You have questions, I have answers. If the answer to your question isn’t below, please email me! If you are asking it, I am certain others are too!
1. What is your camp? Is it an activity camp, or an enrichment / empowerment camp? Yes, yes, and yes! That is what makes Full Circle Kids so unique. I have 3 main goals for my camp. First, for your child to tell you they had SO MUCH FUN, they can hardly wait to go back tomorrow; and then when it ends, they want to do it AGAIN! Second, for your child to come home physically spent from all the fun games, relays, and activities they did (your child will get more than the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity/ day). Third, for your child to tell you that they learned some really neat things to be healthy, happy and safe. So be sure to send me a note, and let me know if I’m on track : )
2. What are you teaching my child about Eating Healthy, since we are … vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, allergic, local, sustainable, organic, pesticide free, humanely raised… etc.? The great news is I don’t teach your child anything that conflicts with your special family dietary needs or preferences! Using the US Department of Agriculture's MyPlate curriculum (check it out! It is SO much better than the food pyramid we all grew up with… how many servings of fruits or vegetables was it again?!), kids learn in a visual way that is easy to remember • What the main food groups are • How they are balanced • What kinds of foods are in each group (taking into account substitutions for specific dietary needs) • Why they are good for us!
3. Why don’t you have a camp or class for middle school or high school children? This program can be customized to meet the needs of tweens, preteens, and teenagers! However, I specifically developed a grade-school program because there isn’t anything currently like it! I believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so I want to reach children early. Learning is life-long, and it is never too late, but it is never too early either. I want to plant a very early seed, because I think very young children can be empowered to make smart choices to keep themselves happy, healthy and safe – for a lifetime!
4. Why don’t you do a separate camp for just girls (or just boys)? Great question! Because the things we learn in Full Circle Kids are relevant for both boys and girls. The fundamentals of communication, managing emotions, problem-solving, staying safe, being joyful, celebrating ourselves, eating healthy and being physically active apply to both boys and girls. Frankly, I think it is healthy for boys and girls to tackle these topics head on together. It creates an awareness of how others – boys and girls – think of themselves in ways that are both similar and different, and that they too have emotions associated with those thoughts – the foundation of building empathy!
5. About empathy, aren't children by nature self-centered, and can they really learn to be empathic? First no! And second, yes! Children are naturally prone to be empathic, but it must be nurtured. Programming for empathy is “hard-wired” into the brains of normal children and its value is multifold: Children who are empathic tend to do better in school, in social situations, and in their adult careers. Children and teenagers who have the greatest amount of skill at empathy are viewed as leaders by their peers.
6. What’s your background, education, experience? I have a Master’s of Science Degree in Counseling Psychology (my thesis was a qualitative evaluation of health programs in Canadian schools), and I’m a Certified Personal Trainer. My clinical counseling experience includes short-term therapy for children in foster care, suicide counseling, and individual, marital and family therapy. I trained crisis hotline workers, and I trained management on how to effectively manage troubled employees. I worked in national and international program management, consulting with managers and Human Resources. And then I became a mom and so now include the very important role of teacher to my skill-set, a responsibility that has been more rewarding than any other.
7. What do you teach about bullying? I teach children, first of all, what bullying is and what it is not. They will learn the difference between joking, teasing and bullying, and how to respond to all three. They also learn about 'relational aggression' - a kind of bullying that harms others through purposeful manipulation or damage to peer relationships. Importantly, I teach them some very critical early strategies that will prevent them from being bullied in the first place. Bullying by definition is a ‘repeated act’, and it is those first encounters which will make the difference between whether a bully targets your child or moves on.
8. We seem to have so many demands on our family to give. What does the Act of Community Service entail? It doesn’t involve the family at all! Nor does it involve any monetary giving. It only involves your child’s talents, energy, and enthusiasm (combined with the talents, energy and enthusiasm of others) to do something fun and meaningful for their community. The goal is have the children experience the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards of prosocial, voluntary behavior which is intended to benefit other people or society as a whole.
9. What curriculum are you using? Full Circle Kids was in development for a year. I started by creating macro and micro goals, then the specific objectives for each goal. Then I built the framework for the camp around those goals and objectives. I utilized curriculum from USDA’s MyPlate and Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. I consulted various camp resources to design a program that would be fun and active. I utilized a number of national resources (like letsmove.gov, legacyproject.org, ncpc.org, sleepforkids.org, kidshealth.org) to support the curriculum… all copyright is noted on materials. There is no other camp like Full Circle Kids. It is a customized program, built in a modular fashion, and therefore can be delivered in various formats… weekly classes, weekend workshops, weeklong camps, full-day or half day, etc. If you have any interest in bringing this program to your school, class, after-school program, children’s center, or anything else, please just ask!