Ep. 90: Happy Campers Book – Interview at Branches Books & Gifts

In Episode 90, I’m being interviewed by my friend Anne Driscoll at her bookstore, Branches Books and Gifts, where we celebrated my book launch. We talk about the inspiration behind Happy Campers- Nine Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults and I share some of the book’s insights and resources for parents.


  • There are simple strategies that you can use to do some important things for your children.
  • It’s very important to form REALationships with kids; They need to feel loved, accepted, and that you care about them, for them to be ready to learn from you.
  • Connection is the most important thing in life. It is the best predictor of health, happiness, and success.
  • It’s important to have a daily one-on-one check-in connection with each of your kids.
  • Making chores fun makes them much easier to do.
  • Parents need to be authentic with their kids and apologize to them when necessary.


Audrey: “The most important part of our training is letting our counselors know that forming ‘real-ationships’ with each of their kids is the most important part of their job.”

Audrey: “The kids need to feel loved, accepted, that you care about them before they are ready to learn from you, or accept feedback, or- we call it connection before correction.”

Audrey: “Connection is pretty much the most important thing in life, really. It actually is the best predictor of health, happiness, and success for your whole life.”

Audrey: “A lot of parents just are so ultra-focused on academics and for some kids, that’s just not going to be their thing. They’re going to find another profession or another path. Only if, though, they feel accepted for who they are and are allowed the opportunity to explore their own interests.”

Audrey: “Sometimes parents draw away from their kids during a time that–even though the kid’s not acting very pleasant–they need you to still be with them.”

Audrey: “I do not think people should pick up this book and try to do all the activities. It would be impossible. It’s a pick-and-choose kind of thing. Besides the first secret, I think you can pick and choose what you want to focus on.”

Audrey: “Definitely, this book is not for just for parents whose kids have gone to camp. In fact, I’d love for it to get to other people- and especially teachers.”

Audrey: “Now in schools, they’re all focused on social-emotional learning, which is what we do at camp. It’s all about the social skills, the emotional regulation: learning to deal with conflicts, learning to control your emotions, figuring out how to handle it when you get frustrated. All those things are really important skills to learn.”

Audrey: “I think it’s important for parents to be very authentic with their kids. At camp, we call it being you. Because sometimes kids get the impression that their parents are like perfect, and know everything, and do everything right. And it’s really good to share stories with your kids about things that went wrong for you.”

Audrey: “Also, as parents, it’s important that we apologize when we do get upset because every parent loses it sometimes with their kids.”

Audrey: “The interview that I did this morning, with Michael Reichert, on How To Raise a Boy, a great book, and he said it’s very important for parents to know that we are the relationship managers. We are the ones responsible for our relationship with our child.”

Audrey: “It’s hard to be the rock and we don’t always get it right- and that’s okay. What you do need to do is just keep that relationship and repair it when there are problems.”

Audrey: “Use the ‘Yes Strategy’.  Psychologically, none of us like hearing ‘no’ or ‘don’t’, even adults. You can change the wording of things and it’s so much better received than when someone says ‘no’.”


Ep. 85: Grit is Grown Outside the Comfort Zone (PEGTalk)

Ep. 89: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men

Ep. 87: The Impact of Camp Experiences with Laurie Browne, Ph.D.

Ep. 78: The Danish Way of Parenting (Part 2)


Happy Campers Book Hub (downloadable resources)

Branches Books & Gifts

How to Get Closer to Your Kid in 5 Minutes a Day

Giving Kids Our Full Attention

How Doing Less Made me a Better Parent

Why Summer Camp May be the Secret to a Longer Life

Connection Through Questions

Audrey’s book, Happy Campers- Nine Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults, is available now. Go to www.happycampersbook.com to find links to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other book retailers. Audrey will send you some fun freebies from the Happy Campers Book Hub, and an invitation to join her private Facebook group.

Photos from the Happy Campers Book Launch Party at Branches Books & Gifts

For the past month, Audrey has been doing a series on Facebook Live, on Wednesdays, at one pm, Pacific time called Ask Me Anything About Summer Camp. If you have a question about summer camp, either send Audrey an email, send her a message on Facebook @Sunshine Parenting, on Instagram @Sunshine.Parenting, or on Twitter @audreymonke


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