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Kupugani Blog

Striving for Daily Peace and Harmony (Book Recommendation: Not Quite Nirvana)

I'm not one for writing reviews, but Rachel's recently published book Not Quite Nirvana  drove me to do an Amazon review.  In addition to offering stories cute, pithy, and funny, the book also offers practical tips and easy suggestions for bringing more peace and harmony into one's daily life. One of my favorite passages reads: "I want to act as if I'm in a world where compassion, kindness, and the awareness of our mutual dependence is the status quo.  There is no need to wait." The Amazon description: "With honest and vivid stories about dealing with difficult relationships with family member...

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10 Reasons Why Businesses Should Hire Former Camp Counselors

Now's the time of year when our earlier applicants start to think about applying for summer jobs. We know firsthand the difficult task of being a good camp counselor—someone who serves as an amazing mentor, big sibling, facilitator, manager, and all around go-to person for a group of young people. A recent post by Anne Archer Yetsko, associate director of Camp Merri-Mac in Black Mountain, North Carolina recognizes how great these counselors are and how important their skill set is as they pursue jobs in other venues. Snippets are below, with the whole piece at this link. Here is her list (...

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8 Ways to Help Children Become Better Problem-Solvers

In this podcast, sociologist Christiner Carter discusses how to encourage creativity and help kids become good problem-solvers. To do so, we should foster creativity, which is the number one skill needed for success. Some other takeaways from the podcast: Creativity is not just in terms of arts. Creativity is a skill we can practice and develop. Creativity development should focus on the process not the outcome. We should create and problem-solve and limit goal-orientation. To provide opportunities for creativity, we should: Provide resources for creative expression (where it...

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5 Reasons Camp Makes the Perfect Gift for the Holidays

It's never too early to think about gifts that can enrich children's lives.  If you're a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, big sister, big brother, cousin, or family friend, looking to find just the right holiday gift for the children in your life, camp makes a perfect gift - and here are five reasons why! For young athletes, camp lets children play their favorite sports. Camps offer physical activities and sports that enhance health and teach self-confidence.  Children can do a wide array of activities--from kayaking and swimming to archery, soccer, and arts and crafts. For budding natur...

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3 Tips to Help Manage Stress During the Holiday Season

As we approach winter and the holiday season, amidst commitments that can sometimes tax families and parents, a blog by sociologist Christine Carter has some good tips on how to minimize the stresses. A quick summary of her tips on how to prevent burnout and breakdown are below, with the whole article at this link. 1. Get enough rest. You will not fulfill your potential unless you get the sleep your body, brain, and spirit need.  We also need to rest during the dat.  After about 90 to 120 inutes of high output, we need a period of recovery--or stress and exhaustion start to build, and pro...

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Limiting Smartphone Use Can Enhance Social Intelligence

At our intentionally empowering summer camp near Chicago, we have always recognized the importance of unplugging. Because the whole point of our camp is to enjoy nature, facilitate communication, and empower children by developing those skills, we don't allow cell phones or Ipods, which diminish interpersonal interaction. A recent survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that children today are plugged into some kind of electronic medium almost eight hours a day--"more than many full-time jobs, and more time than they spend doing anything else besides sleeping." Recent research s...

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Can We Compliment Each Other without Bringing Beauty into It?

I recently read a blog post by Chicago Tribune staffer Heidi Stevens, emphasizing some of what we try to do at our girls summer camp to focus on character development. Please see below for excerpts from her piece, “Can we compliment each other without bringing beauty into it?” "Your hair looks beautiful and so do you," reads the first Facebook comment beneath a photo [a friend] posted of herself at the Roman Colosseum. We bring [Facebook comments] around to appearance an awful lot of the time, particularly when the photos are of women. I'm as guilty as anyone, frequently noting how posi...

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Achieving Legitimacy as a Parent or Child Development Professional (aka Why Authoritarian Punishment Doesn’t Work)

I recently finished reading Malcolm Gladwell's recent David and Goliath. One facet of the book centered on the limits of authority and how the efficacy of authoritarianism is not as high as many people think. In past experiences with parents of campers at our girls-only and boys-only summer camps, I've witnessed how certain children—when freed of the expectations and restrictions sometimes placed on them by well-meaning parents—can surpass those limitations. Often, it can be how campers, inspired by great role counselor role models, try to be their best selves for the counselors. Often, it ...

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Why People Don’t Believe That I’m Shy (Compensation Learning) and Why We Are Sure to Help Our Campers Challenge Themselves

I'm shy. Although most non-shy people don't believe me when I tell them that. True, as a director of a summer camp, I'm aware that most people in similar positions are innately comfortable with speaking in front of groups and/or interacting with new and different people. And yet, I'm shy. Filled with apprehension, sweaty armpits, accelerated heartbeat, and other psycho-social nervous ramifications when put into situations filled with new people, I've nonetheless learned to cope. Recently, I've been reading David and Goliath, by (fellow Jamaican Canadian) Malcolm Gladwell. It has helped put a cogent ...

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Why Camp Counselors Make Great Leaders

A recent blog by Stanley Bergman, CEO of Henry Schein, Inc, a Fortune 500 company, underscores the skills and character of camp counselors. Bergman's perspective underscores what we as camp directors know from years of experience seeing young people give their all to care for the campers in their charge. They commit themselves to continually caring for children, spending hours, days, weeks and months concentrating on maximizing the camp experience for those under their care. Even the most devoted parent spends maybe a couple-few hours with their child; imagine the fortitude it takes to spend...

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Camp Kupugani is one of the 50 Most Amazing Summer Camps for Kids

Camp Kupugani has been named one of the 50 Most Amazing Summer Camps for Kids.

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Kupugani touches on all the core values and enrichment that we hope to instill in our [child]. My husband and I absolutely love Camp Kupugani. Our [child] gained immensely from camp.

Lisa G.

Everyone…was just so, so personable, kind, and the kind of person I want
my [child] looking up to and spending time with.

Laura V.

[My daughter’s] face lights up when she speaks about camp, it’s a priceless experience.

Kenya P.

I have never come in contact with such a wonderful group of people at a camp before. Everyone did an outstanding job, the camp was so organized, it was unbelievable.

Joe M.

She absolutely loves the camp, the staff, and all the friends she makes there. I consider Kupugani to be a big influence in helping her grow and expand her mind each summer.

Luci A.


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