Summer camp is often a magical time in a child or adolescent’s development. These special summer homes foster friendships that are like sisterhoods and bonds that endure for lifetimes. Unfettered by technology, social media pressures, academic strains, and other typical adolescent challenges, camp frees kids up to take safe risks and grow immeasurably. As parents, we instill our trust in camp directors and the counselors they hire to keep our children safe and ensure that their days are filled with fun and laughter. Counselors become parents, teachers, role models, supervisors and babysitters all rolled into one package, sometimes with just a week or two of preparation. No doubt, this is a big job with a big impact.
While counselors assume super-human responsibilities, we know that they are of course human, and as such, they bring their own potentially complex histories with food and body as well as varied beliefs about food, weight, shape and size. Campfires & Cupcakes was created by our team of pediatric and adolescent experts to train camp counselors to practice body positive language and food neutral behaviors. For over 20 years, our Registered Dietitians have provided expert guidance to our adolescents and their families with the goal of establishing strong, healthy relationships with food and body. We developed C&C as a response to our clients summer experiences and we know that by providing this critical education and support to counselors we can have an invaluable impact on our adolescents and their abilities to develop body confidence.
Given the enormous pressure that our culture places on thinness, fitness, and flawlessness (and often the promotion of dangerous methods to manipulate body weight, shape and size), it is especially critical to educate camp counselors, our children’s summer role models, to embrace food-neutral language and empower body positive practices.
At a time when our young girls are undergoing exponential physical, emotional, and developmental change, it is essential that their summer camp environment is one that establishes a body-positive and food-neutral setting in which for them to grow.
Campfires & Cupcakes offers three levels of online instruction for camp counselors and staff:
Our most accessible platform is a guided, online, modular training program. It provides thorough instruction through a directed program by our expert child and adolescent team in which counselors will learn the skills necessary to model the best in body positivity and food neutrality to their campers. We cover 6 primary education areas paramount to counselors:
Our enhanced training offers an invaluable interactive component that camp directors can provide for their counselors. This is a live, 60-minute, virtual group setting during which a member of our team leads a discussion based on the principles taught in our modular training. Counselors are given the opportunity to confidentially discuss specific previous experiences and gain deeper insight and skills to enhance their leadership ongoing.
Our summer support option is ideal for camp directors and staff that would like the option of additional consultation with one of our pediatric and adolescent nutrition experts throughout the summer. We make ourselves available to you to troubleshoot concerning observations or situations that may arise with campers and we will offer specific strategies and recommendations with the aim of ensuring the best in care and safety for campers and counselors alike.
Our goal is for parents to feel confident that their children are being exposed to healthy messages about food, weight, shape and size, and for camp directors to feel confident that they are providing the best in mentorship with body positivity and food neutrality. With this combined effort, together we will contribute to the development of confident, body positive girls.
Children and adolescents, living in developing bodies and minds, are massively susceptible to the language, imagery and behaviors used and exhibited by their peers and mentors. During a time when parents do not have eyes on their children daily, it is essential that those trusted adults caring for them (counselors who are sometimes only teens themselves) are modeling the most responsible practices in body positivity and food inclusivity. C&C provides this foundational education, which is not provided in our school settings, and delivers it in a fun, easily integrated way. In so doing, we are enabling the positive role modeling that will hopefully establish a healthy and empowered mindset ongoing with food and body.
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