Gold Arrow Camp 2013
M A G A Z I N E
F O R
C A M P
F A M I L I E S
How Camp Can Help Page 30
Fuels Happiness Page 27
Discover the MANY Benefits of
Getting Unplugged Page 14
A Letter from the Directors Dear GAC Friends, Welcome to our first edition of On Target, a magazine created especially for the Gold Arrow Camp community. Our aim is to be a resource with information and strategies for improving the lives of our camp families during the “rest of the year,” and to describe the benefits of an experience at Gold Arrow Camp to those who have just discovered us. We are excited to feature an article by Dr. Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness. Christine shares her perspective on how camp contributes to children’s happiness (p.27). Want some tips for messages you can share with a reluctant first-time camper (p. 24)? We’ve also included information about how technology is impacting us and our kids, and why an “unplugged” break during the summer is so beneficial (p. 14). You can also read about the positive impact that Gold Arrow Camp has had on several generations of campers from the same family (p. 21). The goal of Gold Arrow Camp is to provide campers with a community where they build some of their happiest childhood memories and form life-long friendships. This is done in a supportive environment free from pressures, competition, and electronics. Our fun and caring counselors provide positive role models for campers while encouraging learning and personal growth. We encourage you to learn more about Gold Arrow Camp by visiting www.goldarrowcamp.com. If you are interested in talking to a camp representative on the phone or meeting us in person, please contact us at (800) 554-2267 or email@example.com. We hope you enjoy On Target, and we look forward to having you join us during our 2013 season as we celebrate 80 years of friendship and fun.
Audrey & Steve Monke Camp Owners/Directors and On Target Editors
“I love making new friends. When I’m here, I don’t have to worry about life. It feels good to get away from electronics.” - Amanda, 2012 camper
Contents 4 5 6 8 10 11 14 17 18 20 21 23 24 27 30 32 33 34 35
Our Philosophy Ask the Chipmunk The Blessing of the Least Favorite Activity Island Life & Wilderness Adventures 2013 Summer Sessions Four Reasons for Two Weeks Separation Anxiety (Get Unplugged) The Importance of Cabin Group Activities Camp Map Camper Stories Family History Hand-Written Letters Seven Messages for a Reluctant Camper How Camp Fuels Happiness Year Round Four Parenting Challenges Counselors in Training What Did You Learn at Camp? Bringing Healthy Camp Habits Home Ways to Connect with GAC
Editors in Chief Audrey and Steve Monke Art and Design Joline Smith Contributors Joan Oâ€™C. Hamilton, Alison Moeschberger, Katie Kroger, Christine Carter, Jim Sears, and 2012 Campers On Target is published annually by Gold Arrow Camp Email firstname.lastname@example.org ÂŠ 2012 by Gold Arrow Camp, all rights reserved.
Since 1933, campers have been coming to Gold Arrow Camp to:
HAVE FUN MAKE FRIENDS AND GROW! Gold Arrow Camp is a supportive community where lives are enriched through relationships and experiences.
Standards of Behavior & Appearance: • Treat others with respect. • Value each camper’s right to have a fun experience. • Meet appropriate clothing and appearance guidelines. 4
Hello current and future campers! I am the Chipmunk, and one thing I love to do when I am not out collecting nuts or climbing trees is answer your questions about Gold Arrow Camp. Over the many years I have spent observing camp from my island across the cove, I have acquired a great knowledge of the goings-on at Gold Arrow Camp. Feel free to ask me any of your questions, as I am happy to answer them. Hope to see you having fun across the cove this summer! Sincerely, Chipmunk
Dear Chipmunk, I have some Qs about the cabins. How many people are in each cabin? Do they have bathrooms in each cabin?? Is everyone in your cabin within your age group??? Is there an adult or staff member who stays with you during the night???? From Cabins and Qs Dear Cabins and Qs, Great questions! There are 8-10 kids in each cabin. They call them “cabins,” but they are really tents on large wood platforms. They do not have bathrooms in them, but the bathrooms are nearby. Yes, everyone in each cabin is in the same age group, generally within about one year of each other and no more than one grade apart. Two to three counselors live in the cabin with you and stay there at night. If you need to go to the bathroom at night, or if you need anything else, you just wake up one of your counselors. They don’t mind, because they know they’re training to be parents one day! :) Chipmunk Dear Chipmunk, Is it a good idea to go with a friend? My friend and I really want to, but she might not be able to go. Should I still go? I would be nervous to go alone. From Friends Dear Friends, It’s definitely okay to come to GAC either with a friend or on your own. When you come to camp on your own, they’ll put you in a group with other kids who’ve come on their own. About half of the campers don’t
come with a friend to camp, so it’s really okay. Many campers say that’s something they enjoy about camp — just being able to have a fresh start and make new friends! As soon as you get to camp (or get to the bus if you take the bus, which most kids do), the counselors will help you start meeting people. You’re never alone at camp, and you’ll bond really fast with your cabin group. Everyone’s nervous about going to camp. That’s normal when you’re doing something new! Just don’t let the nervousness stop you from doing something that will be super fun! Chipmunk Dear Chipmunk, I have never been to GAC and so I was just wondering if the showers are private or not. From Wondering Dear Wondering, Yes, each shower has it’s own curtain, so they are private. There is another curtain for the changing area, so that is also private! Chipmunk Dear Chipmunk, I am very nervous to go on the high ropes again this year. Last time, they were so fun, because my friends helped me out. I act like I am excited when really I am so so so nervous! From Scared of high things Dear Scared, Lots of campers and staff are really nervous when doing the high ropes, rock climbing, and other “high” stuff. Just
remember that you only need to do what you’re comfortable with — “Challenge by Choice” they call it. It’s okay to be nervous, and I’m glad you had fun last year. Isn’t it funny how you can be both nervous and excited? That’s normal! I know you’ll have fun again this year. Sometimes, the worrying about stuff before it happens is much harder than doing the actual thing! :) Maybe if you focus more on your memories of how fun it was and how supportive your friends were, that will help you be more excited and less nervous! See you at GAC! Chipmunk Dear Chipmunk, Why are cell phones not allowed at GAC? All my friends and I have them, and I’m used to having it with me all of the time. It will be hard to come to camp and not have my cell phone with me or be able to check messages. From Ally Dear Ally, For most of the older campers and staff, it’s a big change coming up to camp and not having cell phones accessible. After a few days, most campers realize that it’s also one of the best things about being at camp! The chance to get away from all of the technological stuff that is such a big part of our lives, and really get to know the other campers and staff, is what makes GAC so special. We all come back to camp to enjoy being with friends, hanging out around a campfire, bonding with counselors, and having fun enjoying the outdoors. How would it feel to be sitting around your campfire, enjoying the stars and the crackling fire, and hear a cell phone (or two) ring? Or what about being with a cabin mate who is talking on her cell phone instead of talking to you? It would really change how camp feels if campers and staff were walking around talking on their cell phones or using them to call their parents the first time they have a problem at camp. Most parents are used to having the constant communication connection that cell phones provide, but being independent from your parents is one of the biggest benefits of coming to camp. So, leave your cell phone at home (next to your computer, iPod, and Nintendo DS), and come to camp to enjoy one of the only places on earth where you won’t hear a text beep every 5 minutes! Ring Free in the Sierras, Chipmunk Have a question for the Chipmunk? Email your question to: email@example.com
The Blessing of the Least Favorite Activity By Audrey “Sunshine” Monke Wendy Mogel’s best selling book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, resonated with me. I can relate much of her message to camp and to my own family. I heard Dr. Mogel speak at a conference several years ago, and she continues to be active in the camp community. Many of our camp parents have heard her speak at school parenting events or have read her book. If you haven’t had a chance to read The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, I highly recommend it. In addition to sharing about the importance of letting our kids take healthy risks, and not always rescuing them from failure, Mogel gives many other valuable insights. She has recognized the value of camp experiences in the development of emotionally healthy kids. Read Mogel’s article “Camp Blessings” at goldarrowcamp.com/ontarget. A question I often get asked, especially by kids who haven’t yet been to GAC, is “What if I don’t want to do an activity?” Sometimes it starts with a statement, “I don’t like horses. Do I have to do that activity?” My short answer is, “You won’t be forced to do any activities, but you will still go with your group, and you will be encouraged to try.”
I think there are three main reasons kids don’t want to do a particular activity, and they are the same reasons why adults often choose to forgo some recreational options: One: A previous negative experience with the activity, usually not at camp and not with experienced instructors. Falling off a horse, being dragged behind a ski boat and not getting up, or getting lost on a hike, are all examples of negative experiences that make a person naturally inclined not to want to try again. Two: Fear! Fear of being humiliated. Fear of failure. Fear of heights. Fear of deep lake water. Fear of rocks. Fear of going to the bathroom in the woods. Fear of getting hurt. The list goes on and on. Three: Finally, another reason kids don’t want to try an activity is because, based on their perception of themselves or their past successes/failures, they think they won’t like it. It’s not in their normal repertoire of things they like and/or are good at.
I’m sure there are other reasons for kids to not want to do an activity, but these are three that readily come to mind from what campers have told me over the years. Interestingly, the reasons kids don’t want to do an activity are the very reason trying the activity may be the best thing that happens at camp for that camper. If a child doesn’t want to do an activity because of a previous negative experience, trying it at camp could lead to either a changed mind (and a new activity they like), or, at the very least, a not-asnegative experience to remember. If a camper doesn’t want to do an activity because of fear, then trying the activity could be the most life-changing event that occurs for that camper during their camp stay. Overcoming fears and challenging oneself to attempt something that seems impossible can lead to great feelings of accomplishment and improved confidence. With the support
“The camp environment offers a supportive place for kids to learn how to overcome fears and accomplish things they didn’t think were possible.”
and encouragement from cabin mates and counselors, campers feel on top of the world after successfully trying something they feared. For the camper with a fear of heights, climbing half-way up the cargo net on the high ropes course will be celebrated as a huge accomplishment, and one that can make him/her proud. This is an example of something hard that leads to something good, a theme that Dr. Mogel stresses. The camp environment offers a supportive place for kids to learn how to overcome fears and accomplish things they didn’t think were possible. If a camper doesn’t want to do an activity because they don’t think they’ll like it based on their preferences or perception of themselves, trying something different offers an opportunity for expanded confidence. A camper who sees himself as non-athletic and more adept at target sports may shy away from the more physical activities, yet trying and accomplishing them could change his perception of himself in a positive way. A camper who likes shopping and clothes and sees herself as not an “outdoorsy” kind of person may dread going on a backpacking trip. Yet, the experience of cooking and sleeping outdoors could lead to an expanded view of herself. Sometimes, the activity a camper thought would be their least favorite becomes a favorite! So, when a camper tells us all the reasons why they “don’t want to” or “can’t” do an activity this summer, we will continue to encourage them to “give it a try,” because we know the hidden blessings of the least favorite activity. Audrey “Sunshine” Monke, with her husband Steve, has owned and directed Gold Arrow Camp for the past 24 years. They have five children (ages 9-19) who are campers and staff at camp. Audrey is a graduate of Stanford University and a Certified Camp Director through the American Camp Association. Audrey was President of WAIC (Western Association of Independent Camps) from 2007-2010. She writes about camp and parenting at sunshine-parenting.com.
Experience Wilderness Adventures “The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” —Richard Louv GAC is unique among camps in offering our young campers the chance to hike, explore, and camp out in the wilderness. We are surrounded by beautiful trails and lakes in the John Muir and Kaiser wilderness areas. Depending on their age and ability, campers enjoy non-strenuous trips ranging from four to eight miles round trip. Games are played along the way, and the pace is slow. Campers have fun trail mix (with chocolate!) and water bottles for snacking and drinking as they hike.
Once at their camp sites, campers play, help cook dinner over the campfire, and get to experience living in nature. They also have a lot of free play and exploring time. Many forts and structures are built out of sticks and pine cones! Many kids are hesitant about backpacking, because they don’t think carrying a pack sounds like fun. But, over and over, we have heard campers recall their backpacking trip as one of their favorite camp memories. Back in the 1960s and 1970s, when all GAC campers attended camp for a month, backpacking trips were longer. We are still committed to getting kids out in nature, even when they’re only with us for two weeks. We will continue to teach campers about how fun it is to be in the outdoors, because we know the positive, life-long impact a love of nature can have. We hear from many past campers asking for advice about where to backpack in this area, because they have fond memories of their GAC backpacking trips.
Live the Island Life Campers who attend our two-week sessions spend one or two nights at our Shaver Island Outpost. This is a highlight of camp for many of our campers. Our island on Shaver Lake offers the ideal setting for campers to learn and hone their waterskiing, wakeboarding, and kneeboarding skills. With eight ski boats, nine experienced instructors, and hours of time behind the boat, campers learn and improve their skills rapidly during their stay at Shaver Lake. While there, campers have the opportunity to build friendships with campers in other cabin groups. The nightly campfire at Shaver is in a big campfire pit, where all the campers and counselors gather to sing songs and play games. Camping on the beach and falling asleep watching the shooting stars are also memorable experiences from their stay at the outpost.
Many returning campers choose to spend an entire week at Shaver Island, in addition to their two-week regular session, by participating in one of our Shaver Water Sports Specialty Camps. These three-week sessions are offered at the beginning of the summer (Session 5: June 16 â€“ July 6), with the Shaver week at the beginning of the session, and at the end of the summer (Session 6: August 4-24), with the Shaver week at the end of the session. There is also the option to attend just the one week at Shaver Island. This is not recommended for campers who have not already attended a regular session at Gold Arrow Camp, as they will not experience any of the activities and special events offered only at our main camp location.
2013 Summer Sessions Two-Week Sessions (Ages 7-14; tuition $3,295)
June 23 - July 6
July 7 - July 20
July 21 - Aug. 3
Aug. 4 - Aug. 17
Three-Week Sessions (Ages 10-14; tuition $4,495)
June 16 - July 6
Aug. 4 - Aug. 24
Want to be a “MONTHER”? Add a second two-week session to become a “Monther,” and receive $1,000 off the second session!
Water Sports Specialty Camp (1 Week, Ages 10-14; tuition $1,845)
Shaver Water Sports June
June 16 - June 22
Shaver Water Sports August
Aug. 18 - Aug. 24
(1 Week, Ages 6 & 7; tuition $1,595)
Nuggets #1 (Girls)
June 23 - June 29*
Nuggets #2 (Boys)
June 30* - July 6
*On June 29 and June 30, transportation is provided to and from the Fresno Airport only.
(1 Week, Ages 6-14; tuition $1,845)
Aug. 18 - Aug. 24
Enroll Now! Enroll online by visiting our home page at goldarrowcamp.com and clicking “Enroll Online.” 10
By Audrey “Sunshine” Monke
“Do you have a one week session?”
is one of the questions we often get asked by parents who are new to our program. The question is usually preceded or followed by the comment, “Two weeks is too long for my child.” I thought it would be helpful to outline for new parents why Gold Arrow Camp has a two-week session length as our primary camp offering. Although we also offer one-week specialty camp options at the beginning and end of the summer, Gold Arrow Camp’s core program is a two-week session, and that is the length of time most of our campers attend camp. We also have campers who are “Monthers,” who attend four weeks of camp by combining two two-week sessions. There are many benefits to camp, regardless of length of stay, as per the American Camp Association research (http:// goldarrowcamp/ontarget). So, I urge you to find a camp that fits your family’s needs and schedule, even if Gold Arrow is not the best fit for you. Our program, up until the 1970s, was a month-long program. Many traditional, east coast camps still offer only four or five week sessions. To people in the west, this sounds crazy, as most programs on our side of the country are one week in length. However, families who have been part of Gold Arrow and other traditional camp programs understand the benefits of a longer camp stay.
Why does Gold Arrow Camp have two-week sessions?
1. Community and Friendship Building “Eli had the greatest summer camp experience. He knew no one going to camp and came home with a host of new friends. He had a huge smile on his face when we greeted him and it lasted for a long time. He was pushed to achieve and he was proud of himself for achieving his goals.” Mr. & Mrs. Whitney Leibow Seattle, WA “My children lead busy lives during the school year with various teams and enrichment programs. Going to Gold Arrow Camp allows them to unwind and gain a new perspective on friendship, goals and life. From my perspective, GAC is summer the way it is supposed to be for kids. Thank you!!” Ms. Kimberly Haulk Novato, CA While a lot of fun happens during even just one day of camp, spending more time connecting and building bonds with counselors, cabin mates, and other campers is one of the benefits of a twoweek stay. The first week of the session, there is an adjustment period for the first few days, when campers are getting settled and beginning to know one another, the schedule, and the activities. By the middle of the first week, campers feel comfortable at camp, and relationships have the opportunity to start getting deeper. Friendships, while they can definitely be
formed in one week, have a better chance to grow stronger with more connection time. Because all of the campers in the cabin group are at camp for the same length of time, there are no departures and arrivals in the middle of the session to disrupt the group’s cohesiveness and the bonds that have developed. Everyone arrives together and departs together, with the exception of our Monther campers, who stay on for another session after their first two weeks end.
2. Breadth of Activities “Gold Arrow Camp is a great summer camp experience. Our son has gone to GAC for 4 years now and every year he sees old friends, makes new ones, tries new things, compares his skills at the activities from the current year to past summers, can be independent and responsible for himself and his belongings, and gets to enjoy the beautiful camp setting away from the heat in Phoenix. He is already looking forward to next summer when he will receive his 5-year blanket.” Mr. & Mrs. Michael Nord Phoenix, AZ We take advantage of our location on Huntington Lake, in the heart of the Sierra National Forest, by teaching campers a large variety of water and land-based recreational activities. Many of our activities require extensive time and instruction. Sailing, as an example, is an activity that begins with a 2 ½ hour group lesson, and can be followed up by many additional lessons as campers opt for more sailing during the evening free choice activity period. Without adequate time, it would be impossible for campers to even get to all of the activities we offer, let alone build skills in them. We want our campers to get exposure to all of what is offered at camp, and have the opportunity to pursue activities they are passionate about. During their two weeks at Gold Arrow, campers have the opportunity to learn to sail, ride a horse, shoot a rifle, get up on water skiis, and participate in a myriad of other activities. Many of these sports require time and practice to master. For first-time campers, two weeks is just enough time to expose them to all of the
different activities and start practicing and improving skills. Returning campers continue to build upon and develop new skills, even after five or six years at our program. The depth of instruction offered, the opportunity to improve recreational skills, and the ability to earn different patches and certifications all distinguish Gold Arrow Camp’s program. There are some activities that we wait to do until the second week of camp, when campers are feeling connected and more comfortable taking risks. At the end of the second week of camp, we have our dance, and several all-day, sign up trips. Campers can opt to spend the day sailing across Huntington Lake, going on a long horse trail ride, climbing challenging terrain on a rock climbing trip, and more.
3. Social Skills Development “Gold Arrow Camp added a new dimension to our daughter’s summer. She was able participate in sports and activities she had not done before; further develop her social skills by meeting new people and being involved with her cabin mates a large part of
each day; and enjoy free time in a beautiful setting free of electronics.” Mr. & Mrs. Richard Heard Laguna Beach, CA Kids benefit from experiences living and working in groups regardless of the length of time. However, I believe that allowing a group to really bond and connect also allows kids to grow their communication, teamwork, and conflict resolution skills more than when they are in a shorter-term program.
4. Independence and Confidence Building “Both girls came home SO happy! Melissa came home today, Jess last week. Melissa had gone to camp knowing no one, and upon her return, she had to finish BIG hugs good-bye with friends before she’d get in the car to go home. On our drive home, she went a mile a minute with stories about her 2 weeks at GAC, and when she got home, she burst into tears, saying she missed camp, her friends, and that she wished she could live at
camp all year round! At that point we told her she could go back next year for 4 weeks, and she became overjoyed with excitement, and wanted us to sign her up for 2012 right then and there. Jess also had an amazing experience. She came home last Saturday, after 1 week, as she was a Nugget. She, too wants to go back next year, this time for ‘either 2... maybe 4 weeks.’ Considering she’s only 7, we are amazed. Both girls look like they grew 2 inches each while away, but it’s really an extra gained confidence where they’re walking taller and prouder with themselves. We are SO thrilled that we found Gold Arrow Camp, a camp their second cousin went to almost 20 years ago. As the famous vanilla tree has been rooted at GAC for years and years, we look forward to our girls being rooted there for years and years to come, too. Thanks for such a positive, growing, and out of this world experience!” Mr. & Mrs. Doug Wald Encino, CA “As a multi-generational Gold Arrow Family, nothing beats your child immersed high-up in the Sierra Nevada for total fun and adventure. Every day brings a sublime surprise. They return with confident Sierra Nevada Mountain swagger that is part-and-parcel with a positive can-do attitude.” Mr. Michael Bonderer Houston, TX
“GAC gave our daughter the freedom to make choices, and the support to make good ones. Our daughter went from not being able to sleep overnight at friends houses to spending three weeks at GAC. GAC provided our daughter with the confidence of knowing that she can accomplish anything that she sets her mind to complete.” Mr. & Mrs. Ken Reichman Los Angeles, CA For many kids, their stay at camp is the first time that they have ever been away from their parents at all. Some have attended sleep-overs, weekend scout camps, or week-long school programs, but for many campers, their first stay at Gold Arrow is the longest they’ve been away from their parents. We know this, and our counselors are trained to help first-time campers get adjusted to being away and learn to cope with feelings of missing their parents. Campers feel a great sense of pride in themselves after “being on their own,” and having fun, without mom or dad nearby. While two weeks seem slow to parents, especially during their first camp experience, the days fly by at camp. “Two weeks was not enough for our son....now he’s a MONTHER!” Mr. & Mrs. Chris Pedersen Rancho Santa Fe, CA
ANXIETY A growing number of children (and adults) are finding it difficult to separate from technology.
GET UNPLUGGED Researchers at Stanford (and elsewhere) are investigating what many of us intuitively know – all this time spent online is not good for us – or our kids. A key part of the Gold Arrow Camp philosophy is getting campers unplugged during their time at camp. With no cell phones, computers, hand-held games, or iPods, campers can connect face-to-face with each other, make real social connections, and develop their relationship skills. With researchers finding that “the internal experience today is one of hyper-anxiety,” and there has been a “devaluing of thoughtfulness,” how can we afford not to tear ourselves and our kids from our smart phones and computers? Many parents already recognize the benefit of unplugging kids and themselves, and I hope there will be a cultural shift back to living in the moment and focusing on the people we’re with. In the meantime, I’m so grateful we have a place where kids (and the adults who work with them) can get outdoors, get off their computers and cell phones, and learn better skills at relating to people face-to-face! This article, originally published by Stanford Magazine (January/February, 2011), addresses some of the problems arising from our constant connectivity and confirms my belief in the benefits of having some technology-free time. Large excerpts are reprinted here with permission from the Stanford Alumni Association, Stanford University. To read the entire article, visit: goldarrowcamp.com/ontarget. Audrey Monke By Joan O’C. Hamilton There are now roughly 2 billion Internet users worldwide. Five billion earthlings have cell phones. That scale of connectivity offers staggering power: In a few seconds, we can summon almost any fact, purchase a replacement hubcap or locate a cabin mate from those halcyon days at Camp Tewonga. We can call, email, text or chat online with our colleagues, friends and family just about anywhere. (In October, Mount Everest got 3G cell service.) Yet, along with the power has come the feeling that digital devices have invaded our every waking moment. We’ve had to pass laws to get people off their cell phones while driving. Backlit iPads slither into our beds for midnight Words With Friends trysts. Sitcoms poke fun at breakfast tables where siblings text each other to ask that the butter be passed. (According to a Nielsen study, the average 13- to 17-year-old now deals with 3,339 texts a month.)
And now a growing number of researchers here and elsewhere are exploring the social and psychological consequences of virtual experience and digital incursion. Researchers observe the blurring boundaries between real and virtual life, challenge the vaunted claims of multitasking, and ponder whether people need to establish technology-free zones. Psychiatrist Elias Aboujaoude, MS ‘98, MD ‘98, directs clinics for obsessivecompulsive disorders and impulse disorders at the School of Medicine. His patients battle all manner of compulsions, including, increasingly, online addictions that become so central in their lives that the line between real and virtual blurs. In his forthcoming book, Virtually You: The Dangerous Power of the e-Personality (Norton), Aboujaoude writes, “The flip side of enhanced productivity, expediency, and courage can be confusion, pain, and disorientation in the real world.”
Aboujaoude was the lead author on a 2006 study—still the largest study to date—about problem Internet usage. He found that between 4 and 14 percent of the population admitted that a preoccupation with being online was interfering in various ways with their relationships, financial health and other aspects of real life. Only four years later, the research—performed before Facebook caught fire and before smart phones became prevalent—feels as antiquated as the brick-sized portable phones glimpsed in 1980s movies. “We’re becoming more impatient, more narcissistic, more regressed even when there is no browser in sight.” [Communication professor Clifford] Nass and his colleagues published a paper in 2009 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that heavy multitaskers are actually prone to distractions and irrelevant information and perform worse on tests goldarrowcamp.com
designed to measure their ability to focus and successfully switch among tasks. He is increasingly asked by high-tech companies to do research that questions the policies and practices that have fostered multitasking among their workers. “The norm has become ‘you must answer everybody’s text or email right away because if people get immediate answers they can move ahead.’ Well, that’s fine if you’re looking for answers from a Google search. If you keep asking Google questions, it doesn’t bug Google.” But for employees, “the cost of being constantly questioned is a real cost because there is a time limit to every day. In Silicon Valley you hire people who can think deeply and critically, but then you don’t give them time to do that.” More broadly and quite markedly among Stanford students, Nass observes, “the notion of attention has changed radically. It’s becoming perfectly OK to use media while we’re interacting (in real life). That’s an enormous change in the culture. Students will come into my office and not feel at all inhibited from texting while they’re talking to me— until I stop them.” More recently Nass has been working on a study of 3,400 girls, ages 8 to 12, exploring such topics as their use of media and their face-to-face interactions, how frequently they multitask either alone or with friends, and their views of online vs. offline friends. The time frame is key: Studies show that girls’ self-esteem at this age is a critical factor in how well they fare later in life. He’s interested in what it means for preteen girls’ development if they increasingly embrace texting, Facebook and other online ways of communicating in place of face-to-face interaction. “We worry whether you can learn to be social if you are not getting a great deal of practice reading faces and listening to voices,” he says. “Online media remove the nuances of emotion and may make it seem that it is relatively unimportant when people interact with each other.” Nass’ findings were published in Pacific Standard magazine (May/ June 2012) in an article titled “Is Facebook Stunting Your Child’s Growth?” In the article, Nass states, “Tween girls who are heavy users of online social interaction feel less normal than girls who use online social media less frequently.” 16
His solution? Nass says, “The one positive predictor of healthy emotional interactions, as well as feelings of social success: lots of face-to-face communication.” For a link to the complete article, go to goldarrowcamp.com/ontarget - AM Psychologist Stephanie Brown, director of The Addictions Institute in Menlo Park, notes that “the internal experience today is one of hyperanxiety” and that “there has been a devaluing of quiet thoughtfulness.” She treats more and more families struggling with both children and parents who cannot tear themselves away from their devices. “Addictions happen when people are trying to control their emotional state. You find something that makes you feel better and then you want more of it, but then there is emptiness in the payoff. We’re seeing that, overnight, the happy little soccer player becomes the addicted gamer on World of Warcraft.” David Levy, MS ‘74, PhD ‘80, who studied computer science at Stanford says, “The faster we go, the more we overload what we can do, must do and should do. We lose the life-giving dimension of being in the moment.” Levy says research on technology’s unintended consequences is “sort of a hodgepodge” but “that’s just the truth of where we are.” He cites an awakening by essayists and journalists that he compares to the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring warning of the threats to the environment. Examples include Nicholas Carr, who argues that the digital onslaught that makes us better at skimming information is eroding our ability to concentrate and contemplate, and Kevin Kelly, who has suggested that the techno-selective Amish might have something to teach the wired world about the servant/master relationship of devices and their users. The challenge for young and old, it seems, is to keep refreshing the dividing line between real and virtual, cherishing unmediated spaces, and reminding ourselves of the difference between our important personal bonds and the poking connections we maintain with 622 Facebook friends. This may be one of the few challenges we face today where there isn’t, as the saying goes, an app for that.
The Importance of Cabin Group Activities By Alison “Bean” Moeschberger The program at Gold Arrow has been designed to provide campers with a variety of experiences and opportunities while they are at camp. Rather than focusing on skill progression in one area, we feel it is important for campers to be introduced to activities they may not have chosen to do on their own. We strive to create a supportive and encouraging environment in which campers feel comfortable pushing their own boundaries and can learn about themselves as they conquer fears, face challenges, and live in community with others. Cabin groups are scheduled to participate in activities together for two of the three activity periods each day. During cabin activities, the group counselor plays a key role in fostering personal growth in campers. These specialized counselors attend activities with the cabin group and help campers set personal and group goals and hold the group accountable for reaching their goals and encouraging others. Participating in activities as a cabin group allows campers to take risks and push themselves in a safe, supportive environment. Through watching cabin mates overcome fears and accept new challenges, campers learn resilience and empathy. Everyone’s role in the group is necessary, and the group counselor serves to build and enhance the supportive community so that the cabin group feels like a family. The third activity period of the day, called “Free Time,” gives campers an opportunity to sign up for activities as individuals. Campers can try special activities that are only offered during this period or return to an activity they enjoyed with their cabin group. Alison Moeschberger is Program Director at Gold Arrow Camp. A graduate of Purdue University, she taught school for five years prior to joining camp’s year-round staff as Program and Personnel Director. She has been a part of Gold Arrow Camp for the past 19 years as a camper, CIT, and staff member. Alison oversees all staff recruitment, hiring, and training. She also oversees all camp program activities. Alison is married to Andy “Soy” Moeschberger, who oversees camp operations during the summer. Their newborn daughter Ellie will join them at camp in 2013. goldarrowcamp.com
Share Their Stories…
“Sailing back from Will-O this year, I realized that Gold Arrow Camp is a place where you can be yourself and no one will judge you, unlike school, where kids make fun of people left and right. I wish I could always be in an environment like GAC, and this was the year where I didn’t want to leave most.” - Scout Brown, camper since 2008 “I am a big fan of all the fun activities GAC has to offer, but the social aspect is what really makes the camp special. In all my years as a camper, never have I felt disliked by any of my cabin mates. I have always made new friends, and I always look forward to seeing them, and counselors in the next summer.” - Owen Pyper, camper since 2006 “I have grown as a person and I have made so many amazing friends here that I never would have met otherwise. The counselors I have had over the years have become my role models. Throughout the year, the number one thing I look forward to is coming to camp, and I always have something to look forward to, especially when I’m stressed out at school.” - Claire Murphy, camper since 2008 “My favorite thing about GAC is how positive and enthusiastic everyone is at all times. Nowhere else on earth is there a place filled with so much happiness, love and optimism.” - Stevie Goodrich, camper since 2005
“GAC has influenced me in so many different ways. I have learned to make friends, work with others, and become more independent. Gold Arrow has had such a positive impact on me that I do not know what kind of a person I would be if I never came.” - Elizabeth Zigrang, camper since 2003 “GAC has really pushed me to be the person that I am, make the best out of that, and be happy. My favorite thing about GAC is the people, not a single person at Gold Arrow is rude, everyone’s always happy and friendly. GAC is my second home, and the best place to relax my mind about everything but fun!” - Henry Yeary, camper since 2007 “My time at Gold Arrow Camp has made me more outgoing, friendlier, and independent. If it hadn’t been for going to camp, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The counselors taught me to take risks (in a positive manner) and being away from home has made me the independent person I am today.” - Paige DeYoung, camper since 2008, CIT 2011-2012
“GAC is an amazing camp where I’m able to do tons of different activities. There are no electronics, and it is one of the happiest times of my year.” - Quentin Talley, camper since 2007
Family History By Katie Kroger When I was six years old, my family and I went to a GAC information night to learn about camp. Although our family has a long history at Gold Arrow Camp, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. My dad and his sisters went to GAC in the 1970s, and my grandfather went to GAC in the 1930s. My uncle on my mother’s side also went to GAC in the 70s, and all my cousins from both sides of my family went to GAC. Every Christmas we would hear camp stories from my cousins, and my parents anticipated that my sister and I would go once we were old enough. After the information night, I was so excited to go to camp that I packed my luggage when we got home. My parents were busy putting my younger sister to bed when I marched in carrying my duffle bag and announced that I was ready to go! I didn’t realize that camp wasn’t until the summer and I also didn’t realize that my parents weren’t even sure they would send me to camp when I was six. However, I was so enthusiastic about going that my parents enrolled me in the “Nuggets” session for that summer.
Jimmy Kroger, (Top row, middle) 1976, Cabin 19
I am now fifteen and I am still as enthusiastic about going to camp as I was at six. This year was my 10th summer at GAC and I also got to go to the Shaver Specialty camp. Every year seems like the best year ever and Shaver was the most fun week of my life. I love GAC because of the friends that I have made, the amazing counselors, and fun activities. I still keep in touch with my friends from past years. I love being in the outdoors and trying new things each year. I am always challenging myself to do better and it’s always easier with my cabin
Celebrating 80 Summers! join us for our
August 24-26, 2013 For more information visit: goldarrowcamp.com/alumni
Katie Kroger 2012 , Cabin 8
r 10 Year
mates there to support me. It’s always exciting to see others try new things and accomplish their goals, too. I love to encourage others and cheer for their accomplishments. I am applying to be a CIT for next summer and I want to be a Shaver water sports counselor when I’m older. A few years after I started going to Gold Arrow, my younger sister, Elizabeth, started going to GAC when she turned six. This year was her 7th summer at GAC. Our older cousins are off in college now and no longer go to GAC, but one was a CIT and another was a Horse Counselor. This summer our younger cousin went to Gold Arrow for her first time. She loved it and she has two younger sisters who want to follow in her footsteps. We still all tell GAC stories when we get together at Christmas and it is fun to see the younger cousins continue the tradition. My sister and I love having Gold Arrow Camp in common with our dad. My dad always says how much he liked the vanilla smell of the Jeffrey Pine trees, so every year we send him a few pine needles in our letters from camp. When we go backpacking with our dad in the Sierras, we all keep an eye out for Jeffrey Pines to remind us of GAC. My dad learned to sail at GAC and fondly remembers Will–O’The-Wisp trips. My sister and I have both learned to sail on Huntington Lake, too, and one of the highlights of camp is going on the day-long Will-O’ trip. My dad has a Laser sailboat at home and we all like to sail together.
Camie Kroger (Stosic) 1968
We often wear our GAC t-shirts and sometimes we run into people who say “I went to camp at GAC!!!” Sometimes it’s other kids and sometimes it’s older people, but we all have the same great memories of Gold Arrow Camp. It’s fun to think about all these generations of people having the same fun experiences at camp that I’ve had. Katie Kroger is a 10-year camper whose family has a history at GAC that dates back to the 1930s.
Photos from 1968 courtesy of the Kroger family.
Hand-Written Letters By Audrey “Sunshine” Monke
Recently, I went through the many boxes of letters, photos, and memorabilia which I collected over my first four decades. It was a time-consuming task, but I organized into a smaller number of boxes what had been accumulated for the first half of my life. What struck me most was the huge number of letters I amassed from my childhood, high school, and college friends. I didn’t remember how much we corresponded, but there were hundreds of letters! I now have proof of the many friendships that were solidified over hours of writing to one another. Not only was there a huge volume of letters, some of the letters were ten pages long, with tiny writing. Others were short notes or fun greeting cards. Most of them were in beautiful, cursive writing, even some from boys! What an amazing thing to think about. Back then, without the distractions we all have today, we had TIME to write letters like that! Plus, we enjoyed it, and were good at it! We wrote letters, because often long distance phone calls were too expensive. Many of us traveled and studied overseas, so the letters chronicle our trips. Of course, the process of trying to get rid of most of this paper required that I at least skim through each one. I pulled out many that I simply couldn’t bear to
throw away. I found letters from my late grandparents, with their words of wisdom. I found letters my parents had written to me over the years. I also found letters from friends showing major teen angst, which is a good reminder now that I have teens of my own. We weren’t that different back then after all! It’s just that we didn’t splash our anger and sadness at each other on Facebook. We wrote each other heart-felt notes. One thing I realized is that my kids will not have a big box of letters like mine. They don’t write letters like we did in the pre-computer, pre-email, pre-social networking, pre-cell phone era. But then I had a revelation! They DO still get to send and receive letters. It’s when they’re at camp! I have told parents how much campers enjoy getting “real” mail while at camp (the kind with a stamp), but now I have realized another benefit – they will have these letters as keepsakes and memories of their childhood. And you, as parents, most definitely should save all of the letters you get from your camper! Among my box, I came across a postcard I sent to my parents in 1977, when I was a camper at Gold Arrow Camp. This is what it said, in my very careful, 10-year-old cursive:
We have gotten some good laughs in our house over this postcard. Not just about how I spelled “counselor,” but about my comment about the “Mail Meal” (dinners on Wednesday and Sunday that you need to have a letter or postcard home as your ticket in). The dreaded “Mail Meal” has been a camp tradition for as long as anyone can remember, but I didn’t even remember thinking it was a bad thing. My adult view is much different than my ten year old one! I now understand how much parents need those letters. I hope most kids get beyond the “I have to write this letter” part, and share some of their feelings and memories of camp. The resulting memorabilia will be priceless.
FOR A RELUCTANT CAMPER “I’ve learned that the same kid who is anxious and hesitant about going to camp when he’s nine or ten will most likely still be anxious when he’s thirteen.” By Audrey “Sunshine” Monke I talk to a lot of parents before they send their children to camp, and many have anxious campers. In some cases, kids have had a negative experience at a one-week school science camp and don’t think they can “make it for two weeks.” In other cases, the kid is a “home body” who prefers being online to playing outdoors. When talking to parents who are unsure if they should send their child to camp, I share my opinion that for very young kids (ages 6-8), it’s best to wait on camp if the child is not enthusiastic about going. Many of our younger campers are siblings of older kids who have attended camp. They have heard about camp for years and can’t wait to participate. Young kids who are excited to come to camp do fine and rarely struggle with homesickness. But if your child is nine or ten and is telling you they’re “not ready” or “don’t want to go,” you as a parent need to decide what’s best for your child. After spending close to three decades working at camp, I’ve learned that the same kid who is anxious and hesitant about going to camp when he’s nine or ten will most likely still be anxious when he’s thirteen. As a parent, you need to decide how to approach your child’s anxiety, as well as your own. You can avoid it, not send them to camp, and hope that they develop independence in other ways, which is definitely possible. Or, you can bite the bullet, give them these positive messages, and send them off to 24
camp with a smile, knowing that it may be hard for them, but they will grow from the experience. In Michael Thompson, PhD.’s book Homesick and Happy, he says “It is the very challenge of camp that makes it such a life-changing experience for so many children.” According to Thompson, “Homesickness is not a psychiatric illness. It is not a disorder. It is the natural, inevitable consequence of leaving home. Every child is going to feel it, more or less, sooner or later. Every adult has had to face it and overcome it at some point in life … If you cannot master it, you cannot leave home.” I know there are many parents and children who just can’t stomach the idea of going through some painful time apart. You need not read further if you are not sending your reluctant child to camp. This article is for those of you who have decided that your child is going to camp regardless of their reluctance, and also for parents whose previously excited camper is now having last-minute camp anxiety. Pick and choose the messages that you believe will resonate with your child, and, of course, use your own words. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and empathize while expressing confidence in your child and in the camp experience. Share your own stories!
“I am so excited that you get to go to camp this year. You are ready for this adventure, and I know it will be so much fun.”
“You may feel homesick, and that’s okay. A lot of kids feel that way. That just means that you love us and you love home. I feel homesick when I’m on trips, too. Missing home is part of life. But I know you can still have fun at camp, even if you feel sad sometimes.”
“There are adults at camp (counselors, directors) who are there to take care of you and help you with anything you need. They can help with things you normally come to me about. Let them know if you are feeling sad, and they can help you. They have lots of experience working with kids who are away from home for the first time.”
“It may seem like a long way off, but in a few years, you’ll be ready for college. I want you to feel confident in your ability to live away from me, so that you can choose any school you like, even if it’s far away from home. Think of camp as your practice time for when you’re older and ready to move away for school or a job. You’ll get better at being independent by starting now, when you’re young, with short spurts of time away. Some kids aren’t doing well when they start college, because they don’t have any experience being away from home. I want you to feel great when you go to college, because you’ll know that you’ve already been successful with short camp stays.”
“Many good things in life aren’t easy at first. Learning a new sport or trying something new is really hard. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to discover something you really love. If you never go through anything hard, you’re going to miss out on some great experiences. The first few days of camp may be hard, and that’s okay. I know you’ll work through it and figure out what makes you feel better. I have confidence in you, and I am so proud of you for going to camp and trying this new adventure!”
“Every day comes with its good and bad parts. When you’re at camp, I want you to write me letters and tell me all of the stuff that you’re doing and feeling. If you feel homesick at rest time, tell me about it, and also tell me what you did to help yourself. Did you talk to your counselor? Keep yourself busy playing cards with friends? Write me a letter? I also want you to share good stuff. Did you get your favorite food for lunch? Try rock climbing? Get up on a wakeboard? I want to hear both the good and bad things about camp in your letters.”
“Even if you’re a little homesick for the whole time you’re at camp, you’re going to feel so much better about the experience if you stick it out and make the best of it. Most kids feel better after a few days of getting settled in and adjusted, and I know you’ll feel great once you let yourself relax and just start enjoying all the fun things at camp. I’m not going to pick you up early, no matter what, because I know you will feel really proud of yourself for making it through camp, even if you have some hard days.” Another great way to encourage your child to be more enthusiastic about camp, besides sharing these messages, is to connect them with a child who’s been to camp. Hearing from a trusted friend about how much fun camp is can help a child overcome their anxieties. Further reading: Homesick and Happy, by Michael Thompson PhD.; The Summer Camp Handbook, by Dr. Christopher Thurber goldarrowcamp.com
â€œGold Arrow Camp has made me enjoy the little things that I have in life, showed me how strong friendship can last, how much I love summer, and to have fun in life.â€? - Trevor Chong, 2012 camper
How Camp Fuels
Year-Round By Christine Carter, Ph.D.
I will never, not ever, forget the first time I dropped my kids off at Gold Arrow Camp.
were traded, plans to sneak into each other’s cabins made.
The drop-off didn’t go very well.
Molly had a plan: Fiona would take care of her. She was nervous, but also excited. Fiona was calm, reassuring.
When I was a kid, I begged and begged to go to sleep-away camp with my best friend, Rory. I did extra chores to earn it, and I counted the days until I got there. I don’t remember being homesick, or sad at the drop-off. I remember feeling wild and free. I loved the horses and the outdoors and ceramics. I got postcards from my teachers. It was awesome. My kids had mixed feelings about going to camp that first year: they were excited, but also scared. “TWO WEEKS!?” my youngest cried when I told her what, to me, was great news: They were going to summer camp! “They have horses!” I said cheerfully, trying to drum up excitement. “And sailing! I’ve never been sailing myself,” I mourned. “You’ll get to do it before I do!” I said this knowing full well that sailing is actually not on my daughters’ bucket list. It’s on mine. The kids spent the last few weeks readying for camp and making serious sister pacts to stick together. My younger daughter, Molly, was particularly concerned about what would happen if her older sister made friends first. Would Fiona and she still pick the same activities? Could Molly join Fiona with her new friends? Pinky-swears of allegiance
That is, until about an hour before we arrived at camp. At which point Fiona became more clammy than cool and collected. She developed vague “not feeling well” symptoms. She was too carsick to eat lunch. When we arrived, she was faintly green. Altitude sick, I declared. “Drink some water,” I insisted. “Take deep breaths,” I said, taking them myself. “Think good thoughts, Fiona. Find two things to be excited about.” Frankly, I was feeling faint myself. But the thing is, I believe that it is important to challenge kids. To get them truly outside of their comfort zones so that they can grow. Hence two weeks instead of a mini-camp. My desire to challenge my kids was reinforced in an Atlantic article about “Why the obsession with our kids’ happiness may be dooming them to unhappy adulthoods.” The gist of this article is that “kids who always have problems solved for them believe that they don’t know how to solve problems.” And the article is right—they don’t. www.goldarrowcamp.com goldarrowcamp.com
Christine Carter trained our 2012 staff to teach campers gratitude and kindness, and to use growth mindset praise.
“In sending my kids to camp, I make it abundantly clear what I value: real time spent outdoors, the social skills needed to make new friends, compassion, gratitude, and most importantly, their own autonomy.”
The article reminded me that happiness— an often fleeting emotion—in and of itself is not the goal. That comfort—my own or my children’s—is not the goal. Instead, all of this is about how to lead a happy life. And while it’s true that a happy life comes from positive emotions (like gratitude and compassion, for example), it also comes from having the tools we need to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and painful moments. My kids have had their difficulties in the last several years—my divorce, a move away from a beloved school and neighborhood, a humbling medical situation—and they’ve risen to each challenge, though not without pain. (I’d like to pause to acknowledge that even with those difficulties, my kids have a pretty cushy life. We don’t have to worry about where the next meal is coming from or where we will sleep tonight. That said, the fear the kids had anticipating me leaving them at camp was very real to all of us.) At any rate, by sending my kids to camp, I was sending them the message that I believe that they can manage loneliness, and homesickness emotions themselves, without me standing over their shoulders telling them to breathe. As awful as it sometimes feels to me, they simply don’t always need me there, telling them what to do and what to think. By sending my kids to camp, I send them the message that I think it is incredibly
important to unplug for a while every year. And not just from electronics and phones and computers and TVs, but also from their well-meaning but often over-bearing mom. They learn that it won’t kill them to not report back to me on every high point and low point of their day, every kind deed, every “good thing.” In sending my kids to camp, I make it abundantly clear what I value: real time spent outdoors, the social skills needed to make new friends, compassion, gratitude (compassion and gratitude are themes at GAC), and most importantly, their own autonomy. I say all this, but of course deep down I wanted it to be easy for them. So when Fiona became so nervous as we dropped her off that she needed to lie down in the Wellness Center, I also became a nervous wreck. “She’ll be fine,” the camp nurse reassured me. “Now we need you to hop on that van – it is the last one headed back to the parking lot!” I had become the lingering parent who wouldn’t leave and who was making the whole thing worse for her kid by trying to make it better. But who could fault me for not wanting to leave my kid IN THE WELLNESS CENTER?! I justified to myself. In the end, Fiona rallied, but not before she became so nervous she threw up, just minutes after I got on the bus back
to the parking lot. She spent her first four hours at camp with the nurse, who french-braided her hair and gave her cold cloths for her forehead until she was feeling better. She looks back on that time and mostly remembers being bored; the nurse needed to be sure she didn’t have a flu or something, and so even once Fiona felt fine, she had to stay in the Wellness Center for a while. I didn’t know until she got home that Fiona had thrown up (thank goodness I didn’t know that; who knows what I would have done if I knew). Once I got back to my car, two weeks of profound discomfort began for me. I spent those two weeks obsessively checking the camp website for photos and my mailbox for postcards, looking for evidence that my girls were happy. I answered dozens of emails and comments on my blog, defending my decision to send my kids to camp, and to leave Fiona there in the Wellness Center, terrified. After what seemed like two years, the kids came home on the GAC bus, wearing t-shirts that said, “Happy Camper.” And, in fact, that is what they were: so, so happy.
challenges, and learned to accept their discomfort as a part of their growth. Both kids made friends that they kept in touch with all year, and hope to return to GAC every year with “forever.”
Still, sending kids to camp is not for wimps. It requires a leap of faith that the difficulty (and, l’ll just say it, that the cost) will be worth it. It requires an ability to manage the emotional discomfort that comes with not-knowing, not-controlling, not-checking—it requires just trusting. But I’m comfortable with that discomfort.
Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a parent coach and the author of RAISING HAPPINESS: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. She coaches and teaches online classes in order to help parents bring more joy into their own lives and the lives of their children, and she writes an award-winning blog for parents and couples. She is also a sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. Sign up for her short weekly Happiness Tips at www. christinecarter.com.
in a way they
of being helped them tune into nature don’t anywhere else.”
Two weeks of being unplugged helped them tune into nature in a way they don’t anywhere else. Though both reported missing home, they found comfort in knowing that they could cope with homesickness. They each tried dozens of new activities and sports, took on new goldarrowcamp.com
Parenting Challenges and How Camp can Help In today’s digital, fast-moving, ultracompetitive world, raising kids who grow into happy, independent adults has become more challenging for parents. Gold Arrow Camp offers a traditional camp experience that many parents have found to benefit their child’s development of important life skills. Independence, perseverance, and social skills are just a few things that campers learn in the supportive community of camp. In partnership with parents who are focused on their child’s healthy development, Gold Arrow Camp offers a positive, child-focused outdoor camp program that counteracts some of the negative experiences children are facing in school, sports, social life, and cyber space. “Gold Arrow Camp took my city kid, who could barely ride a bike, and returned a sailing, camping, climbing, in love with the outdoors young man.” - Jennifer Lansing Chicago, Illinois
Challenge #1: Too Much Screen Time, Not Enough Outside Time
In our increasingly digital world, children are spending less time outside and more time in front of screens. The negative impact of our digital lifestyle is evident in kids’ expanding waistlines and lack of interest in being outdoors. Whether texting, posting and reading updates on Facebook, or watching TV, our children are being inundated with digital input. The attraction of the media is hard to resist, so most of us (including us parents) simply succumb to having the near constant presence of our electronics. Many of us find it hard to drag ourselves away from our laptops and smart phones, and often our schedules and lifestyle don’t allow for adequate time to just be outside and enjoy our natural surroundings. Richard Louv coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” in his book Last Child in the Woods to describe the alarming trend of children spending less and less time outdoors. Whether due to sensational media accounts of lost hikers that have fanned parental fears, or simply a lack of time in over-scheduled lives, children simply aren’t outside playing as much as they used to. “I’ve learned to face my fears, I’ve tried new things, and I have learned that you don’t always need to have your phone or video games.” - Kimberly, 2012 camper
Gold Arrow Camp gives kids the experience of two weeks of electronicsfree fun in a rustic, natural setting. In the heart of California’s Sierra National Forest, campers sleep in large tents on wood platforms, enjoy nightly campfires, and watch the sun set over Huntington Lake. At night, campers count shooting stars and share stories with camp friends, and don’t even think about their TV, video games, and cell phones!
2 1 34 Challenge #2: Helping Kids Become Independent Adults
Whether due to parenting trends (“helicoptering”) or being so connected to our kids (both in our close relationships and via our digital leashes), children are much less independent than we were at the same age. Twenty years ago, we were babysitting infants at age 13. Now, some of us hire babysitters for our 13 year olds! Ironically, kids are experimenting with drugs, sex, and other high-risk behaviors younger than ever, possibly as a result of feeling so little independence and control in their own lives. College freshman are struggling to adjust to being away from home, and many who start school away from their parents end up back at home. Colleges have staff dedicated to orienting and communicating with parents, who are closely involved from the application process right through to job interviews post college. Many college graduates move back home and slide right into a dependent lifestyle. This “endless adolescence” just isn’t natural. As a society, we are not doing a good job of launching our children into independent adult life. “My shy, quiet nine year old went to Gold Arrow Camp not knowing a soul. Two weeks later, my daughter came home transformed. She blossomed. She made friends, learned a multitude of activities, felt safe, loved, confident, and happy, really happy. As hard as it was on me, it was all worth it for her. I know this is the single best thing I have ever done for her.” - Cheryl Epstein Long Beach, CA
Gold Arrow parents understand the value of giving their children early, independent life experiences. While knowing their children are well-supervised in a safe, supportive community, parents feel great about giving their child the opportunity to have a few weeks of independence from them. Children as young as seven years old successfully complete two-week camp stays and feel a great sense of pride and independence as a result. Without having their cell phone to immediately contact their parents with every question and need, kids learn to rely on themselves and seek support from their counselors and cabin mates.
Challenge #3: Everything’s a Competition
From the first conversation about whose child learned to walk or talk first, parenting today (and life in general) seems to have become one giant competition. Who’s in the top reading group? Who made the “A” soccer team? Who’s top of the class? Who got elected class president? Who got picked for cheer leading?
In trying to help our kids keep up, and leave opportunities open for them, we often end up pushing too hard for our kids to do well in too many areas. Many kids are taking challenging course work at school, competing on high level sports teams with demanding practice schedules, learning a musical instrument, and being involved in clubs (to make sure they are “well rounded”). Often, finding something they are passionate about or truly enjoy goes on the back burner. With little free time to explore and try new things, many kids don’t even know what they like. And, much of the time, kids feel badly because they are not the one picked for the team or deemed “the best.” Most of us aren’t. “Everything you do is made into fun. There is no competitiveness. There is this sense that I am able to let my kids experience some of what it was like to grow up in safer, less congested, slower times, where they have independence and low-tech fun.” - Stephanie Kaufman Pacific Palisades Gold Arrow Camp offers kids the unique opportunity to relax and have fun in a noncompetitive environment. All of the camp programs are recreational activities where campers support each other to improve their individual skills. Whether cheering each other on to get up on water skis or a wake board, or learning to skipper a sailboat together, camp is all about enjoying life, learning new outdoor skills, and enjoying the company of friends.
Challenge #4: Good Friends are Hard to Find
We all want our children to be happy and find good friends, but it’s often not as easy as it seems. With kids competing for the same spots on teams, and eventually the same spots in colleges, many friendships become competitive. Some children simply don’t have time to spend building strong one-on-one relationships. Often, time spent with friends is only in structured settings like school and sports. Some kids are shy, socially awkward, or get bullied at school or online. “Because of my time at camp, I’ve been more confident in everything I do and I popped out of my shy shell.” - Kinsey, 2012 camper
At Gold Arrow Camp, our focus is on building community and helping campers develop close friendships. Campers are assigned to cabin groups of 8-10 similar-aged kids. Two counselors serve as cabin leaders and help campers get to know each other. Team building games at the start of camp, similar to what corporations use to build teamwork, are used to help foster good communication and teamwork. Gold Arrow Camp is unique in that we have a structured camp program, which differs from the “free choice” programs most camps offer. While “free choice” sounds good on the surface, it requires campers to individually sign up for activities. With our structured program, campers do activities as a group and do not have the pressure of finding kids to sign up for activities with or trying new activities for the first time without the support of cabin mates and their counselor. Many kids at “free choice” camps simply choose not to try things they haven’t done before, for fear of embarrassing themselves. At Gold Arrow, all of our campers try everything in a supportive, group setting. Through all of their shared experiences, they form close bonds with their camp friends.
Counselors in Training
Who are CITs and what do they do? • CITs are experienced GAC campers who have completed 10th or 11th grade. • The CIT application process includes obtaining references and a personal interview. • CITs live and work with our youngest cabin groups. • CITs participate in leadership and counseling workshops. • CITs help instruct activities. • CITs help plan and set-up camp special events: dance, carnival & banquet. For more information about our CIT program visit goldarrowcamp.com/campers/cit-information/ 32
What Did You Learn At Camp? “It was my first time at a sleep away camp, and I’m sure it will change my life forever.” -Zakai, 2012 camper
I learned… …that being really, really scared is all right as long as you try. Mira …to thank people who help you out. Isaac …to be more social, and I tested my strength a lot and tried more things. Aubree …to be thankful for the great opportunities of trying new things and exploring new places. In addition, I learned to be thankful for my parents for giving me these opportunities. Jake …to be a better person at camp and I learned to do so many new things. Emma …about trust, gratitude, friendship, boats, capsizing, and horses. Mia …to be more clean and organized. Javier …to be more outgoing. Contessa …to be more independent. Patrick …how to make friends with anyone. Brooklyn …how to ride a bike, make friends easily, and to be myself. Megan …to not use electronics, to make new friends, and to have fun. Irene …I got better at sharing. Adlai …to accept others for who they are. Cassandra …that even if something is hard, keep trying. Mason …to try everything. Chase …manners. Cole …how to let go of my insecurities. Paige …the skill of perseverance. Like on the Big Swing – I was nervous but I persevered and pulled the string. Elizabeth …that if you are very high, don’t look down. Keaton …how to take on my fears. Max …to always accept people and let other people share their opinions and ideas. Charlotte …there is always something to be grateful for. Patrick goldarrowcamp.com
Bringing Healthy Camp Habits Home Dr. Jim “Bones” Sears For two weeks each summer I work as a camp doctor at a summer camp in the California Sierras (near Yosemite). 2013 will be my 9th summer doing this and I look forward to it every year. My kids attend as campers, and they have a blast! I’m always amazed at how good I feel after two weeks up in the mountains! For one thing, I’m always moving. Each morning, I get up a bit early and go for a 30-minute hike. This really gets the heart pumping and is a great way to start the day! The rest of the day, I’m walking all over camp with all the campers going from activity to activity. Sometimes I take an extra trip from the lake up to the nurse’s building to take care of a bump or bruise, but the whole day everyone is moving! When I get back home it doesn’t have to mean a return to the typical sedentary American lifestyle. There’s no reason why we all can’t wake up 30 minutes early and go for a walk or jog before starting the day. We can walk or bike to school or work (I actually do ride my bike to work). We can walk to lunch – that’s actually one of the more refreshing things I do. I walk about 5 blocks to one of my favorite Asian restaurants. Taking a walk after dinner is also a great way to keep moving, and it usually leads to some good family conversations. I bet you can think of a dozen more ways to keep moving! Aside from constantly moving, another reason we feel so good is how we eat, or more specifically, what we DON’T eat. 34
We don’t snack on junk! We have three healthy meals complete with lots of fruits and veggies, but the absence of junk snacks in-between meals is saving us several hundred calories a day. And it’s not just the calories that matter, it’s the fact that most of the snacks at home are empty junk calories like chips, cookies, or sweets! At camp, the kids are snacking on apples, oranges or raisins. Take the junk away (even at home) and I guarantee you will start to feel better. What?! No snacks?! It’s funny, but my kids and I don’t even miss it. We’re usually too busy having fun to notice that we’re even a little hungry. It’s interesting that it seems the moment I stop moving and start lounging, that’s when I get the cravings to snack! One of the other things I absolutely LOVE about being up at camp is the “no electronics” rule. For 2 weeks, all the campers have no cell phones, no texting, no Wii, no Playstation, no TV, no DVDs, no Xbox, no Facebook… Nothing but nature, and each other. Imagine trying this at home? How much would your kids complain if you told them no TV or video games for the next two weeks? You would have mutiny on your hands! But up at camp, no one complains… and they have fun… TONS of fun without all that! Apart from all the camp activities (horses, canoes, bikes, etc), even in their leisure time they play games, sing songs, tell stories, run around and have a blast, without any electronics. The benefits of relating to each other instead of a screen are amazing! It gives some very overused parts of your brain a little time off… and
awakens some of the neglected parts! Of course, you don’t have to be at camp to unplug your kids. Every few months, usually on a weekend, I’ll just let the kids know that we’re going unplugged for a day. WHAT?!?! was their response the first time I tried this, but they quickly found other ways to have fun. They invited friends over and rode bikes, played capture-the-flag, went on a “treasure hunt,” constructed a fort. When was the last time your family sat around the kitchen table and played cards, told stories, looked at old photos… or did anything that didn’t involve TV or video games? Try it! You’ll be amazed at how much your imagination can develop and how much fun you can have as a family using each other for entertainment! For my kids (and myself for that matter), the time at camp is the best two weeks of the year. It is the perfect time to give our bodies and brains a much needed vacation from the all the stress, technology, lack of movement, and processed foods that are normally a big part of the typical American life. It’s a time to recharge, relax, and remember what it feels like to be in optimum health. It gives me a great goal as to how I should feel like all year round. Dr. Jim “Bones” Sears is a pediatrician in southern California who stars on the television show “The Doctors” when he’s not sailing & mountain biking at GAC.
Ways to Connect with GAC Call us! 1-800-554-2267 Visit our webpage! goldarrowcamp.com Email Us! firstname.lastname@example.org Like us on Facebook! facebook.com/goldarrowcamp/ Follow our blogs! sunshine-parenting.com and goldarrowcamp.wordpress.com Participate in one of our upcoming events: GAC Chats (camp presentations) GAC Runners
To see the current schedule of all upcoming events, go to goldarrowcamp.com/parents/events/ or scan this code: Meet more Year-Round Staff: Chelsea “Chelster” Rowe Chelsea Rowe is the Associate Director of Gold Arrow Camp. Chelsea holds a Bachelor’s Degree from U.C. Davis. Being involved with camp for twenty-five years, Chelsea has a long history with camp. Not only was Chelsea a former GAC camper, but her parents were former counselors who met at Gold Arrow. Now she and her children, Macy and Elliot, spend their summers at GAC. Together with her husband, Steve, they spend the rest of the year in southern California. Chelsea , who is called “Chelster” at camp, is committed to the welfare of campers, helping to create summer memories that will last a lifetime.
Amy “Glitter” Bolton Amy Bolton is the Camp Registrar and Office Manager at Gold Arrow Camp. Amy has been a part of Gold Arrow Camp for the past 12 years, starting as an office assistant in 2001 and joining the year round staff in 2004. Amy oversees all camper registration, parent communication, and day to day office functions. She enjoys talking to parents throughout the year and helping to make sure that every camp family has a wonderful experience. At camp, Amy goes by “Glitter” and is available by phone to help parents with any step of the camp process from registration to the first day of camp.
Steve “Monkey” Monke Steve Monke is Co-Director of Gold Arrow Camp with his wife, Audrey. Together, they have five children. He holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from UCLA. In 2013, he will celebrate his 25th summer at Gold Arrow Camp. Steve oversees all areas of the camp business and operations and is committed to the safety and well-being of Gold Arrow’s campers and staff. Steve has served as an Accreditation Visitor for the American Camp Association and has been a board member of the Western Association of Independent Camps. Steve, who goes by “Monkey,” lives at camp with his family each summer.
644 Pollasky Ave. Suite 100 Clovis, CA 93612
How do you get to camp?
Shaver Lake 5
Charter buses pick up and drop off campers at these locations on the first and last day of camp session. Out-of-state and international campers fly into Fresno Yosemite Air Terminal or San Francisco Airport.
Dublin San Francisco
Fresno 99 41
Santa Clarita Los Angeles 5