MTC Blog

Gratitude for Quaran-teens


3 min read time

April 2020 is unlike any month in my lifetime, or most our lifetimes for that matter. It is a deeply confusing, unsettling time, when most everything we know of as normal has been halted with minimal notice, and we are all trying to establish new routines on the fly. It is challenging in ways few of us could have imagined. Personally, I’m finding one of the most challenging aspects of Maine (and the nations) “stay at home” order to be the uncertainty inherent in a lock down that does not have a definitive end date, and I know I’m not alone in this. But I know that this will pass, at some point, and we’ll go back to doing what we do – providing exceptional summer camp experiences for amazing teenagers.

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Advice to Parents and Campers for Staying Happy and Healthy During Worrying Times


2 min read time

 

As we end another day of rapidly breaking news and shifting advice from health and government authorities, we wanted to reach out to our camp community to offer a few important reminders and hints for maintaining good personal physical, emotional, and social health when the world appears to have lost its grip on all those things.

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Being Generally Successful...


4 min read time

I recently finished David Epstein’s new book “Range, Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”. It’s a great book, well reported as would be expected, but also advancing an idea that has been overlooked and under-appreciated. As Epstein tells it, those who have the broadest range of experiences are those who find the best career fit for their skills and personality and are best able to come up with practical solutions to novel problems. Having “range” gets you the best career for you and helps make you really good at that career.

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Digital Relationship Post-Camp Plan for Campers


3 min read time

Cal Newport’s book “Digital Minimalism – Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” makes a compelling case that our relationship with technology – smartphones/tablets, apps, social media platforms, games, email, and text messaging – is making us unhappy, stressed, anxious and un-productive.

Newport proposes everyone should be re-evaluating their relationship with technology. He suggests a multi-stage approach that allows each individual to create an intentional relationship with their tech use that reflects that individual’s personal values and goals. Technology is a powerful tool, and wielded wisely, will enhance all aspects of the individuals life without the negative impacts that unplanned use leads to.

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How Does a Summer Camp in the Woods of Maine Foster The 4C’s of 21st Century Skills in Teenagers?


5 min read time

If you’ve spent much time around schools, after school programs, or read the education section of the newspaper, the term 21st Century Skills is no doubt a familiar one to you. For those who aren’t familiar, 21st Century Skills are the skills identified as being essential for successful and happy lives and careers in the 21st century and beyond. It is widely recognized that for the near- and long-term future, in both the workplace and community, today’s kids will require analytic and critical thinking skills, information literacy, communications and teamwork skills. The term Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is frequently used to describe the acquisition of these kinds of skills. There is a contrast drawn to the skills more traditionally associated with K-12 education in the 20th century, which involve more content knowledge acquisition and specific skill-sets for singular, life-long professions.

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A Thanksgiving Note – The Science That Explains How GRATITUDE Improves Our Lives.


3 min read time

Of all the major holidays on the United States calendar, Thanksgiving is the holiday that totally “gets” camp. There are so many parallels – it’s not associated with any particular religion, rather, it’s all about getting together with the important people in your life. And there is lots of food (!), some sort of field sports, lawn games, or board games, and while sometimes the travel to get there is a hassle, when you reach your destination, it is so worthwhile. A huge aspect, of course, is being thankful. The expression of gratitude is at the heart of the holiday, and it’s also a core value at camp.

During the summer we talk about gratitude for a few reasons. It’s a good practice for any young person who is happy to be given an opportunity to thank whoever made that opportunity possible, more opportunities might come along as a result. We also remind campers (and staff) how the simple act of thanking someone for things big and small, extraordinary and mundane, does wonders for the person receiving the thanks. It’s a good thing to do, and it can turn someone else’s day around. On another level though, we talk about the practice of gratitude as another aspect of well-being. For not only does gratitude make the person being thanked feel good, it also makes the person giving thanks healthier and happier.

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9 Hours, Why Sleep Matters


2 min read time

Snow is predicted for this weekend at camp.  Not a lot, and it’ll melt within a day, but still we’re putting up Halloween decorations and carving pumpkins!  It’s yet another reminder that at this point, summer is firmly behind us.

With this distance between what was a truly amazing summer at camp and today, I started thinking about some of the experiences we lived this summer, and how those experiences stick with us long after the summer ends. 

One of the most impactful yet under-appreciated experiences of the summer is sleep.  At MTC we turn lights out at 11pm and wake up at 8am.  9 hours.  Every night.  Which research tells us turns out to be the amount of that is the adequate amount of sleep for adolescents. 

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Camp – It’s Not About Politics...


3 min read time

 


It would not be a particularly good idea to write a post about politics for a summer camp blog, especially in the toxic environment that is online commentary.  But the process of coming out of the woods after a truly wonderful summer, and re-engaging with the news cycle and the hyper focus on dysfunctional political systems near and far has been thought provoking. 

So while I won’t write about politics, it might be a good idea to think about how we interact with each other, how we got to this place, where it’s headed, and what role do summer camp’s play in the wider dialogue in a democratic society. 

To start, we need to examine some of the elements that both scholars and the architects of the American system understood to be essential to a functional, open, democratic society.

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Persuasive Technology and the Digital Threat to Wellbeing


3 min read time

Last month, Richard Freed, child and adolescent psychologist, published an eye opening and damning article on the unfettered use of psychological research and understanding in modern technology.

https://bit.ly/2tK9iID

While Freed was mostly concerned with the stance the APA (American Psychological Association) needs to be taking in response to the use of child psychology for ends other than those of helping people, he offers a lot for those of us simply concerned about kids.

The basic premise is simple – that the use of psychology by big tech companies (device manufacturers, social media, internet companies, game and app developers are all included) has not been given the level of scrutiny it deserves. Tech developers have been learning about how we are motivated, how behaviors are triggered and how we respond to rewards, to manipulate user behavior beyond the tipping point from choice to compulsion. The use of these understandings in technological design is called persuasive technology, or behavior design. These names say it all. The game is rigged, against all of us users, and in the case of child users, rigged against their parents.

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Camp vs. Campus


4 min read time

Spring is here!  Well, technically spring is here, and I’m sure for much of the country it even feels this way.  As for the great state of Maine…we will get there.  Spring will come and go, and summer will be here before we know it.

With spring upon us, for many families of teenagers, it’s now crunch time in deciding what to do this summer.  While many teenagers might like to get a job or simply hang out for the summer, these are often not viable options – jobs can be difficult to find or have strict age limits and demand specific qualifications.    “Hanging out” is great in small doses but is not always an ideal plan for an entire summer.  This leads many families to think about a summer camp, trip, or “program”.  Today, we’ll consider some of the main differences between a summer at a real camp, like Maine Teen Camp, versus a summer program on a college campus or similar. 

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Maine Teen Camp

481 Brownfield Rd,
Porter, Maine
800-752-CAMP
mtc@teencamp.com

Maine Teen Camp is the only accredited summer camp created exclusively for teenagers. Enjoy a summer of meaning, fun, friendships and memories to last a lifetime.