now and then, take out your headphones. Let everyone enjoy your music.

69. Be thankful for every candle on your birthday cake.

70. Never mind the naysayers.

71. Realize that you have a stroke of genius in you.

72. Take healthy risks daily.

73. If you’re walking outside on a cold day, keep a tissue in your pocket.

74. Be more than just how you look.

75. Keep a bowl of candy on your desk.

76. It’s never to late to learn how to swim.

77. If someone asks, “Can you do me a favor?” Say yes whenever possible.

78. Study history.

79. Don’t scratch mosquito bites,.

80. Make a wish on shooting stars, dandelion seeds, face-up pennies, eyelashes, and anytime a clock strikes 11:11.

81. Learn how to identify poison ivy.

82. Even if you don’t love the food, thank the host.

83. Create a bucket list.

84. Don’t always take fashion advice.

85. Always know the date.

86. Divide large projects into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks.

87. Tell loved ones how much they mean to you.

88. Not every flower needs to be picked.

89. Never consider loving chocolate a vice.

90. Invest in a First Aid Kit.

91. Roast a marshmallow every once in a while.

92. Surprise yourself.

93. Remain calm when you stain your shirt or jam the copier.

94. Be okay with mismatched socks.

95. Just because the sky is gray, it doesn’t mean you have to feel blue.

96. If you’re picking someone up at the airport, bring flowers.

97. Don’t ignore mold on food.

98. Laugh daily.

99. Go with your gut.

100. Take every bit of advice with a grain of salt.

 

 


Score A Bathing Suit Body Today!

January 20, 2014

Bathing suit season can bring quite a bit of anxiety into our world. We’re inundated with the idea that, before we slip into our bathing suit, our body needs to change- smaller, flatter, smoother. The truth is the only thing that needs to change this bathing suit season is our mindset. We all already posses a body beautiful enough to wear whatever we want, we just need let our mind in on this secret.

Notice What We Notice

We tend to have a complicated relationship with our mirror. Our blemishes and asymmetries are the first thing reflected back to us, while we rarely notice the beauty and functionality of our bodies. When we notice what we tend to focus on in the mirror, we can begin to change our entire worldview. Taking in more of the beauty of our natural image will serve us well during bathing suit season. Bathing suit season

Think Through Our Thoughts

Our thought patterns are the true culprits that keep us out of our bathing suit. Reconsidering any of our self-limiting mindsets can train us to embrace our beautiful body as it is, just as it is. We can keep an eye on our thoughts when we find ourselves engaged with these restrictive mindsets:

Comparing- We’re only ever going to be ourselves (and isn’t that exciting because we are great!), so we might as well rock a bathing suit on the body we were born with!

All or nothing reasoning- The fun of life lies in between absolute perfection and total failure and not achieving the former does not not automatically make us the latter. Of course, we’re not perfect, but we are strong, beautiful, capable, and lovely!

Confusing feelings with facts- What we feel is not what we are. We may fixate on how we feel about our “flaws”, but this does not mean that we are flawed as a person.

Going overboard- It is so easy to take one small thought and allow it to spiral out of control. For example, we may try on a bathing suit this spring that fits a little snug. This does not indicate that we should never try on anything ever again and that we’re worthless, and that we should go ahead and cancel our beach trip and live in our sweatpants! (See? Our thoughts can get very big very fast!)

Watch What We’re Watching

bathing suit bodyHollywood and glossy magazine ads can quickly negate any positive sense of self-worth that we work so hard to create and maintain. We can keep our own reality in check be recognizing the distortions in these images. With Photoshop, even the models in these photos don’t look like the models in these photos.

Perfect Our Perceptions

There’s a lot more to us as people than how we look. Our minds are sharp and we have so much to offer the world. We are not a number on a scale, the size of our jeans, or the laugh lines on our face.

Pack On The Positive

Let’s allow our minds to celebrate our bodies in all that they do for us. Thank goodness that we are healthy and strong enough to go for a swim in the first place!

Look At The Big Picture

Live boldly! How we look and feel in a bathing suit has very little to do with the quality of our lives. Outside ourselves exists a whole delightfully charming world just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. And oh how lovely that we can experience some of it in a bathing suit!