July 3, 2011

Teaching Kids Kindness

“Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.”
-Marian Wright Edelman
Being a considerate, kind person who thinks about others is a great character trait that helps children form friendships and leads to a happier life as an adult.  In jobs and in future relationships, kindness will take our children “further in life than any college degree.” 

Children are not born knowing how to be kind.  They learn it from watching their parents, peers, and mentors (like camp counselors!).  By focusing on and praising kindness this session, we are encouraging children to “beef up” their kindness skills.  No matter how kind a person already is, it never hurts to focus on thinking of others and saying and doing nice things for them.
Over this past week, campers and counselors have been encouraged to write down notes when they see others being kind.  Notes are read at our daily Morning Assembly and posted on our Kindness board at the Dining Porch.  Campers are watching our Spirit Thermometer getting filled each day.   Each green and yellow plastic egg put into the Spirit Thermometer represents one “GAC” of kindness that’s happened at Camp this week.  The notes are also posted on our kindness board at the Dining Porch for everyone to read.  We will continue to focus on kindness during the second week of Session #1, and counselors will be talking with campers about kindness.    Some of their campfire and meal discussion topics will include: 
•  Having each camper share something kind they’ve seen someone else do this past week.
•  Asking campers:  What’s the nicest thing some one has ever done for you?
•  Asking campers:  What are kind things we can do for our friends?  For our parents?  For people we don’t know?
•  Asking campers:  How do you want to be remembered by your cabin mates and counselors?
“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”                                                                                        -John Wooden
I asked campers to tell me about kindnesses they’ve seen or done this week, and here is what some of them had to say:
“Keaton from Cabin 16 helped Bullwinkle put away riflery safety equipment without being asked.”
“Everybody cheered everybody on at the ropes course, and we all got through it.”  Libby Block
“My friend Jackson let me borrow his shampoo and towel when I didn’t have mine.”  Peter, Cabin 16
“Sophia from cabin 1 walked a younger camper back to her cabin after free time.”
“Cameron and Rebecca (Cabin 5) cleaned two other girls sleeping mats just to be nice.”
“Emma (Cabin 5 )was very encouraging to every wakeboarder and always shouted praise.”
“Cameron was very helpful by always offering to be a buddy when people needed to go somewhere.”
“Charlotte gave everyone lotion so that we would all have the softest faces in the world.”
“Alyssa shared her shampoo with all.”
“Cabin 12 serenaded other cabins during the rainy day.”
“Cabin 25 helped put away all of the kayaks for a girls cabin.”
“Although she was not K.P., Sarah S. (Cabin 1) gladly picked up everybody’s trash after dessert.”
“Sarah (Cabin 11), helped put away every kayak after activity.”
“Blaine (Cabin 15) came to ask me for my plate during K.P. – very kind!”  Tqoe
We are so happy that campers and counselors are practicing kindness and praising kindness in others, and we will continue to do so for the rest of the session, and the summer!
Here’s to a kindness-filled week at GAC!

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