Transferring Skills Home

Transferability if Skills- The Single Most Important Aspect of Effective Programs

The ability to transfer or generalize learned strategies and coping skills from one setting to another, called, “transferability of skills” is what makes programs successful.  Parents are rightfully concerned that while a camper might have an amazing time at camp, who is to say that any of the changes will transfer back home.  This is where “transferability of skills” comes into play.  Successful programs must focus on this aspect to be truly effective.

When we build Summerland Camps we started with the question: “In order to ensure what we teach is effectively transferred home (or on to the next environment) what would be the very best location in which we can operate?”  We searched the country for the best locations and believe we have the ideal setting for our effective curriculum.

therapy camp campus

Our North Carolina campus is warm, friendly, and provides a great environment for learning (photo credit, Mars Hill University website).

Our Location Makes a Difference

Parents seek to prepare their child for a successful transition to independent living.  Usually, that means college, but it can also mean living in an apartment and holding a job.  Parents seek to help their children gain the skills and abilities needed to make this transition successfully.

What better environment to teach new organizational and relationship skills than in the very environment the child will be in after leaving home?

Transferability of skills to a desired location is why we host Summerland Camps at University campuses across the United States.  Teaching new skills in a University has a much greater impact as compared to an institutional environment like a hospital or similar institutional setting.  Institutional settings just aren’t real life- and transitioning anything you learn in these settings is difficult at best.

Your Preferred Setting

The University environment might not be ideal for everyone.  If you think your child is better off joining the military upon high school graduation, then we would support the notion that joining a Boot Camp could potentially be beneficial.  After all, you would need to prepare your child for success in a military environment.  In terms of Wilderness behavior change, while the goal is not to prepare the child to live independently in the wilderness, generalizing skills out of the wilderness environment is always an issue.

But for the rest of us that seek higher education for our kid’s post-high school, the University environment is going to be the best place to learn behavioral skills for higher levels of functioning.  Our campers leave Summerland Camps with the experience of being successful in a University setting.  When the actual time comes for college, the prospect of living in a dorm and managing their daily routines is no longer so daunting.  After all, they now have the successful experience of Summerland Camps in their memory, and they are ready to generalize the experience to their college setting for their Freshman year.

Effective Summer Camp for Troubled Teens: Practice Makes Perfect

We also seek to practice the skills we learn at camp.  This is what makes an effective summer camp for troubled teens.  When a camper has an “ah-ha!” moment, we immediately discuss how they can use the new skill or insight back home.  We role play in the group, and in drama class our new skills and create actual muscle memory of our new habit.

Ultimately, we seek to replace manipulative “knee-jerk” responses to fear, anger, and anxiety with healthy pro-social responses.