Monday, April 15, 2013

T.I.G.E.R. and "Pay it Forward"

Meadowbrook's unique T.I.G.E.R. program helps us build a strong community at Camp and teaches our Campers what we believe are 5 important, life-long values that are crucial for success.

We positively re-enforce demonstrating these values at Camp in a variety of ways:  T.I.G.E.R. stickers; T.I.G.E.R. "Warm & Fuzzies"; T.I.G.E.R. Camper of the Day in each Group; Weekly T.I.G.E.R. Camper in each Division; and the T.I.G.E.R. Cup which is awarded to the Divisions that does the best job demonstrating T.I.G.E.R. qualities each week.

While we are strong believers in positive reinforcement of good behavior throughout Camp, the ultimate success is when those in our Meadowbrook Community (Campers, Parents, Staff) practice T.I.G.E.R. qualities even when they think no-one is watching.  Our goal is for everyone to get to the point where you don't do it for the positive do it because it is the right thing to do!  Some refer to this as "Pay it Forward."  I often speak with member of our Meadowbrook Community about this topic, both in terms of re-enforcing positive behavior and discouraging negative behavior   I remind them "you never know who is watching, so with everything that you do, assume that someone is watching you do it, even if you don't think anyone is...."

Check out this nice "Pay it Forward" video: "If you give a little love you can get a little love of your own"...

Pay It Forward Video

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Camper's Perspective

As we move into high gear getting ready for another great Summer at Meadowbrook, we would like to share a moment at Camp from a Camper's perspective.  This is an essay from a writing contest entered by one of our Meadowbrook Campers (we did change his name in the essay).  It very nicely captures the Meadowbrook Experience!

As I climbed the pole of the zip line my feet trembled.  I was at Meadowbrook Day Camp, my division head Steven who led the juniors division cheered me on. “You can do it Joe”, he shouted enthusiastically.  I knew I must keep going. The height of the pole made the climbing part tough. When I got to the top I didn’t know what to do. From way up there everything seemed small. Steven yelled “Doing well so far!” The rock wall which usually seems bigger appeared smaller in the distance. I was so high I could almost touch the tops of the trees.
I started to go, then didn’t.  I sat down on the ledge but didn’t go off.  I felt scared to slide off the ledge.  I started to sweat and my heart was beating as fast as the speed of light. Finally I said “It is very high up here”. Steven reassured me that if I wanted to come down, I could be lowered. So I started going down.
When I got to the bottom, Steven suggested I go on the mini zip line to get the feeling of what it would feel like. Even though I was nervous, I agreed to try that. So when Group 37 was at fishing, I went to the mini zip line with Steven. I got a harness on and I went up the stairs to get to the platform of the mini zip line. I was connected to a long rope that a person who works at the bottom of the small zip line would hold and guide me like a dog on a leash. The miniature zip line was close to the ground so I wasn’t nervous. The feeling was a little weird but it was also nice at the same time. The next thing I knew, I said I wanted to go faster then I said, “faster again!”  Finally, I decided to go on my own without the rope.  I made a deal with Steven, if I went on the main zip line alone so would he.  He agreed to my deal.
It was the day I was to go on the main zip line all by myself. When it was time, I slowly put my left hand and right foot on the ladder and then I moved my opposite foot and hand on. When I got to the top I almost regretted this but I knew I had to have courage. I wanted to succeed and I did not want my fear to overtake me.  I wanted all my work to pay off. When I got in position, I waited a few minutes and kept thinking “you can do it”.  The owner of the camp, Jed, who I didn’t see come by said “Go Joe!” My commitment and determination to doing this allowed me to finally jump off and I zipped. By having courage and determination I learned that I really enjoyed it!!
I decided it was a fun thing to do. I could feel the wind in my face as I flew through the air.  Not only did I overcome my fear but also learned I can do anything I put my mind to.  In order to achieve my goal of doing the zip line, I had to demonstrate several of Jackie Robinson’s Nine Values.  I had to have courage to face my fear of the height and speed of the zip line. I also had to have determination to keep trying and not give up on my goal of doing it. Lastly, I had to have a commitment to success.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Life Skills at Camp!

Jed at Camp Weequahic 1971
Last week, 14 members of the Meadowbrook Leadership Team attended the American Camp Association Tri-State Camp Conference in Atlantic City.  It is a great opportunity for our staff to share and earn with thousands of other Camp professionals.

In the spirit of sharing, here is a blog post from another Camp...this one from my Alma Mater, Camp Weequahic.

At Meadowbrook, we are very focused on teaching important life skills to our Campers.  This blog post is a great perspective on some of those life skills that we teach at Meadowbrook, skills like Resilience  Sportsmanship, Teamwork, and Self-Esteem.  Check it out...and let us know what you think!

 Learning to Lose at Camp

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don't Take My Word...

I often write and speak about the amazing benefits that Camp offers Children.  But you don't have to take my word for it...check out this great article from Cigna about the Benefits of Summer Camp!

Summer Health: Benefits of Summer Camp

See you at Camp!!

Friday, February 8, 2013


Yes, it is snowing at Camp!  This is different from our normal Blog Posts.  Before we end our day, we wanted to briefly update everyone on a few things going on at Camp as we prepare for the best Summer ever!

For our youngest Campers, we are now offering a mini-day program for entering pre-school Campers.  The day will end at 1:30 and include lunch and swimming twice each day.  Let us know if you would like more information on the program for you or a friend.

We are always focused on improving our facility, and this year we seem to have more projects than ever in progress.  We are about ½ way through our bunk renovation project.  We are also working on completely re-building our Sun Mountain building area, including going from 2 bathrooms to 6 and adding a program room for some new activities we are working on.  We are also working on building 2 new GaGa pits, a new Gymnastics area under our big-top tent, new high elements at our Challenge Course, and lots more.  We are also busy on plans for a new Field House targeted for the Summer of 2014. 

For our YA Campers, we have added a new elective-type activity called Clubs.  We are busy looking to hire outside specialists for activities like Magic and Martial Arts.  We are finishing the building of our first regulation size ping pong table.  Once we have it perfected, we will build a few more before Camp starts.  They will be located in our new After Swim area called The Ridge.

For our Travel Campers, we will be adding Co-ed Sports Leagues, a Camper favorite from their YA days.  We will also have a few days of all choice for Travel Campers spread throughout the Summer based on the trip Schedules.

All of this is in addition to the ongoing projects that our office and facility staff work on all winter, every year.  We already have our 8 Weekly Special Event Themes and are busy planning schedules, Special Events, and Bus Activities.  We have had many Staff members from last Summer come to Camp to re-interview for the Summer of 2013.  We have reviewed hundreds of surveys from last Summer and are working on the many suggestions.  And of course, we are working on finalizing the 2012 Video Yearbook that we hope to mail soon so we can relive the Summer of 2012!

We have already hired about 70% of our great Staff, but we are always looking for more great mentors and role models for our Campers.  We are especially looking for a few Adult Group Leaders, Art Specialists, and Phys Ed Teachers.  We are also looking for some Lifeguards, Ropes Staff, Whispering Woods Staff, and College Athletes.  All Staff MUST be available to work all 8-weeks, no exceptions.  Anyone interested should give us a call in the office.

Finally, make sure to stay on top of everything happening at Camp.  We post lots of information on both our facebook page and our blog.  Make sure to check them out and like/subscribe to both so you don’t miss anything.

Stay safe during the snow…and think Summer…only 143 days ‘til Camp!!

- Roz, Jed, Rich & Marty

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Unplugging at Camp

Earlier this week, we wrote about Learning Life Skills at Camp.  At Meadowbrook, this is a significant and intentional focus of our program.  We also provided a link to the website for additional information on 21st Century Skills.

Today we have the pleasure of sharing with you a great 11 minute Tedx video from our friend and colleague Steve Baskin talking about "Unplugging our Kids" and how these 21st Century Skills relate to all that we do at Camp.

Enjoy....and let us know what you think!

Summer 2013 Weekly Themes

A hallmark at Meadowbrook is the amazing level of excitement that we create for our Campers.  Parents tell us all the time that their children get up early for Camp, get dressed by themselves, run down the driveway to meet the bus, etc.  They are EXCITED to go to Camp!

One of the ways we intentionally create this excitement is with our weekly themes that change each and every year!  Each theme is supported by Special Events, Activities on our Buses to and from Camp, and projects in our Creative Arts areas.

We have already shared that the theme the first week of Camp will be AMERICAN STARS AND TIGER STRIPES (see prior post).  Jumping to the last week of the Summer, our Week 8 theme will be AROUND THE WORLD IN 5 DAYS.  Special thanks to All-Star Counselor Audrey S. who suggested it on our facebook page in the fall. The highlight of the week will be our full Camp Carnival on Wednesday with the theme "MCDC WORLD'S FAIR."  Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to another amazing Summer at Meadowbrook!