Summer camp jobs - a place to grow!

Welcome everyone to my blog. Running a residential camp (Maine Arts Camp), as well as MySummers (a staffing site) and Camp Finders (a summer camp referral service), I have gained a unique perspective about sleepaway camps. I first attended camp in 1970 in Maine; I'm still at camp and love it!

Rick Mades

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

teenagers finding their identity

I just read a great article by Jeff Yalden. At camp, we often talk about campers figuring out who they are without the social pressures of trying to fit into a certain group by changing who they are. We encourage campers to explore new activities, learn to accept others for who they are, get to know other campers who may seem quirky, and learning to communicate with other campers and staff in a positive way. Overnight camp can be a wonderful experience for those trying to find their place in the world. We even suggest that campers come to camp on their own (without friends) so that they can make their own place at camp. We love to hear from parents who tell us that their children loved the activities and learned a lot, but, more importantly, came home more confident in themselves, independent and willing to try new things. Here are some words from Jeff that resonate and that may help all camp counselors and directors work with their campers, especially teens.

One of the biggest things I seen teens worrying about is being accepted and liked by their peers. You hear so much from teachers and parents about not getting into risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, and violence. But this often misses the point. Because the things that get kids in trouble more than anything is being totally focused on what other people are thinking, saying and feeling about them. The problem is this: You can get so caught up in wanting to be liked, wanting to be accepted, to have a cool reputation, whatever, that you start trying to shape yourself so that you'll measure up in other people's eyes. And when you do that, you lose yourself. You lose sight of your character. You forget who you really are.

Jeff goes on to recommend to teens that should try to create the person they want to be and surround themselves with people who have a positive influence on them. These are great thoughts that we as educators, camp counselors and camp directors should all be sharing with our campers. You can find more about Jeff at his web site.

Rick Mades
Owner & director of Maine Arts Camp
Owner of Camp Finders & MySummers


  1. good article... Jeff has done a lot of speeches that have made a big difference in people's lives he's a youth motivational speaker who's been on the circuit for a while now.

  2. As a youth speaker you have to continue to look for ways to connect with teens and Jeff has done that over the years.

  3. It is nice to have a colleague such as Jeff. As a newer youth speaker , I’m grateful for him and many others who have paved the way for me. The advice he shared was right on and we have to continue to share with young people that they can’t be stressed out about what others think or say about them. It is our responsibility to remind students of this.

  4. Great Post! As a Youth Speaker, I'm honored to join speakers such as Jeff yalden. He has been sharing life changing advice for years.