Dear Parents and Friends:
We love summer; and as our readers, we're sure you do too! Even after a summer of floods, storms, earthquakes, hurricanes, and temperatures exceeding 100 for days on end, it is hard to say good bye to summer. But we are ready to welcome fall and everything it brings with it: cool weather, incredible summer memories, football, Halloween and Thanksgiving.
You may be finding the transition from summer to the back-to-school grind somewhat challenging, and you may be ready for more frequent "date nights" too.
Fortunately, our contributing experts are here with tips and solutions to keep you sane and assist you with the transition!
In this issue, we look back at our annual, traditional road trips to camps and programs, and share with you what we learned.
Wishing you a wonderful transition to the fall season,
Jill and the Everything Summer Team
WHAT WE LEARNED ON THE ROAD
Our nearly 2,000 miles of road trips this summer led us to more than 35 camps and programs. While we've witnessed incredible industry growth in our 17 years of summer visits, we were amazed by the investment of time and resources directors have made towards making their experiences as meaningful as possible for campers and teens. Here's a glimpse into these trends and best practices:
- Especially for teens:
- More options in choice programming; breaking out electives into ''selectives'
- Greater emphasis on service and international leadership training
- More co-op projects/events between camps
- Focus on college prep programs
- Empowerment and self-esteem programs for girls Emphasis on values, community, and citizenship
- Deeper focus on the instruction quality; tutorial support, complimentary private lessons
- More "wellness" options around cooking and fitness, including yoga, zumba and personal training
- More female/'Mom' senior staff, including Director level and guidance counselors
- Increased number of campers becoming counselors, allowing traditions to live on and teaching through their own camp experiences
- Hiring of senior experts, sport figures, and artisans to run specialty areas or mini-camps; chef visits
- Better food allergy awareness and management, plus designated Food Allergy Coaches (one camp's kitchen sections off allergic children's alternative, safe food in labeled separate shelves and sealed bins; another 'trays' the food each meal)
- Increased anti-bullying efforts: zero tolerance, proactive training and education with additional staff
- Greater willingness to meet parent, campers and staff needs and requests
- More "no electronics" policies; less materialism
- Innovative phone policy - scheduled camper calls home via their own cell phones stored in camp office
- Facilities improvements in camps:
- Roofed, indoor/outdoor multi-purpose gyms
- Bunk ventilation: ceiling/attic fans
- Separate storage areas
- Porches making a comeback!
- Integration of more surprises into programming; breaking the schedule norm
Ranjani Natarajan, Teach for America alumnus and member of the SmartSitting network, recommends keeping the following SmartTips in mind when managing the back-to-school grind:
1. Consider an educated, passionate after-school sitter for a few hours each weekday. The right after-school sitter just might be the best resource. Intelligent sitters make great tutors! The right match makes all the difference; in just one sitter, your child can have a tutor, mentor, and friend . . .
- Interviews should last 30-45 minutes and be filled with lots of questions and "what if's."
- Background and reference checks are strongly recommended as well as trial sessions.
- If possible, select a sitter who will be available for at least one year. An after-school sitter can become a part of the family and form a close, long-lasting, an important bond with your child.
- Consider a sitter who will be comfortable with kids both inside and outside the home.
- A sitter with similar interests can go a long way!
- Make sure your sitter is a good fit; watch their interactions.
2. During the first few weeks of school, establish a routine with your kids so they have adequate time to fulfill after-school obligations, homework, down-time and most importantly, bed-time.
3. Get involved in school - introduce yourself to the teacher and participate in school events - it makes a difference to your kids.
4. Make sure your kids eat a healthy breakfast and involve your children in packing lunch with healthy options the night before.
5. Children need to be challenged and stimulated. Minimize the amount of time spent on television/video games/computer. Incorporate other activities that encourage conversation, problem-solving, and creativity.
SmartSitting is a unique and innovative network comprised of the city's brightest, most experienced, and most child-adoring individuals. Our goal is to enrich the lives of NYC children by providing families with educational, inspirational, and passionate childcare. Our SmartSitters inspire children's curiosities and form meaningful, long lasting bonds. For more information, please visit www.smartsitting.com.
WE WILL SOON BE MOVING OUR OFFICE TO:
One Engle Street Suite 106
Our new office offers a convenient and spacious setting for our NY Metro clients to come meet with us in person!
Can Become College Essay Opportunities
While still fresh in their minds, now is the time for teens to document what they accompished and learned this summer. Contact us for help in creating meaningful high school extra-curricular activities and teen summers that build the path to college.
Everything Summer and Jill on the latest
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Jill's latest blog thoughts . . .
Back to bullying, love what you do, final camps days,
summer camp road trips and more...
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