Summer Camp can be an amazing experience! How many people can make a long list of great memories around a campfire, in a canoe, out on the trails, or laughing with friends? Going away for Summer Camp can feel like magic. Away from parents! Tons of fun! And (maybe) learning a thing or two.
Camp Directors work hard in the off-season plotting and planning every aspect of camp hoping new friendships will be formed, spiritual growth will occur, or new skills will be learned. Summer finally arrives, campers start trickling in, the staff is pumped up for a great season and then…
For some reason, unknown to anyone at camp, one kid has a total meltdown. Camp staffers are used to a little home sickness in kids, but this is different. Everything is a struggle. The camper won’t engage with anything or anyone unless it is to fight. Every activity is met with resistance. Rules are ignored. Tempers flare. Boundaries are pushed way past the breaking point. It starts to impact other campers and soon the whole week feels like a wash. Frazzled camp staff lose all their enthusiasm and begin to dread the next round of campers.
To put it simply- something negative or traumatizing has gone on in the life of that youth.
Kids want to have fun. They want to be successful in what they do. Believe it or not, they do want you to like them. If you are crashing headlong into difficult behaviors, you are working with a kid that has something going on beneath the surface. Behavior indicates what is going on inside. This kid isn’t a “bad” kid, but they are a struggling kid.
The good news is there are techniques for working with struggling kids. These techniques can help de-escalate situations, make connections, enforce boundaries, and help that difficult camper. These techniques also empower staff to deal with situations calmly, instead of reacting out of their own frustration or lack of knowledge.
Summer camp can be great! And summer camp can be hard. We don’t always know the baggage a kid will be bringing with them to camp, but a knowledgeable staff will be equipped to help no matter what.
Learn more about camper behavior and what it means, how to manage behaviors in a productive way, and the best way to help that difficult camper at Eagle Village’s Behavior Management Two-Day Training May 15-16, 2017.