Delaware Diaries: Cabin Love

We were all crying, but don’t worry, it was a good type of cry. We were all sitting in a circle talking about our day and each other. In our cabin we all are really close. We have had like experience and sharing them helps us to understand each other better. This is one of the best things that we have done as a cabin. We all couldn’t keep a straight face at each other because each time we would start crying. We all have so many memories and sharing personal stories helps us to trust and understand each other. I love my cabin.
by: Kate Pizzini (Cherokee)

The First Few Days of a Session

From a counselors perspective, the first few days of a session are both unbearably hard but also the most rewarding. One might ask “how is it so hard?” My answer to that is that it just is. It is really hard to say goodbye to campers that you have gotten the chance to know over the past two weeks. It is hard to welcome in new kids while possibly doubling the numbers in your cabin. The dynamics in the cabin change with all the new personalities. Schedules are a little different in the first days and often times they can get the best of you. But, in all honesty, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a scared new kid finally get it. They finally understand why camp is so spectacular. They are smiling more, laughing with their new friends and unafraid to branch out and try something that they would have never imagined they’d be able to complete. That truly makes the hard parts of the first few days worth it. That is why we, as counselors, love what we do.

Kindness is Timeless!

Most parents and teachers want children to be happy.

To that end, parents find themselves doing things for kids to make them happy, like buying gifts, taking them for ice cream, playing games together, or helping with homework.

Teachers are constantly doing for children too. In addition to understanding the link between knowledge and happiness, teachers often buy supplies from their own paychecks, bring treats to class, plan fun excursions, and support students in other immeasurable and enduring ways.

Do acts of kindness toward children make us happier parents and teachers? Of course they do.

In fact, studies consistently show that we feel happier when we perform acts of kindness – for our children, students, families, friends, and communities. Not only do good deeds make us feel better, but as David Brooks explained in the New York Times article Nice Guys Finish First, people who are kind and compassionate are usually the most successful.

The Kindness Dilemma – Receiving vs. Giving

Unfortunately, we don’t make children happy by simply enabling them to be receivers of kindness. We increase their feelings of happiness and well-being, reduce bullying, and improve their friendships by teaching them to be givers of kindness.

The truth is that children are born to be altruistic givers. But somewhere between birth and 4th grade, they are socialized to think more about themselves than others. (Yes, we all play a role in how this occurs.)

How do we change this trajectory and improve children’s well-being?

A recent study, Kindness Counts, conducted by researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Riverside, broke new ground by showing the benefits derived by tweens when they were taught happiness-increasing strategies.

For a month, several hundred 9-11 year-olds performed and recorded three acts of kindness each week for anyone they wished. Another several hundred kept track of three pleasant places they visited during the week.

Not surprisingly, the results were consistent with adult studies. When kids performed acts of kindness or took notice of the pleasant places they visited during the week, they significantly increased feelings of happiness and satisfaction.

But those who performed acts of kindness received an additional benefit. Measuring how well children were liked or accepted by their peers, the study showed those who performed acts of kindness gained an average of 1.5 friends during the four-week period – good support for the idea that “nice guys finish first.”

Like many others, this study demonstrated that being kind to other people benefits the giver. For children, it earns them increased well-being and also popularity and acceptance among peers.

Threads of kindness are interwoven with many other positive behaviors and benefits for youth. Well-liked tweens exhibit more positive, less bullying behaviors when they become teens. Happier children are more likely to have higher academic achievement. And the list goes on.

Four Steps to Create a Culture of Kindness

It’s easy to apply the Kindness Counts study and achieve similar results at home or in the classroom. The goal is to help kids become more mindful about doing acts of kindness and aware of feelings of gratitude when they experience pleasant activities.

Follow these four steps to increase happiness for children – and all of us!

Educate Yourself

Learn about the importance of kindness and its benefits for children and adults. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website is a great place to begin. You’ll find classroom and home activities for all ages of children.

Create a Family or Classroom Activity

Devise a month-long activity where the whole family or classroom (including parents and teachers) record ONE act of kindness or ONE pleasant activity per day. You might call it your “Happiness Project” or “Happiness Diary.” These activities might include helping with dishes, letting someone else go first, going out of way for a friend, taking care of an animal, hugging someone to make them feel better, etc. Or they might include visits to places and experiences that make us feel good, like visiting grandparents or the park.

Share on a Weekly Basis

Each week, take time to share as a family or classroom. It’s not important to share everything in one’s diary. What’s important is to share enough so that everyone learns from each other’s acts of kindness and begins to understand the kinds of experiences that bring gratitude to life. Sharing encourages reflection and helps bring meaning to our actions.

Find Ongoing Opportunities to Practice

It may not be practical to keep up a “Happiness Diary” and share it on a regularly basis for much more than a month at a time. But is it possible to choose one month a year for this project? Are there other opportunities to reinforce and instill kindness throughout the year?

What strategies do you use with your children or students to increase acts of kindness and teach gratitude?

Thanksgiving Comes Early In Connecticut

Looking for something to do this weekend in our beautiful state? has some great ideas!

Thanksgiving Comes Early to Connecticut

History, a bounty of food and huge parades…it must be Thanksgiving! This weekend, Connecticut offers an array of fun and educational activities to enjoy before your holiday feast next Thursday. Head to Stamford on Saturday afternoon and join the Annual Giant Balloon Inflation Party. Get a backstage look at the balloons as they come to life. You’ll be entertained with music, parade, talent and costumed characters. On Sunday, watch the finished results of all Saturday’s preparations at the 19th Annual UBS Parade Spectacular, one of the largest helium balloon parades in the country, featuring everyone’s favorite giant balloon characters, award-winning marching bands, and fabulous floats. Among the many balloons, making their debut this year, will be The Lorax and Red from Fraggle Rock . Celebrate Thanksgiving is Here on Sunday at the Welles Shipman Ward House in South Glastonbury. Travel back in time to Colonial Glassenbury. It’s the late 1700’s/early 1800’s and the biggest holiday of the year is Thanksgiving (Christmas wasn’t celebrated in New England until approximately 1840-1850). The house will be open and full of demonstrations conveying the hustle and bustle of the holiday.

Turkey Time, Creamery Brook Bison, Brooklyn, (860) 779-0837
Bundle up and take a wagon ride out to see the bison on Saturday afternoon. Warm up after with hot cider and cookies (children get to decorate them). Complete the day with a turkey demonstration project for children 12 years and under.

“Holidaze: The Real Story of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas”, Henry Whitfield State Museum, Guilford. (203) 453-2457
Discover the origins of these three holidays and how they have become what we know today. While on property be sure to tour the Henry Whitfield House, Connecticut’s oldest house and New England’s oldest stone house. Event runs through December 14, museum is open Wednesday through Sunday.

Holiday Tea: Cultures & Holidays Around the World, Windham Textile & History Museum, Willimantic (860) 456-2178
Join in and help celebrate and honor the ethnic diversity of the twenty-six nationalities that worked in the mills. On Sunday afternoon sit at beautifully decorated tables representing holidays in these other countries and sample main dishes, desserts and teas from many of the countries.

Make it a full weekend of adventures. Plan an overnight at the Hilton Stamford Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Stamford. The facility is located directly off I-95 and minutes away from the downtown business, shopping and entertainment districts. Their Bed & Breakfast package includes overnight accommodations and complimentary breakfast for two. Rates from $109.00

These highlights represent just a sampling of the many exciting events taking place across Connecticut this weekend. For more information about these and other entertaining activities, use the Events Quick Search on the right side of the page.

This Weekend in Connecticut
November 16-18, 2012

November 16 – Candlelight Opening Event – Farmington Valley Arts Center 25 Arts Center Lane, Avon, 06001 • Time(s): Friday. 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Saturday. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Stroll through the illuminated walkways where 20 studio artists will welcome you into their open studios which are brimming with extraordinary, unique works of art that are available for purchase. Find your refuge from the chaotic shopping crowds and bask in the glow of festive holiday lights, lovingly presented refreshments, wine and live music. Admission: Free (860) 678-1867

November 17 – “This Is The ’60s” – Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury, 06702. Time: 8 p.m. Don’t miss the ultimate multimedia stage experience exploring the events that shaped the music and the music that helped shape the events, of one of the world’s most turbulent decades. Through a creative blending of live music performance, film, dance, lighting, vintage fashion, computer-generated imagery, and high-concept stage design, the performance recreates every aspect of the decade’s pop culture from the roots of rock ‘n roll to the birth of the peace movement. Admission: $25-$45. (203) 346-2000

November 17-18 – Shoreline Arts Trail Open Studio Weekend – Various locations within the towns of Branford, Guilford and Madison. Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Let the yellow Open Studios signs lead the way on your journey along the Shorelines Art Trail. Meet the artist in their own studios and discover the unique fine arts and crafts along with the boutiques and specialty shops found along the way. Admission: Free Call either Owen Sea Luckey at 203-623-6792 or Kristin Merrill at 203-589-6995

November 17-18 – CraftWestport – Staples High School, 70 North Avenue, Westport, 06880 Time(s): Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Show has been delighting collectors, art enthusiasts and discerning shoppers for 37 years with a display of contemporary fine craft from more than 160 artists and craftspeople from across the country. Enjoy the rare opportunity to meet these visionary artists and purchase their latest work as well as help to raise money for local charities. Admission: $9 General Admission, $8 Seniors, Free for Children (cash only accepted for admission) (845) 331-7900

November 18 – Musical Box – Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge Road, Ridgefield, 06877, Time: 8 p.m. A can’t miss show! The amazing Peter Gabriel-era Genesis recreation returns with a rare performance of the classic album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. All of the theatrics, all of the songs, all of the dazzling spectacle of the original show! Includes all 1,100 original slide projections from the ’74-’75 tour! It’s like stepping into a musical time machine. Admission: $66. (203) 438-5795

Our hearts go out to all of those devastated by the affects of Hurricane Sandy. Many of our families were in its path and we hope that they are all safe.

A great deal for Greenwood Trails!

Summer 2013 is just around the corner (and a few seasons away)!  BUT, the GWT team is making plans now to make sure that summer is just as awesome, if not more awesome for our campers, than last summer!

Our early bird rates are only good until Monday, October 1!  Eek!  That’s right around the corner!  Can’t plan that far in advance?  That’s okay!  Your deposit is fully refundable until November 1!   Enroll now at MyGWT for a great deal!


GWT is closed until 2013

But it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun in Connecticut!

Here’s what’s happening around the state this week to usher in Autumn 2012, according to!

September 28-30, 2012

Relax and Enjoy the Scenery

With the last weekend of September upon us, the cool fall weather has made its way into Connecticut. Warm days and cool nights is the perfect combination to enjoy all the weekend festivities. You are assured to be thoroughly entertained.. The Last Green Festival in Brooklyn is a three day (Friday through Sunday) music/arts festival promoting greener living. The family friendly festival includes a musical petting zoo and more than 80 bands, including Third Eye Blind. The Durham Fair, in Durham, returns for its 93rd year. The state’s largest agricultural fair and largest volunteer operated fair in North America runs from Thursday through Sunday so you have plenty of time to take leisurely strolls throughout the fairgrounds. Relax in the evenings with performances by Kenny Rogers and Kellie Pickler. Venture over to the northwest corner of the state to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville for the Grand-Am Road Racing Championship Finale held Friday and Saturday. Bring a picnic or enjoy the park’s concessions and watch as cars from Corvettes to Camaros battle to the finish line. What better way to enjoy a fall evening than to sit and relax at the Hartford Symphony Orchestra “Picnic in the Park” performance on Saturday evening at the Bandstand at Bushnell Park in Hartford. Pack a blanket, chairs, and a picnic for a free evening of outdoor music before the cold weather settles in.

When your day is done, spend your night at Rock Hall Luxe Lodging in Colebrook and enjoy the Scenic Carriage Ride Getaway Package. Take a romantic horse drawn carriage ride through historic Norfolk or the beautiful Litchfield Hills. For this weekend only the package includes a discounted ticket to the Sunset Meadow Vineyard’s Fall Harvest Festival (see event details below). The rates are $450 per nights on a weekday and $850 for two nights on weekends.

More weekend fun:

EnvisionFest Hartford, various locations, Hartford – (860) 728-2265
Experience a festival for all ages with performances on three stages, open museums, landmark building tours, lawn games, hands-on activities, puppetry and dancing. Celebrate Connecticut’s artists and innovators, explore biking and walking along the GreenWalk, connecting the State Capitol, Bushnell Park, downtown streets, Constitution Plaza and the Riverfront. (Pre Party in Bushnell Park on Friday 5-8 p.m., Full Festival Saturday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.)

Connecticut Renaissance Faire, Lions Fairgrounds, Hebron – (860) 478-5954
Go back to a time when things were simple and internet wasn’t invented yet at the 14th annual faire. Jousting knights, jesters, fair maids, King Arthur, Queen Guinevere and others will interact with you as you walk along the faire grounds browsing the wares of than 100 artisans, crafters, and merchants. Be sure to come hungry, there’s plenty of delicious food to feast on from steamy bread bowls of stews to giant turkey legs. (Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., continues weekends through October 28).

Oktoberfest, Quassy Amusement Park, Middlebury – (203) 758-2913
Enjoy great food, live musical entertainment and dancing at the 21st annual Oktoberfest. Activities will be held on the park grounds at the Fieldside Pavillion. (Saturday and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.).

Windsor Freedom Walking Tour, Archer AME Zion Church, Windsor – (860) 688-2479
Walk at your leisure along the 3.9 mile trail and learn about Connecticut’s Freedom Trail. Visit the sites that are associated with African American heritage and movements towards freedom. Those taking part will receive a Freedom Trail visor and continental breakfast following the walk. (Saturday, 7:30 a.m.).

These highlights represent just a sampling of the many exciting events taking place across Connecticut this weekend. For more information about these and other entertaining activities, use the Events Quick Search on the right side of the page.

This Weekend in Connecticut
September 28-30, 2012

September 28-30 – Fall Festival – Connecticut Antique Machinery Association Museum, 31 Kent-Cornwall Road (Rte. 7), Kent, 06757. Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The 28th annual fall festival features demonstrations of industrial, agriculture and residential machinery including gas and steam engines, hand tools and crafts. Multiple food vendors will be available and of course, CAMA’s famous “engineer’s vegetable beef soup.” General admission: $10, children (6-12) $5, free for children 5 and under and CAMA members. (860) 927-0050.

September 29 – University of Connecticut Football Game – Rentschler Field, 615 Silver Lane, East Hartford, 06108. Time: Noon. UConn’s football team will welcome the Buffalo Bulls to the Rent for this showdown. The Huskies are led by running back Lyle McCombs and wide receiver Geremy Davis and will look to improve their home record to 2-1. Tickets range from $50-$60. (888) 288-2666.

September 29-30 – “Connecticut to Arms: 1862 – Battle of Antietam” – Wickham Park, 1329 West Middle Turnpike, Manchester, 06040. Time: Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Citizens of Connecticut to Arms!! The turning point of the war has arrived – the Battle of Antietam. Join Connecticut in commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. The living history event is a great experience for the entire family. Over five hundred re-enactors will take part in the Civil War Encampment with daily battle reenactments, load and fire competition, guest speakers and more. Admission: Parking $6.

September 29-30 – Fall Harvest Festival – Sunset Meadow Vineyards, 599 Old Middle St., Goshen, 06756. Time: Noon – 5 p.m. Enjoy the fall harvest at this beautiful vineyard in the Litchfield Hills. Wine tastings, hayrides, grape stomps, contests, live music, food, vendors and much more will be available. Admission: $25 for adults. $10 for non-drinkers and those under 21. (860) 201-4654.

September 30 – Wild Mushroom Festival – Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, 109 Pequotsepos Road, Mystic, 06355. Time: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. The outdoor festival celebrates wild mushrooms through use in tasty dishes prepared on-site. Listen to live bluegrass music, mushroom talks and identify mushrooms on a walk. While you’re at the Center ask them about the Ride Free on A Mystic Community Bike program. Admission: $15 (includes four tickets to sample mushroom related dishes). (860) 536-1216.