Focusing on Kindness

Cool2BKind“Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.”
-Marian Wright Edelman

This summer’s theme is “Cool 2B Kind.” We’ll focus on being kind to one another and carrying out acts of kindness (referred to as “GACs of kindness”), both big and small, that help form the strong friendships that GAC is all about.

From the moment campers arrive, counselors will encourage them to think more about kindness and incorporate kindness IMG_5514into their daily routine. GACs of kindness will be recognized and praised by counselors, announced at our daily Morning Assemblies, posted on our “Kindness” board, and talked about throughout the session.

During our staff training week, guest speaker Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for more Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, spoke with us about all the research that has shown that helping others makes people happy.  So teaching kids to practice kindness helps them become happier people! It feels good to share, to give, and to be kind to others. Sometimes in secret, and sometimes in front of others, we’ll do nice things for our fellow campers and counselors this summer. Leaving notes, doing a chore for a friend, making a friendship bracelet at arts and crafts, and listening intently to their stories, will all be acts of kindness that will make others happy and, in turn, make us happy, too!

One of the great things about GoldF-C20-3317 Arrow Camp is that so many people are happy when they’re here, and one of the reasons is because at GAC, unlike some other places, it’s “Cool 2B Kind.”  Being a considerate, kind person who thinks about others is a great character trait that helps children form friendships and leads to a happier life as an adult. In jobs and in future relationships, kindness will take our children “further in life than any college degree.”

Children are not born knowing how to be kind. They learn it from watching their parents, peers, and mentors (like camp counselors). By focusing on and praising kindness this session, we are encouraging children to “beef up” their kindness skills. No matter how kind a person already is, it never hurts to focus on thinking of others and saying and doing nice things for them.IMG_5637

Campers and counselors will be encouraged to write down spirit notes when they see others being kind. Notes will be read at our daily Morning Assembly and posted on our Kindness board at the Dining Porch. Campers will watch our Spirit Thermometer getting filled each day. Each green and yellow plastic egg put into the Spirit Thermometer represents one “GAC of kindness” that’s happened at Camp this week. The notes are also posted on our kindness board at the Dining Porch for everyone to read.

Some of our campfire and meal discussion topics will include:
• Having each camper share something kind they’ve seen someone else do this past week.
• Asking campers: What’s the kindest thing someone has ever done for you?
• Asking campers: What are kind things we can do for our friends? For our parents? For people we don’t know?
• Asking campers: How do you want to be remembered by your cabin mates and counselors?

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” -John Wooden

Here’s to a kindness-filled summer at GAC!

Kindness Resources:

Five Ways to Raise Kind Children, Greater Good Science Center
Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for more Joyful Kids and Happier Parents
Random Acts of Kindness
Being Kind Makes Kids Happy
Fixing the Mean Girl Syndrome

Sunshine

I'm blessed to have five great kids (ages 13-23) call me “Mom.” As a summer camp director for the past 30 years, I've also had the privilege of working with thousands of kids, college-age counselors, and parents. I follow the latest research and trends on parenting, education, and children’s development and love to share what I learn!

5 Comments
  1. Hi Audrey, just read the entry at ACA and followed the blog link. I love your writing and the way you express the kindness ethic. Very compelling and points out why GAC is so special and has such special staff. All the best, Phil

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