This week’s episode is about a rite of passage for many kids—summer camp. I know from personal experience that summer camp can have many benefits for our kids, and I also know that it’s not always easy to find the best fit or to prepare our kids for what to expect and have a positive experience. So this week, I’m bringing on Audrey Monke, a summer camp director, parent, writer, and speaker who follows the research, trends, and best practices regarding parenting, positive psychology, and youth development. Audrey is also the author of the new book Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults, a book that introduces a framework of intentional strategies to help parents create the same kind of transformational culture that kids experience at camp.
Audrey has researched and written extensively on the topics of summer camp, social skills, parenting, and well-being and is on a mission as a parent and youth development professional is to help raise a generation of kids who become responsible, independent, and flourishing adults. And so today, we are going to talk not only about the benefits of summer camp for kids and how parents can tap into summer camp magic at home, but I also asked Audrey to share her insights with us about things like how to communicate with camp staff about a child’s neurodivergence, how to find the right summer camp, how to support a differently wired kid before and during camp, and more.
About Audrey: Audrey Monke, author of Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults, is the owner and director of Gold Arrow Camp in Lakeshore, California. She is among the nation’s most well-respected experts on the topics of summer camp and friendship skills. For more than 30 years, Audrey has researched and improved practices at her camp to promote belonging, friendships, and character growth. Her parenting website and podcast (Sunshine Parenting) have a loyal following of like-minded parents wanting to raise kids who become thriving adults. She is the mother of five kids (ages fifteen to twenty-five) and lives with her husband, Steve, and two teenage sons in Clovis, California.
THINGS YOU’LL LEARN FROM THIS EPISODE:
- The benefits of sleep away camp for kids
- What the research shows about social skills and well-being in relation to summer camp
- What parents should look for when identifying potential camp programs for their kids
- How parents can best prepare their children for summer camp
- How much / how to communicate with camp staff and counselors about a child’s neurodivergence
- Ideas for how parents can “bring camp home” to support their kids’ development
- Why Audrey believes kids are more capable than parents think they are
- Sunshine Parenting (Audrey’s website and podcast)
- Messages for an Anxious Camper (blog post)
- Ready for Adulthood Checklist (downloadable PDF)
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