How We Develop Our Staff…

For nearly thirty-five years, Michael Thompson, Ph.D., has worked as a clinical psychologist, school consultant, and international speaker on the subjects of children, schools, and parenting. He has authored nine books focusing on the emotional lives of boys, friendships and social cruelty in childhood, the impact of summer camp experiences on child development, and other related topics. In preparing directly with Dr. Thompson for his full-day series of workshops at Blue Star, we have narrowed his focus on inclusion. Forming the basis of his interactive sessions with our counselors and leadership staff will be his book: Best Friends, Worst Enemies (Understanding the Social Lives of Children).

Dr. Thompson writes the following about children’s friendships:

As children grow, their friendships become more complex and layered but also more emotionally fraught, marked by both extraordinary intimacy and bewildering cruelty. As parents, we watch, and often live through vicariously, the tumult that our children experience as they encounter the “cool” crowd, shifting alliances, bullies, and disloyal best friends.

Our emphasis with Dr. Thompson will be how to help our counselors become more mindful of how each of the campers in their cabin are coping with all of these social nuances. Drawing on anecdotes from our staff from past experiences, both as campers themselves and as counselors, Dr. Thompson will aim to illuminate a path toward more expert guidance from our counselors for our campers. Of course, our leadership team will debrief, re-enforce, and continually come back to best practices and learnings from these workshops all the way through the summer as part of ongoing staff development. Creating a safe space where all campers can feel comfortable being their authentic selves is at the very heart of our work at camp…we are excited to kick off our 70th season with the sage advice of Dr. Thompson and to build a summer community committed to inclusion and kindness.

For tons more info and resources, please visit Dr. Thompson’s website…

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