The Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford, passionately studies human motivation. In 2007, she wrote a book entitled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. We will be intentionally focusing on growth mindset during our 2015 season because we believe that our campers and staff members are all awesome and ready to unleash their talents at Greenwood Trails this summer and beyond.

Here’s a recent article regarding Carol Dweck’s work and book. Please click on the Ted Talk link as well to listen to an inspiring message from Carol Dweck herself.

“I’ve seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves— in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?…

…There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.” – Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

We Love GWT (part 2)

So, we’ve heard from our campers- what do our parents have to say about GWT?

“It’s a top shelf run camp.”

“We were very happy for our first summer. Coming back next year, longer”

“GREAT experience! Thanks!”

“Daniel loved everything about his summer”

My child’s favorite thing at camp was… “Her feeling of independence and being in a world of children”

And Our Staff- What do our staff have to say?

“Camp is my happy place, the shining light in a calendar year. You become the best version of yourself at camp and everything you ever thought impossible seems do-able.”

“There is something about seeing a massive smile on a kids face after they just completed something that they were terrified of before. Or the laugh that they make when we, as counselors, step outside of our own comfort zone”

” Camp challenges you in a way that doesn’t happen anywhere else. It let’s you see where your strengths and weaknesses are and gives you the chance to improve. The people are supportive and always willing to help one of their own. There’s a real sense of growth and community.”

Be a part of our awesome community! Whether you’re a staff member, a parent, or a kid, we promise that we’ll give you the excellent treatment you deserve. Sign up today!

We Love GWT (part 1)

It’s true. I want to shout it from the mountaintops, “I LOVE GREENWOOD TRAILS!”

Did you hear that? Hopefully you can feel it when you step foot on to camp- I certainly do: Our staff and our kids love GWT.

Why do we love it so much? Well, I thought I’d let our surveys speak for themselves!

Here are some of the (many) testimonials from our camper surveys that were completed at the end of this camp season:

“I have attended Greenwood Trails for five years, and every summer I have a blast. I wait all year to go because it is where I have the most memories of fun times. The people in the camp accept everyone, you will always have a home here. Every minute is filled with fun activities that you have never done before, and maybe cannot do anywhere else! GWT is my home away from home, I have a new family every summer.”

“It was one of the best summers I’ve ever had.”

“It was really fun. The activities were fun, the food was good, and the counselors were so nice. Most of all i made so many close friends.”

“The only bad thing about GWT is that I can’t live there.”

“I love how close you become with your cabin mates!! I made a bestfriend who live and hour away! I still talk to her at least 2 times a week!”

“GWT is an extremely fun, awesome camp that gets you the exercise you need in a fun way. You meet lots of people and have tons of fun! Yay!”

“I love GWT, and it was the highlight of my summer!! I had so much fun, and everyone and everything was great”

And we get better every year!  Not sure if this camp is the place for you?  Please talk to us- we are never too busy to talk about Greenwood Trails!  [email protected]

Want to tell me why you love camp?  I would love to hear it and post it!  [email protected]

We’ll talk about parents and staff loving camp in the next blog post.  Only 123 days til we’re together again!


Random Acts of Kindness Week

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a week set aside for all of us to purposely do good for others. How great is that?

At Greenwood Trails, one of our values is Caring. Let’s encourage our kids to add some C’s to their RICC collection this week by doing one (or, hopefully more) of these random acts!

Here’s a list of things you could do TODAY- RIGHT NOW EVEN- that would make someone’s day just a little brighter:

*Tweet or Private message a friend or 3 to tell them why they’re so cool
*Donate clothing
*Email an old teacher (OR CAMP COUNSELOR) and tell them why they’re so inspiring
*Play with some animals at your local animal shelter
*See that person who wants to fit in but no one is talking to them? Go talk to them!
*Put your phone down, make some eye contact, and just ask about your friend’s life
*Holding a grudge? Choose to forgive and forget today
*Give someone a hug (if they like that sort of thing)
*In line at the cafeteria or at the local coffee shop, pay for the person’s food or drink after you
*Say thank you to the janitor or to the bus driver or to anyone else who is making your day a little bit easier

Have you experienced a Random Act of Kindness? Or have you participated in the Random Acts of Kindness event? If so, tell us using #RAKweek2015 and #greenwoodtrails

Snowpocalypse? Snow Problem!

While we’d much rather it be sunny and warm, we can still find a silver lining to a few days in the cold, stuck with the ones you love!

This article comes to you from

Frozen bubbles

Kids love bubbles. And while summer is typically the time to crack open a bottle of bubbles, there’s a way to make them work in the winter. If it’s cold enough outside (this post at the blog Apartment Therapy recommends temperatures below about 9 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit, or about minus 11 degrees Celsius), you can make the bubbles freeze. The trick is to blow them up in the air so that they have time to freeze before hitting the ground or another surface. The bubbles will form crystalline patterns and some might break, looking a bit like the shell of a cracked egg. Don’t have any bubble solution handy? The post also has a simple homemade recipe. [See More Science Experiments for Kids]

Maple syrup candy

Do just like Half Pint did in the “Little House on the Prairie” books and make your own maple syrup candy. Just heat butter and syrup together, according to this recipe, and after it cools, you can pour it onto fresh snow and it will harden into something like maple taffy. Yum!

Magic balloons

Okay, so maybe they’re not magic, but they will seem that way to the kids, and this one is quite easy. Just inflate and tie up a balloon, then stick it outside and watch it deflate. Bring it back inside to warm up and watch it re-inflate. (This is a nice lesson in the volume of a gas, in this case, air volume, changes with temperature, shrinking in the cold, as its density increases, and expanding in the heat, as its density decreases.)

Make your own snow

This one is for those of you experiencing really cold temperatures. Meteorologist Eric Holthaus demonstrates it nicely in a video posted to Youtube (see it also below): If it’s cold enough outside, you can take some boiling water throw it up in the air (make sure it will blow away from you), and it will freeze into snow. When Holthaus did his experiment in Viroqua, Wis., it was minus 21 F (minus 29 C) with a wind chill of minus 51 F (minus 46 C).

How does water turn into snow? Colder air holds less water vapor than warmer air, while the boiling water is giving off lots of water vapor (that’s the steam you see rising from the pot). When the hot water is thrown into the cold air, the air gets more water vapor than it can hold, Mark Seeley, a climatologist at the University of Minnesota, explained previously to LiveScience’s Life’s Little Mysteries, so the water vapor clings to tiny particles in the air, crystallizing into snow. Seeley says it has to be quite cold to attempt this one, somewhere in the region of minus 30 F (minus 34 C) or lower.

Do NOT try this at home

One “experiment” to make sure the kids don’t attempt is triple-dog daring anyone into sticking their tongue to that frozen flagpole. Maddie Gilmartin, 12, of East Kingston, N.H., gave this one a try and, sure enough, her tongue was frozen to the pole, as the New York Daily News notes. Her parents tried to blow warm air on her tongue and douse it with warm water to get it unstuck, but to no avail. Eventually the paramedics were able to free her; and her tongue is expected to recover, though it could take up to six months for the swelling to go down.

Why does this happen? The tongue is warm, and when it touches the frigid pole, the pole saps that warmth and cools the tongue, causing the body to send more heat to the cooled area. But the high thermal conductivity of the metal pole means it sucks up that warmth faster than the body can resupply it to the tongue. The upshot: The moisture on the tongue freezes in the pores of the tongue and the metal and, voila, you’re stuck.

Greenwood Trails is Hiring!

Greenwood Trails is hiring all kinds of awesome and capable people!

Thinking about being part of our team? Check out this super great video from our favorite Aussie, Caitlin (dance & video instructor and lifeguard extraordinaire), for the top ten things our staff go home with after camp 🙂

Apply here!

The Social Supplement to Modern Society

Here is an awesome article written by ACA’s Peg Smith and Andy Pritikin!

What an amazing world we live in, with more information and connections at our fingertips than we could ever imagine. This brave new world has come with a price, though, as we’ve gradually replaced human interaction with technological interaction. We have many young people who are not fully equipped for college, the workforce, or adult life. While the US has the highest percentage of graduating seniors choosing to attend colleges or universities, we also have the highest percentage of first-year collegians that drop out. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a nonprofit comprised of the top corporations and forward-thinking educators, has done research showing a big gap in our education system between the “3 Rs” and what employers are truly looking for with their new hires.

Every parent wants what is best for his or her children, though. And the antidote to many of the issues created by modern society — a supplement to what kids learn in schools — might be found right down the road at CAMP!

1. Brain-Based Learning

Camp is an excellent place for children’s developing brains. The character traits that parents wish for their kids — independence, confidence, friendship-building, resilience, character, grit, etc. — are real outcomes for kids who have quality camp experiences. These traits come from the middle prefrontal cortex, which gives us the ability to do important things like regulate our body and emotions, have insight into ourselves and others, feel empathy, communicate in an attuned way, bounce back after failure, adapt to new situations, make thoughtful choices, and overcome fear. That’s a pretty good list of what’s needed for a successful life with good emotional and mental health, meaningful relationships, and the conscientiousness to make an impact on the world (Bryson, 2013).

The brain grows and strengthens when it is used. So, when kids have camp experiences that require them to take risks, be flexible, handle their emotions (especially away from their parents), be persistent to master something, build relationships, and so on, it strengthens this important part of the brain for life. At camp, kids usually feel safe and secure, and the setting is so fun that kids are willing to work harder and tolerate more frustration and setbacks because they’re having such a good time doing it! This builds character, and helps them for the rest of their lives.

2. Nature and the Out-of-Doors Experience

Today’s youth suffer from an alarmingly limited access to or interest in the natural world. We can look at the 18 percent obesity rate of children alone and realize physical activity and access to the outdoors have been drastically altered.

Activity has also been modified by the number of hours young people spend in front of screens —an average of seven and a half hours a day. Sadly, our time spent out of doors has decreased by 50 percent in the last two decades, and the benefits of nature and the outdoors go well beyond physical well-being. Direct experience in nature is important to a child’s intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and physical development (Kellert, 2005). Most traditional summer camps are based outside and require that children explore, enjoy, and resiliently persevere in the elements! At Liberty Lake, when parents ask, “What do you do when it rains?” I answer first that we call it “liquid sunshine,” and that often we’ll actually sing, dance, and jump in puddles in the rain. It’s good old-fashioned fun, which kids thoroughly enjoy!

3. Play

This is not a bad four-letter word. Yet, modern society has severely marginalized play, which denies a rite of passage — childhood! We have unfortunately witnessed a 25 percent decline in play in our lifetime. Play is a normal developmental process. Children (and adults) who are not allowed or encouraged to play have less energy, less interest, and less enthusiasm about life. And we’re not talking about playing video games in the basement against friends sitting in their basements! We’re talking about hand-to-hand, face-to-face, old school, getting dirty, scraping your knee, hurting your feelings, REAL stuff that helped shape us into the adults that we are today.

Play at camp is a critical stage of learning. It is a learning process that is experiential and active. Play allows young people to practice “how” to survive and thrive in a community. It teaches young people “how” to learn, gaining the skills of persistence, grit, participation, failure, encouragement, and perseverance.

There’s a Place I Know . . .

Activities that strengthen the brain, being outside in nature, and physically “playing” with others are things that took place naturally in our neighborhoods for centuries, but in today’s modern society, one of the best environments for this all to happen is at summer camp. In the past few decades, many parents have focused their responsibilities on building their children’s resumes, over-programming, and not letting them just be kids, the way kids have been for centuries. From what I’ve seen recently, though, the pendulum is slowly swinging back! Parents don’t want their adult children living with them. They want their kids away from screens and out of the air conditioning, as they recall the challenges of their own childhoods with newfound reverence and now seek for the same for their children.

We all know where kids go to receive “academic” equipment for life, but there is a special place each summer where they can go to receive critical social and emotional readiness equipment. Where they can intern for life — at SUMMER CAMP!