Stepping away from Social Media
Social media has become such vital part of children’s lives these days, but is it beneficial? Recent research has found that a 13-year-old’s risk for depression increases by 27% when he or she uses social media on a regular basis. Kids who use their phones for at least three hours a day are much more likely to be suicidal. But even more importantly the two biggest tech figures in recent history — Bill Gates and Steve Jobs — rarely let their kids play with the very products they helped create.
Taking the above information into account it’s the advantages of Explorer Camps banning electronic media on camp are clear. Campers’ emotional well-being is vital, and there are huge advantages for having children step away from technology: luckily this summer kids’ camp has a “electronic free” policy which is a blessing for both parents … and children!
The Power of Compassion on Camp
When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”The Dalai Lama
Compassion is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s a foundation for acting ethically, for good relationships of many kinds, for living well, and for professional success. And it’s the key to preventing bullying and many other forms of cruelty.
Being a considerate, kind person who thinks about others is a great characteristic to have that helps children form good relationships and leads to a happier life as an adult. Research clearly shows that compassionate people are happier, and happier people generally are more successful throughout their lives.
Explorer Camps in Slovenia strongly believes in compassion and sees it as a key part of our approach to working with its international campers and their families. Campers have the opportunity to unplug and deeply connect in child-centered summer kids’ camp. Because of this they learn to build caring, trusting and respectful relationships with individuals from different backgrounds.
As a result they become more aware of their own emotions and more skilled at sharing their feelings while being compassionate to others. Living in a compassion-emphasized community, campers develop greater self-esteem and optimism.
Perhaps most importantly campers work together with the charity Ana’s Little Star to help underpriviliged children in their time of need. It’s the perfect way for our campers to “walk-the-walk” when it comes to truly being compassionate and loving.
Teenagers – Turmoil or Calm?
The average teenager has the same level of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s! In fact studies have shown that teenagers are now experiencing a greater amount stress than adults. But why?
It could be due to adolescents having a brain with an increased capacity for fear and anxiety but is relatively underdeveloped when it comes to calm reasoning. It’s hard to argue with Science.
On the flip side according to Robert Epstein the problem is our society, not the brain. Apparently teen turmoil is due to young people being overprotected by their parents. As a result they’re trapped in a media-controlled iPhone world of “teen culture.”
Dr. Galinsky perhaps supports this argument saying that adolescents are lacking enough influence from caring and interesting adults who give them a sense of value, purpose, and hope.
Taken all these points into consideration, Explorer Camps has created a specific approach to working with teenagers at its summer kids’ camp which has resulted in more than 75% of them coming back every year:
- Electronic device free camp 24/7 resulting in clearer communication.
- Increased freedom with attached responsibilities and consequences.
- Experienced and value driven staff mentors all over the age of 30 with background in teaching.
- Clear values revolving around Emotional Intelligence and Compassion
The 4 Cs of Explorer Camps a Recipe for Success
Over the years Explorer Camps has grown over 400%, but what is the foundation of this success? A clear vision and plan for how to help its campers grow is the key at the summer kids’ camp, with the following four Cs providing the pillars to build upon.
Critical thinking. Decision-making is shared with campers, enabling them to lead activities and solve problems, “think outside the box”, and evaluate their experiences on camp.
Creativity. Participating in unstructured play time is an essential tool to build imagination plus thinking processes. Often campers create their own schedules, and even design their own activities including rules and expectations.
Communication. Building relationships and sharing their emotions empowers campers to let their feelings be known without fear of judgement. A young boy or girl can learn it’s okay to say, “I was scared” or “I am not ready to try this task .”
Collaboration. Learning the value of teamwork, support, and clear communication. It can be as simple as keeping their room clean, or as challenging as building a raft with limited time and resources.