4 Books and Videos for Future Camp Directors

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Becoming a Camp Director

When Laura and I started thinking more critically about starting the Stomping Ground, becoming summer camp directors, and being more intentional with our interactions with kids we went down some ridiculous rabbit holes listening to, watching, and reading about a million different ideas. We listened to all the CampHacker Podcasts, we read all the books the Old Guard recommended (Good to Great, Purple Cow, Whale Done, etc), we scoured Gary Forster's old newsletters, read Scott Arizala's S'more Than Camp, and read everything we could find on ACA's website all while trying to visit as many camps as we could living in the back of an old Honda Civic.

If you are anything like me you can quickly get overwhelmed with the amount of information out there about working with young people. Laura and I get calls all the time about how to start a summer camp or become a camp director. We start by encouraging the people who call us to read/watch these three books/videos and then to work at or visit as many camps as possible. We love Camp Stella Maris, the camp we grew up at, but it wasn't until we started working other places that we started to see what the rest of the camp industry was like. It changed our lives.

Here are some of our favorite books and videos that inspired our thinking about kids, people, and living peacefully in community. These philosophies and schools of thought have drastically change the lens we see the world through, and the decisions we make at our summer camp.

Building Your Lens To Make Decisions at Camp

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Nonviolent Communication

Marshall Rosenburg believed if we could speak to each other in a way that more accurately communicated our needs we could connect to each other more joyfully and therefore resolve conflicts more effectively.

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Free to Learn by Peter Gray

Peter Gray, a evolutionary psychologist, studies how humans have evolved to learn through play. He looks at hunter gather societies, conventional schooling, and alternative schooling breaking down the differences between what humans have evolved to do and what we ask children to do everyday.

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Self Determination Theory

Developed by Richard Ryan and Edward Deci. The fundamental ideas here is that people are intrinsically motivated to be curious, learn, and give when their physically and psychological needs are met. Their psychological needs are autonomy, competence, and relatedness. *(not a book but a great resource)

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Creative Schools

Sir Ken Robinson outlines the tangible steps forward to changing our current education model. It is a long form explanation follow up to the broad strokes he outlines in his TED talk. This talk also inspired our drawing videos.

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What are your favorite resources?

Hope these resources are useful to you. I would love to hear what ideas have helped shape your lens for being with kids, people, and community. Comment below.

Jack Interested in becoming a camp director? Send me an email. jack@gocamp.pro

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