Transferring Skills Home

Transferability of Skills- An 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.

Campers live in comfortable cabins where they interact and socialize with others of similar age. They learn new strategies to deal with boredom, anxiety, anger, and stress with peers that do not involve screens. Campers leave better prepared to handle what independence might look like, whether that’s a college dorm, living with roommates in an apartment, or a similar setting.

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 habits.

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

At camp, all Summerland campers are required to keep a Behavior Planning Journal (BPJ). They learn how to track their time and structure their day.

The best way to get your child to use their BPJ at home is to get all family members to keep a journal. In this photo, the camper, mom, and dad all keep their journals out in the center of the house for other family members to see. The camper has their day and screen time pre-planned and, along with a Behavior Contract, the camper now has the structure in place in ensure screen time compliance.

Campers learn new ways of copying, strategies to deal with boredom, develop new skills and interests, and learn how to structure and organize their day using the BPJ. These skills, interests, and strategies are all transferrable back home. Parents learn how to encourage their child to continue down a healthy path while participating in the online Parent Workshop during the summer.