A Different Approach: Have Fun!
Think about it for a minute. Why would creating changes in behavior or developing insight have to be unpleasant? There is really just no reason for it. Most people do agree- in order to change, a person has to want to change. The best way to start the process is to build a real connection. Having fun is simply part of the process.
When we set out to create the best summer camp to guide troubled teens, we wanted it all: adventure, beauty, whitewater, climbing, the works. Our North Carolina location there are so many fun and exciting activities. We have an awesome setting in the mountains. On campus we have a Frisbee golf course (see the video below) and rock climbing, hiking, whitewater, zip-lining (see video below) and caving opportunities abound! We participate in team building activities and drama classes which have an underlying value.
We have a ton of fun at Summerland Camps! Campers choose between the following activities:
The following activities each camper must participate in (or is highly encouraged to participate):
- Focus groups – Living with Technology I, II, III and IV (depending on camper’s enrollment length)
- Team Challenges
- Whitewater and Caving
- Skit Night
- Talent Show
- Sing a Longs
- Camp Olympics (obstacle course, tug-a-war, trike race, team activities)
- Climbing Wall
- Beach Games (California Location)
- Scavenger Hunt
Camp to Guide Troubled Teens: Summerland Camps versus Boot Camps
When finding a camp to guide troubled teens, parents sometimes compare Summerland Camps to authoritarian approaches like military boot camps. The problem with military boot camps is that the tend to lack a clinical structure that gets into the underlying issues behind video game overuse, social media addiction, computer overuse, and social isolation or depression and anger.
Our therapists, behavior coaches, and counselors are able to intervene in real time to question thinking – an important part of the behavior change process. At boot camps, nothing is done to question or change the child’s underlying belief system. The child simply submits to authority under a high level of structure.
Of course, once that structure is gone, so are the changes. That’s why we focus on transferring skills back home from day one at Summerland Camps. We also focus on building rapport with our campers – something we obviously have an inherent advantage with being program where campers are invested in the process.
Fun Summer Camp to Create Real Change
Summerland Camps aren’t your typical run-of-the-mill camps. We work with young people to create real change. Video game addiction, social media overuse, excessive internet use, inactivity and everything that goes along with it can be a thing of the past after a fun summer at Summerland Camps. Most young people don’t believe a fun summer therapy camp is possible- but they almost all change their mind after a just a short time at Summerland Camp! We are a fun summer camp to guide troubled teens.
But Shouldn’t My Kid Be Punished?
A knee-jerk reaction to behavioral change is to punish your child. Usually what we say to parents who ask us this question is, “Well, haven’t you tried that already? And how did that work out?”
Raising a teen today is harder than ever. Kids today can just tune us out as parents. “Go to your room” does not carry the same weight as it did a generation ago when the only screen in the house was in the living room.
At Summerland camps we take a unique approach- to meet the child on common ground and understand their motivation for their behaviors, then to be a positive influence on behavioral change by showing them a path to achieve their life goals. We teach them concrete skills along the way including anger and frustration management, conflict resolution, social skills, how to deal with anxiety and so much more.
By involving them in an inter-dependent group working on team goals we can intervene in the moment when conflicts arise and help them develop real coping skills and practice new behaviors. We are a camp that guides troubled teens to new ways on interacting and responding to the world.