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10 Ways to Positively Influence Your Teen

Talking to teen

At Camp Kupugani, our lovely summer camp in the Midwest (about 2 hours from Chicago and 90 minutes from Madison, Wisconsin), we care about children of all ages and want each child to be the best version of themselves.  We also know that–if parents and teens are each doing their jobs as parents and teens–it can be challenging for each to connect positively. It is critical for any child, and especially with teens, especially that they feel heard and respected. A couple of good articles from the good folks at the Greater Good captures well some solutions; read the full two-part article here (pt 1) and here (pt 2).

Here’s How:

  • Express empathy
    • Resist the temptation to give advice
    • Reflect their position back to them
  • Ask open-ended questions
    • Ask non-judgmental questions
    • Avoid asking leading questions
  • Reflect what they are saying
    • Restate…
    • Reflect their words
    • Reflect their feelings
    • Amplify or exaggerate (without sarcasm)
  • Gently probe any inconsistencies
    • Ask permission to tell them what you see in behavior vs. goals
    • Avoid judging
  • Support their autonomy and emphasize their personal choice and control
    • Express your confidence in their abilities
    • Express that choice and ability to grow is in your child’s hands
  • Surf any resistance like a wave
    • Resistance is normal
    • Try changing tactics
    • Rome was not built in a day
  • Genuinely appreciate their position and their participation in the discussion
    • Express gratitude for your child talking with you about the topic
    • Be authentic
  • Shift the focus of your discussion
    • Gives your child time to relax
    • Gives you time to regroup
    • May lighten the mood
  • Side with their contrary position
    • Empathy goes a long way
    • We don’t always have to be right
  • Help them make a behavior plan
    • Start with them working on it their own
    • Once asked, help with open-ended questions
      • the changes they would like to make
      • the specific steps they plan to take
      • the challenges or potential barriers to their success—and specifically what they will do when they encounter these difficulties.
    • Have them tell you what success looks like in this situation

Source: Greater Good Magazine


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4 Ways to Find Your Meaning in Life

At Camp Kupugani, our multicultural summer camp in Leaf River, IL. two hours west of Chicago, we believe that each person deserves to be happy.  Indeed, if you could find a way to give your life meaning, you would be happier; we try to empower each camper to find what makes them happy and go for it.  A recent article from the folks at Barking Up the Wrong Tree speaks to this topic. See below for our summary and click here to see the full article.

“There’s no shortage of tips about what brings happiness, but what gives your life meaning?” 

“Meaning in life” is one of those things everybody insists is vitally important — yet nobody tells you what it really is, and directions to get there never seem to come up on Google Maps.

“So what makes for a meaningful life? How does it differ from just being happy? Let’s get to it…”

  • Belonging
    • Find friends who share the same values as you do
    • Join a group that shares an interest
  • Purpose
    • Make whatever you do a priority to yourself
    • Don’t minimize the work you are doing
  • Storytelling
    • Share what you do with a peer
    • Don’t be afraid to share both your “ups and downs”
  • Transcendence
    • Go out and do something new and different
    • Remind yourself that what you do is not who you are


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7 Ways to Minimize Worrying

At our Midwest summer camp, we strive to help our campers live well in the moment, and take away worries.  After all, what better time to be worry-free than when you’re a kid! As adults and children, there are multiple ways that we can help with the process.  A recent blog from the good folks at Barking up the Wrong Tree has some useful tips.  Bullets below, with the full piece at this link.mindful person

  • Build your mindfulness muscles: Accept, label, redirect attention. Practice daily.
  • Find your canaries: The most dangerous emotions are the ones you don’t know are affecting you. When you can say, “Yeah, this is what happens when the worries start” you’ll not only be relieved, you’ll also be able to do something constructive about it.
  • Avoid avoiding: Avoiding is bad. You’re telling your brain this is something to be afraid of and giving your worries more power.
  • Identify: Worries love the surprise attack. Know your canaries and don’t let anxiety hijack you.
  • Engage: Throw yourself into experiences and give them your full attention. Get out of your head and into the world.
  • Tend to your emotions: Investigate, accept and label. The worries will dissipate. This is an excellent skill to build.
  • Use “opposite action”: As long as the scary thing won’t kill you, do the scary thing and it’ll stop being scary.


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Super Challenge Hikes!

Today was Super Challenge Hike Day! Campers spent the morning with their team on survival adventure in the forests.  They crossed rivers, built fires, created shelters in the woods, and (tried to) construct rafts for transport.  Big empowerment today! 



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Boys Summer Camp Leadership Programs

We exist for boys as they are so they imagine the men they can become.

Boy campers having fun at Camp Kupugani leadership programs

Boy campers having fun at Camp Kupugani

At Camp Kupugani, near Chicago, Illinois, our leadership programs help future young leaders transition from camper to counselor. In addition to being able to participate in regular camp activities, boys receive training to build their leadership knowledge and skill base.

Have Fun in Your Activities and Continue Your Leadership Growth as You:

  • Guide others to build strong, positive relationships through team building and group dynamic techniques
  • Create a solid experience base that can be used beyond camp at school and in the community
  • Apply and advance your leadership skills and work with our staff to become more effective and successful in leading activities, energizing campers and helping create a fun and safe camp community

Leadership Program Options

Leaders in Training

  • For campers aged fourteen or fifteen
  • Develop and share leadership skills in practical camp situations
  • Delve into issues and use creative and critical thinking skills
  • Hone leadership skills by planning and organizing various events
  • Camp tuition for LITs is the same as regular campers.  The LIT program can be for two- or four-weeks.

Counselor in Training Program

Boys enjoying camp life at Kupugani

Boys enjoying camp life at Kupugani

  • For returning campers aged sixteen
  • Exceptional program for developing counseling and mentoring skills
  • Develop counseling skills by working with cabin counselors
  • Assist in leading activities
  • Throughout four-week program, receive preparation to become fantastic camp counselors
  • Develop wide range of skills to help become strong, empowered young world-changers
  • Camp tuition for CITs is 60% of regular camper tuition and the CIT program is for four weeks.


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Family Camp

At Camp Kupugani, our Family Camp provides a fantastic opportunity for families to have fun, reinforce bonds, and connect with other families. Our relaxing, natural environment, combined with team building and empowerment activities, helps our participants celebrate the essential family relationship. Fun activities like pool time, dam jumping, and GaGa, also helps to deepen bonds. Join us as we provide a fantastic venue to celebrate the essential familial relationship. For only $325 per adult and $115 for each child aged 4+, and activities such as pool time, canoeing, and team building activities, the family relationship is bound to grow deeper.

Family Camp Details

  • August 16-20, 2017
  • Professional, trained staff maximize camper development and safety
  • Instill and reaffirm bonds of friendship and trust within families
  • The whole family is welcome
  • Connect with variety of parents and children of different backgrounds
  • Parents interact with each other to foster emotional support systems
  • Tons of fun! Never too late for Mom or Dad to go to camp!

Limited Availability!

Registration is limited, so if interested, act soon! Click here for convenient online registration. If you’d like to register by phone, receive information by mail, or for any questions at all, please call us at 815-713-4110 or e-mail kupugani@gmail.com.

Some quotes from our past parents:

  • “I was able to bond with so many amazing women; the activities were a blast; the staff is full of incredible SPIRIT; and I loved having quality time with my daughter!”
  • “The staff, Kevin and Natasha, do an amazing job with the weekend!  Meeting amazing women and their daughters and making new friends.  The time spent with my daughter was incredible and the bonding was unforgettable.”
  • “I loved digging in (‘leaning in’) and squashing fears of looking silly, falling, etc….I want to use this experience to remind my daughter if how to live life without fear.”
  • “I got a chance to meet lots of new people, be adventurous, try new activities and spend fun time with my girls in nature!”
  • “It is a welcome break from the everyday motions of life.  The atmosphere is so fresh, so  welcoming, and so allowing for mistakes to be forgiven, for tears to be comforted, and for growth to bloom.”
  • “Having guided conversations and experiences to help us deepen our relationship and our own life journeys was remarkable.”
  • “I got a chance to have unbridled fun and special time with my daughter in a stress-free and positive environment.”
  • “I spent a lot of time with my daughter doing things that we had never done before, and she was so happy.”
  • “It was an amazing amount of concentrated quality time with my daughter and so many wonderful women.”
  • “I had focused 1-on-1 time with my daughter and got to see her do new things / stretch herself. I met amazing moms who are inspiring to me.”


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Employment Opportunities at Camp Kupugani

At Camp Kupugani, our camp employment opportunities include administrators, program staff members, counselors, and more. We seek a diverse, multicultural group of dynamic, creative, warm, exuberant, experienced people with strong leadership abilities who are passionate about our vision.   

The camp is two hours west of Chicago, Illinois, and has an almost 70-year tradition of safely nurturing and developing campers. Located in the rolling hills and woods of Northwestern Illinois, it comprises beautiful woods, trails, a swimming pool, two all-natural rock climbing walls, game fields, and a 5-acre lake for swimming, water games, and almost a mile of canoeing through the property. With 126 acres of forests, wildlife, and wildflowers galore, it offers fresh air, natural water, the robust smell of pure woods and a twinkling night sky.

Camp White Eagle offers a variety of programs. Camp Kupugani multicultural camp for girls offers two-week sessions for girls only. Kupugani for boys offers a two-week session for boys only. Our blended camps offer two-week sessions for campers of either gender. Campers range in age from 7 to 15. For our Team Building Program, our staff members—by guiding and facilitating a group’s movement through an engaging course of structured activities—help organizations of all kinds form solid bonds. Through our Rental Camp program, our staff teams with an incoming group’s director to plan different activities to assure that the campers have a safe, enjoyable, and productive stay at camp.

Please see below for links to job descriptions for our available 2020 positions:

We are interviewing for available positions for the summer of 2020, so if you’re interested, feel free to apply online at this link; more information is available here or here. You’re welcome to contact us at any time via phone or by e-mail if you have any questions at all. 


Check out this video from counselors and other staff members at Camp Kupugani.



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Mother Daughter Camp


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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