“Where Have All The Children Gone, Long Time Ago?”

They are home stuck inside and facing difficult challenges of isolation, boredom, lack of socialization, and exercise.  Too much togetherness can be difficult. We are all hopeful that children’s camps will be permitted to open this summer. After all, children have the lowest risk of catching C-19, and have a statistically insignificant chance of being seriously sick. Camp can be the perfect place to quarantine children away from vulnerable populations (Counselors are generally below 25 years old and camper ages run from ages  8-15).

At camp children can run, play, and socialize in an outdoor environment, all the while being isolated from the general population. They have outstanding role models in their counselors, and have many opportunities to learn new things, and meet new friends.

Joyce and I are very concerned about the negative impact enforced isolation will have on children. They are surviving on TV, computers, and mobile phones. They need interpersonal contact. At Kingsley Pines Camp there are NO electronics. Children develop their imaginations, and interpersonal skills while living in a group.  Our counselors are fun, and helpful.  The opportunity for children to “run free” was missing in society before C-19, and has only been made worse by “staying at home” orders. We have 100 acres consisting of forests, playing fields, beaches, lake, and creative arts area. Children choose their activities based on their interests.

Kingsley Pines Camp in Raymond Maine (kingsleypines.com) considers the safety of our campers first and foremost. We have consulted with some of the leading experts about how to run a safe camp in our current situation, and comply with American Camping Association guidelines.



There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel

A positive outlook is good for your health and your family’s health!

At a time when almost every news broadcast and many emails focus on the Covid-19 Virus and the danger it poses to us, our family, community, country, and world, it is very difficult to be optimistic about anything.

The endless negative news stories and e-mails keep us hyper with concerns. If you want to feel better about yourself and life, reach out to others, and be supportive.  Call/skype/WhatsApp someone who is alone and lonely. Send positive notes and emails to neighbors. Use programs like ZOOM to connect with a group like book club, discussion groups, and friends.

Programs that allow you to see people in real time are the most effective. They are VERY easy to use, and create a fuller experience than the telephone.  Stay connected!

Children can learn WISDOM

Through experience and observing role models kids develop wisdom. At Kingsley Pines Camp, our staff demonstrate kindness, caring, and empathy! It is a child-centric place where children are exposed to a new place, people, and activities. The social skills developed at camp, such as meeting new people, improving conversation skills, and developing conflict resolution skills, are invaluable in a child’s development.

The Kingsley Pines Camp community is built around the philosophy of “Doing the right thing!” This is a skill the one best learns through experience. If errors in judgement occur in a caring and supportive environment, a child has the opportunity to make a course correction, rather than becoming defensive or even aggressive.

At camp, we teach judgement and common sense with an emphasis on thoughtfulness and morality. Our staff work as a team to make sure “No Child is left behind.” They are always guiding, role modeling, and being supportive.

Character is the MOST important thing a child can learn at KP. It involves respect for one’s self and for others. Campers learn to ask themselves: “Am I doing the right thing?” Children learn to do the right thing, the right way, for the right reasons!

Boosting Children’s Confidence

The importance of unstructured play is terribly underestimated. Kids need time to simply play, both alone and with other children. As parents, we tend to over-organize our children. We want to plan out their activities and days.

Sports are an important element of play. They foster teamwork, cooperation, and self-confidence. However, as adults we have over-organized sports with too much emphasis on “winning” and not enough emphasis on developing skills such as running, catching, jumping, and throwing. Children need to develop their motor skills. Innately, children enjoy the opportunity to play with each other, and even make up activities and games.

Our emphasis on competition has reached absurd extremes. It often seems that parents are more invested in their child’s sports, than the child themself. We start competition at too young of an age. Let your child develop physically before involving them in competition.

Childhood is supposed to be FUN!

Want to Jump Start Your Child’s Imagination?

A walk in the woods can accomplish miracles. In an age when lives are dominated by lighted screens, and outdoor activity is generally coached, taking a child on a walk is calming and expands their imagination. Asking kids to be aware of what they see and smell heightens their senses. It can also strengthen your bond. Take the opportunity to listen, be silent, and simply enjoy the peace and quiet. Three books that are worth reading are: The Nature Principal, Last Child in The Woods, and The Nature Fix. Enjoy! PC-You will benefit as much as your child.

The Risks of Smart Phones

Children are at a greater risk than we believe from smart phones and social media!

The NEW YORK TIMES reports that children, especially girls (1 in 4) are deliberately harming themselves. This at a time when our society seems to be “child focused.” Many children are spending up to 9 hours per day on their phones, where other people are evaluating their appearance and words. Children are jockeying for a sense of status that is largely unattainable. This often results in a poor self-image and depression.

The average age a child a receives a smart phone is 10. These are powerful tools designed for adults! I question why a 10 year old “needs” a smart phone. I suggest that at age 10 they are NOT emotionally mature, and should not be given such a device. They are nearly impossible to monitor, and put your child at risk of interacting with complete strangers.

As a parent, it is not healthy and simply unnecessary to be in constant contact with your child. If you feel your child needs a phone for emergency purposes, use a “flip phone” and severely limit the minutes purchased!

Once you give your child a smart device, it is nearly impossible to take it away (even for an hour). Help you child and give yourself a favor, delay giving your child a smart phone until they are mature enough to appreciate the responsibilities the use of such a device entails, and appreciate the social pressures that they will face.

Managing Electronics and Media

Do not kid yourselves! Managing electronics and media with children is one of the most challenging issues facing parents today. Studies universally show that overuse of electronics is “harmful” to children. In our opinion, one of the primary impacts is they negatively impact a child’s ability to develop relationships. Children lose sensitivity, thoughtfulness, and empathy.

Many parents have a reactive approach to managing phones/iPads/games. They wait until they are fed up, then overreact. This generally results in conflict/yelling and getting upset. A better approach would be to develop a plan in advance of losing your patience. Try to involve your child in a discussion involving time limits, times of use/non use, etc.. This will not be easy, but if you can get buy in from your child, the chances of having a workable plan will be greatly increased.

Consider giving your child an outdoor experience like Kingsley Pines Camp, or Outward Bound, where electronic are NOT available.

Please share your your experiences and input.