Happy Camper: Parenting Secrets from 30 Years of Summer Camp

by Audrey “Sunshine” Monke, MA


happy-camper-book-comingDear Camp Professional,

Thank you for your interest in my forthcoming book, Happy Camper! As you’ll see below, I’m looking for stories and tips that I can include in the pages of the book, and I would love to include yours. If you want to jump right to the form, go HERE. For an explanation of the Happy Camper project, please continue reading.

Back in 2014, several of you collaborated with me on my research on the impact of camp experiences on campers’ social skills and happiness. The findings were astounding, and I’ve continued to try to spread the word as much as I can about the benefits camp experiences offer campers. A few of my posts have been widely shared and read, including Five Reasons Great Parents Send Their Kids to Camp and What’s the Best Age for Camp? For those of you who’ve already been collaborating with me, following my work, or sharing my posts about summer camp or parenting — Thank You!


Happy Camper has two primary purposes:

  1. Help parents understand the transformational power of summer camp experiences on specific areas of children and teen’s character and social skills development, and
  2. Teach parents how to create some of the summer camp “magic” at home using the practices and techniques we use so successfully at camp.

Where You Come In

I would love to have other camp professionals join me in spreading the word about how amazing camp experiences can be AND how much parents can learn from what we do every summer at camp.

  • Do you have a story of a camper who was transformed by their experience at your camp?
  • Do you have a parenting tip you acquired at camp that you’ve used at home with your own children?

If you have something to share, I’d love to talk with you. Any stories or tips I use in the book will, of course, be credited to you and your camp!

If you’re interested in joining my Happy Camper journey, please complete this brief form.

To thank you for your participation, I’ll add you to my camp professional “insiders” mailing list and each month will share with you:

• Training resources I’ve created around some of the book’s concepts (power point slides, handouts, and scripts). You can use these with your counselors and your campers.
• Articles and graphics you can use in your newsletters/blog with information to share with your parents
• “Insiders” only pre-publication chapters and activities.

The first giveaway I am planning early April is my “Coaching Your Campers to Better Friendships” training that you can use to train your counselors this summer. Based on my research, I’ve identified 10 specific skills counselors can focus on and five simple coaching techniques they can use.  Kelly Espinosa from Ojai Valley Summer Camp is already planning to share this training with her staff, and I’d love to send it to you, as well. Simply sign up for the Insider mailing list HERE.

I’ll also send you my “10 Friendship Skills” infographic and an article you can share with your camp parents in a newsletter or on your blog.

Note that my weekly email posts for parents come from a separate mailing list, and you’re welcome to subscribe to both. For the parenting newsletter, subscribe here.

Thank you for your interest in Happy Camper!


About Happy Camper Book

Why are kids more optimistic, resilient, independent, and competent
after just a few weeks at summer camp?

Why do they feel less depressed, anxious, and disconnected at camp than they do anywhere else?

Why are so many campers heartbroken when it’s time to go home?

Veteran summer camp director Audrey “Sunshine” Monke, psychologist and parenting expert, shares what she’s learned from three decades of creating a summer camp that kids call their “happy place” and “second home,” a culture where research has proven kids become happier while gaining important social and emotional skills in just two weeks.

Based on thousands of interactions with campers, camp counselors, and parents, and on academic research in positive psychology, Happy Camper introduces a framework of intentional strategies to help parents create the same kind of transformational culture that kids experience at camp. Instead of raising a generation of kids who are overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, and unable to function as independent and responsible adults, parents can create an environment at home that promotes the growth of important character traits and social skills that kids need in order to have meaningful and successful lives. Complete with specific ideas to implement these summer camp secrets at home, Happy Camper is a one-of-a-kind resource for parents wanting to raise happy, socially intelligent, successful kids.

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10 Friendship Skills Every Kid Needs

Looking to help your kids improve their social skills?

Sign up for my weekly newsletter and get a free copy of my eBook 10 Friendship Skills Every Kid Needs


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