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Happy Campers is a one-of-a-kind resource for parents wanting to raise happy, socially intelligent, successful kids.
“HAPPY CAMPERS–full of practical and powerful tools that parents can immediately put into practice–lights a path to help parents nurture a culture of connection in our homes…to help our children become their best selves.”
—Tina Payne Bryson, Ph. D., LCSW, and New York Times bestselling co-author of The Whole-Brain Child and The Yes Brain
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about the 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 Campers 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 Campers is a one-of-a-kind resource for parents wanting to raise happy, socially intelligent, successful kids.
Full of practical and powerful tools
-Tina Payne Bryson, Ph. D., LCSW, and New York Times bestselling co-author of The Whole-Brain Child and The Yes Brain
Tremendous insight into youth development
-Andy Pritikin, Owner/Director of Liberty Lake Day Camp, Past President of American Camp Association (NY/NJ), Host of The Day Camp Podcast
Packed with great, practical, easy to apply suggestions
- “Camp is the greatest tool and environment to build life-long skills and qualities in young people, and this book expertly describes in a clear, warm, and interesting way how parents can take what works at camp and use it at home every day to help kids become responsible, independent, and caring adults.”
- “This highly useful book is packed with great, practical, easy to apply suggestions that adults can use every day to support kids in becoming their best. Happy Campers is written in a warm, engaging style that teaches powerful techniques to raise young people.”
-Michael Brandwein, educator, speaker, best-selling author of Growing Great Qualities in Kids: The L.A.S.E.R.B.E.A.M. Technique for Bringing Out the Best in Young People, and writer/presenter of Emmy® award-winning public television series Parenting Puzzle
I have never read a more optimistic and well-grounded guide to parenting
-Michael G. Thompson
For the first time ever, parents have access to the recipe for the secret sauce of camp
-Jessica Lahey, Teacher & Writer, Author of New York Times bestselling The Gift of Failure & forthcoming The Addiction Inoculation
Must-read primer on empowering our children with crucial life-skills
-Emily Andrada, MD, Professor, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine
Insights on social coaching and other tangible practices that parents can use at home!
-Devorah Heitner, Author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive and Survive in Their Digital World
Dose of Positivity Parents Need
-Jon Gordon, best selling author of The Energy Bus and The Power of a Positive Team
Happy Campers is the best book I’ve read about family dynamics
-Kelly Pietrangeli, Author of Project Me for Busy Mothers: A Practical Guide to Finding a Happier Balance
This book has convinced me that camp is a savior for our kids in this high paced, high pressure, highly disconnected world we are living in
-Jessica Joelle Alexander, co-author of The Danish Way of Parenting; What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Capable, Confident Kids
Powerful Parenting Guide
-Steve Baskin, Owner/Director of Camp Champions, Psychology Today writer, and TEDx Speaker
This is genius
- “Summer camp magic translated to home life … this is genius. Easy takeaways for home to promote closer connections with our children.”
- “Read a chapter, let it resonate … then read the next! This book is the perfect guide for raising connected children in today’s fast-paced world.”
-Adrienne Portnoy-Durgin, Skylake Yosemite Camp
Research-Based, Transformational Strategies
Happy Campers shines a light on nine overall positive practices used in quality summer camps and offers readers dozens (and dozens!) of ways to use these strategies to help kids and families thrive year-round. Starting with ideas for building nurturing connections between family members and then exploring critical topics such as the importance of optimism in interactions, how to nurture grit and determination, helping kids experience independence and grow their individual identities, making kindness cool, building healthy friendship skills, and cultivating the kind of self-confidence that makes kids unstoppable, Monke’s book is as realistic and readable as it is invaluable.
As a School Counselor, therapist, and parent, Happy Campers is everything I could hope for in a book and more! I highly recommend it for anyone living or working with young people!"
-Signe Whitson, Author and International Educator on Bullying Prevention
Inspiring and irresistibly practical
-Tom Rosenberg, President/CEO, American Camp Association
Steps that make a thriving life possible
-Mike Endres, Director Camp Chippewa Foundation and Educator, M.Ed.
Help kids become well-adjusted adults
-Catherine Pearlman, PhD, LCSW and author of Ignore It!: How Selectively Looking the Other Way Can Decrease Behavioral Problems and Increase Parenting Satisfaction
Support the friendships and self-esteem of our kids
-Shasta Nelson, Author of Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness
Wealth of information on child development
-Amy Broadbridge, Director, Camp Deerhorn
A wonderful testament to the enduring developmental power of a summer camp
-Dr. Chris Thurber, Co-Author of The Summer Camp Handbook
Specific ways we can help our children develop confidence, connection, and well-being
Bring a little bit of that camp magic home to your family
-Laura Vanderkam, Writer, Author, and Speaker
One of the best applications of research-backed practices for parenting happy, self-motivated, resilient kids
-Dr. Christine Carter, Author, Speaker, and Coach
A compelling invitation to be more intentional to support the friendships and self-esteem of our kids
An excellent book on parenting written in an easy and relatable language
At the end of the book, there is a Ready for Adulthood Checklist which is an extensive list of all skills that an adult needs to thrive in our world.
An excellent book on parenting written in an easy and relatable language that is full of practical advice on raising happy kids!"
Evidence-based, clinically tested, and heart-driven advice
-Kristin T. Horowitz
I have used a few of these “parenting hacks” and they work great
This is the book I’m gifting to all the new parents I know
I truly value the tips and compassionate approach that she shares in this wonderful book
A timely book full of insights and perspectives from a woman who has extensive experience with children and teens
How to love children in the best possible ways
All parents and grandparents need to read this book.
-Bonnye Reed Fry
Solid advice and compelling stories
Monke begins her book by establishing her credibility as a parenting expert. She has 4-5 kids herself but her real qualification comes in the form of having owned a summer camp since she was right out of college. First, I can't imagine trying to own and run anything at that age...but I certainly wouldn't have had the wherewithal to take on the business aspect of a summer camp at 22 (let alone responsibility for hundreds of other people's children!) Her story is incredibly interesting and really establishes her as someone with incredible foresight and an amazing head on her shoulders!
As I said, I read this book with a highlighter...I got about 1/8 of the way through it and realized that I was going to want to keep track of a number of pieces of parenting advice that Monke was providing.
I really appreciated the way the book was broken up because it gave me a number of different ways to approach Monke's suggestions. On some topics, I'm ready to make wholesale changes to the way my family handles certain things...on others, one simple thing is just about all I can handle. Either way, I feel like I have strategies for taking on the suggestions that I value right now. Give me a solution that is going to take weeks to implement and you might as well forget it, I'll never get back to it!
Monke's book is peppered with both solid advice and compelling stories. As a busy mom, it's much easier for me to internalize her advice if I'm given a concrete example of how it applies. She not only provides examples of how she learned the importance of each of the areas she promotes at camp, she gives us practical examples of how to apply them at home. Monke has the advantage of having known thousands of kids over her years as a camp owner but also being the mom in a relatively large family. She can give objective positive and negative growth examples from camp but also explain how she has applied those learnings (for better or worse) to her own children.
One of the things I really appreciated about Monke's writing style is that it is very personal. This is not a textbook. It's also not judgy or mom-shaming. Monke is very open about where, as a camp owner, and as a mom, she has succeeded and failed. Even in situations where she's illustrating mistakes that she believes were made by parents of her campers, she takes the time to empathize with their decision-making process and explain the rationale that might have led them to their thought process.
All in all, I walked away from reading Happy Campers with tons of food for thought and several pages of notes! I've already implemented one of Monke's ideas: as a family, we share our daily high point and low point every night before bed. It's been an easy way to learn more about what my son is experiencing day in and day out and to teach him that it's important to ask and learn about other's experiences as well! Happy Campers is applicable for parents of children of all ages (truly, I wish I had read many of Monke's suggestions earlier) and I highly recommend it as an easy-to-read, highly digestible way to evaluate some important parenting topics!"
Many times reading the book I thought, “I am going to use that!”
Every parent should read this book no matter what age children they have!
Actionable advice and tips to help me create a camp-like culture in our home
-Amy Carney, author of Parent on Purpose: A Courageous Approach to Raising Children in a Complicated World
Showcases Amazing Benefits Of Camp Life
-Brooke Cheley-Klebe, Owner/Director of Cheley Colorado Camps
A straight-forward and uplifting parenting resource…a book I’ll come back to for wisdom again and again
Parents Can Learn So Much From Audrey’s Thoughtful Counsel
-Harriet Lowe, Editor-in-Chief of Camping Magazine
Useful strategies for connecting to my kids and helping them make a healthy transition to adulthood
Practical And Easy To Apply Techniques For Parents
-Steve Proulx, Co-Owner/Director, Carmel Valley Tennis Camp
Engaging and full of research-based suggestions for how parents can make parenting easier and more fun
Very Practical And Impactful Lessons
-Jeff Gamble, Owner/Director of Jefunira Camp
Highly recommend Happy Campers for anyone raising children in today’s world
Great advice for helping your kid bring that willing camp spirit home
An easy to read and use resource for anyone working with young people
Engaging and funny, and best of all…relatable and actionable
Monke is the parenting expert we ALL need in our corner!
You can devour this book or nibble one chapter at a time
Learn all the simple secrets the counselors use to build meaningful relationships
-Dr. James M. Sears, MD, Pediatrician
She really channels that wonderful summer camp feeling, and teaches parents how to get it in their own homes
-Karen Kolp, Author of We Turned Out Okay
Tools to help kids acquire the socio-emotional learning that we all need to lead fulfilled lives
Can’t put this book down and have gleaned so many insights and take-aways
Even if you pick up the book and only read one strategy, it’s worth it
-Sean and Abby Matthews
Great book for families!
-Sarah H. Horner, Executive Director of Tom Sawyer Day Camp
An easy page-turner… and I’m not usually a big “parent lit” reader
The most helpful parenting book I have found
-Kristen V. Perlmutter
An important antidote to the disconnection and anxiety kids and parents face in our screen-obsessed culture
Tools that work and make my kids more capable, competent people
My favorite parenting book
Love this book
A treasure chest of experience and wisdom
-Sara Kuljis, Owner/Director, Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp & Emerald Cove Day Camp