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Girls

Much has been written already about HBO’s “Girls,” the “Sex and the City” for the next generation. The New York Times even had an article in The Science Times about the show and how the strong female friendships on “Girls” mirror those found in the animal kingdom. It seems that baboons and twenty-something Brooklynites both benefit from female bonding.

This, of course, led me to think about all-girls camps. There is no right decision when deciding what type of camp to send your children to. Some children and/or parents want a co-ed camp because they want their children to spend time with their siblings, because they want their children exposed to and comfortable around the other gender, or because they themselves have fond memories of a co-ed camp experience. Still others choose co-ed camps because they believe that teens are more likely to attend camp longer if there are members of the opposite sex there. All of these are valid and great reasons to send children to a co-ed camp.

Other parents choose single-sex camps. There is something different about the bonding that happens in a single-sex camp. Girls are very different when there are no boys around. Even boys are different without girls to impress. With the plethora of technology available to kids today, it is almost impossible to insulate them from the pressures of dating and sex, at younger and younger ages. A single-sex camp can minimize the pressures, at least for a few weeks.

The creator of “Girls” has stated that the most important relationship in the show is really the friendship of the “girls” themselves. In the animal kingdom, in the five boroughs of New York, and at summer camp, this is what is most important.


Raising Kind Children

Often times I think parents think they have to teach their children all skills. But they forget the most natural way kids learn positive (and negative) behaviors is just by being around role models; the most important being their parents.

This Huffington Post article about Raising Kind Daughters really resonates with me. I love the story of supportive friendship, mothers of friends looking out for their child’s friends, peers wanting and offering help, and more. I can recall similar stories of my own kids growing up. And now their own experiences evaluating people’s kindness (and lack of). Making personal and professional choices because of people’s kindness levels.

I also believe that one of the best environments in which to experience and learn more about kindness is in camp. With mentors and adults around to help shape their development. Calling attention to those who do good deeds, and instructing those who do the opposite to improve their behaviors. I often counsel parents to ask about such scenarios when interviewing directors. Situations like these should come to mind rather quickly, if a director is good and in touch with their staff and campers.

Let’s all try to be more mindful how we treat and speak to others, be it in front of our kids, their teachers, professionals, restaurant staff, or anyone in a service environment or position. With a little more kindness in the world, we might all have a positive impact on reducing negative, harmful behaviors. And people being more happy.