Think back to your time in elementary school. Remember all those “tricks” that helped you with your academics?
-Never believe a lie. (The word “lie” is in the middle of the word “believe”, a quick spelling tip.)
-The Nine Times Quickie. When multiplying a number by nine, hold all ten fingers in the air. Let’s say we’d like to answer ‘what is 9X3?’ Bend your third finger down. Now you have 2 fingers up before your bent finger and 7 fingers up after the bent finger. Put those numbers together and- va la- 27- there’s your answer!
Of course, you remember! Fifth grade was a breeze!
How about some Character Trait Tricks?
This past summer, just like spelling tricks and the nine times trick, we wanted our staff to have quick, fun reminders of the seven major character traits we promote at camp.*
The ability to hang in there, to tough it out, persevere and recover from a setback.
We represented this trait with a Charms Blow Pop. This popular candy has a hard outer shell that leads to a soft, delicious center made of bubble gum. We wanted our staff think about that ‘hard’ shell and how sometimes, in life, we all need a to be a little “tough” in order to keep our head held high, our shoulders back, and our enthusiasm in tact.
Sense of Wonder:
Our curiosity about the world.
We represented this trait with a bottle of sunscreen. Throwing some sunblock on our skin gives us the freedom to explore, learn, and discover all we can about the world. We can go outside and come back with muddy sneakers, sun-kissed skin, and a mind filled with new knowledge.
The ability to read other people’s emotions and connect with them in meaningful ways. Knowing how to negotiate, collaborate, and compromise with others.
For this, we gave each of our staff members lip balm. We use our lips, faces, and bodies to communicate with the world. At camp, we learn how to use these tools effectively and how to make the world around us a better place.
An essential feeling of recognizing and being appreciative of what we have been given.
For this, our counselors received a gift certificate for a tasty ice cream treat at Dolly’s Dairy Bar. What says, “I’m so thankful,” than an opportunity to lick a drippy cone of ice cream?
An exuberance or upbeat feeling about life and the opportunity to witness the wonders of the world.
To represent zest, our counselors received ponytail holders. The feeling that you can tie your hair up, get it out of your face, and let nothing stop you from loving life!
The ability to regulate ones feelings and impulses.
We gave our staff a red bracelet. The color red often represents anger (“The Mad Reds”, “Seeing Red”). When we look down at our wrists and see a red bracelet, it’s a reminder of how important it is to manage and edit our emotions.
The ability to see the positive opportunity in situations.
For this, our staff sipped on lemonade. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
Blow pops, sunscreen, lip balm, ice cream, pony tail holders, bracelets, and lemonade. The new and improved “tricks” to a happy, fun summer!
*A special thanks Bob Ditter M. Ee., LCSW for his Building Character at Camp movement. Ditter’s writings and conference topics inspired this blog post.