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Internship Creativity & Reality

In our work with college students, we empower them to seek out and create internship opportunities that are organic. A similar approach to when they planned their high school summers and extracurricular activities, preparing for college (and admissions).

What are their passions? How do their course selections and college major correlate? What activities do they engage in outside of classes? What do they care about? Do they (or their parents ) have any connections to individuals in these areas (past or present)?

This week, a journalist interviewed me for Forbes’ article on writing cover letters when you have no experience. It actually became an internship how-to tutorial session for the writer, as her son is in the process of trying to get a college summer internship. I heard lots of note taking during the interview. I was actually very happy to share my recommended strategies. So here’s a very brief how-to you can impart to your own college students:

  • Build a customized resume and cover letter – take the time to alter it for each opportunity
  • Create a digital footprint – build a LinkedIn profile and remove inappropriate social media; connect socially with influencers in your area of interest
  • Pursue passions – nothing resonates more with an employer than personal experience
  • Network – in person and online – college professors, summer programs you attended, high school/college club advisors, past employers, upperclassmen, college alumni and career services, parent professional contacts, career conferences and fairs, etc. This tends to pay off down the road
  • Think virtual – you need experience to get experience. Create a virtual opportunity
  • Persevere – hard work pays off; and it is far more rewarding than a hand-out (which lends itself to an entitlement interpretation)
  • Get involved – at college, in causes. Social entrepreneurship is not just du jour

We don’t think it’s fair to expect college students to do this if they have not been taught how to develop and use the tools. But on the other hand, college students think they are far more prepared for the workplace than employers do. So students need to balance creativity with reality.

Need help? Reach out to us.

Parenting Today

It must be the time of year, but I feel a day does not go by that we don’t hear about parenting styles and issues. No one said it is/would be easy. But you may ask how did our parents do it, if you are a baby boomer like me?

The recent story about the Maryland mom who is being investigated by Child Protection Services for letting her children walk home from a park seems to be trying to raise her kids in a free-range way. A throwback to the 60’s and 70’s. Is that so bad? I don’t necessarily think so. Yes, we of course need to be wise and have our eyes and ears at 360 degrees; but most importantly, it is talking to your own children about safety and independence, in an appropriate and non-anxiety laden way.

Another recent article in the Washington Post on Parenting as a Gen Xer speaks to the first generation of parenting in the i age. I understand this as this is typically my clientele for camp and middle school age summer programs. Truly, camp is the antidote to this generation of kids (and parents). It is a detox tech zone, but most importantly, almost a camp itself for learning to communicate and collaborate in an inclusive community. Guess you’ve also heard about tech detox camp for adults?

The underlying concerns I have are finding the appropriate ways for kids and teens to develop those life characteristics and skills that will prepare them for college, careers and beyond- grit, resilience, independence, character, confidence, compassion; developing the social and emotional intelligence that must be learned firsthand, not taught. If you have not already read Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair’s book on unplugging, The Big Disconnect, I recommend you do. I have known her for years within the camp industry and her words and experience resonate with you.

So back to parenting today. Let’s continue to practice safe, independent-building and relevant ways to raise kids today; perhaps there are some elements of free range parenting you are comfortable with. Try them in small steps. Helicopter parenting may make parents feel more in the know, more in control; but it is enabling. Trial and error is the best way all of us learn; especially kids.

What are your thoughts on this?

2014: Our Dozen Everything Summer Meaningful Moments

Most people look back at year-end to review what they experienced and learned. Helping them look forward to the coming year renewed, and to try to have a plan. We do the same. We are proud of our many efforts to help families, students, camps, programs, professionals, organizations and educational institutions. And giving back is inherent in our work.

Here’s our recap; we’d love to hear about yours!

Camps that really make a difference in others’ lives – so many to mention (which is great), but in our opinion some noteworthy ones in the news or not: Seeds of Peace, Camp Sunshine, Camp Champions, Camp to Belong, Experience Camps for Grieving Children

New programs and trends – more focuses on social entrepreneurship, marrying start-ups with causes, for campers and teens; more STEM opportunities, especially women; continued growth in culinary programs; and happily (in our eyes) more back-to-basics, unplugging emphasis at traditional camps

Pre-College Admissions Survey – we co-authored the 2014 national pre-college summer survey to the top 50 US colleges and universities that focused on how summer experiences influence college acceptances. It’s always important to stay current to provide our clients with knowledge that will best prepare students for college preparation and transitions

Continued media advocacy – we feel fortunate our opinions and thoughts are sought after, helping to spread the word about the benefits of camp and summer experiences. Being youth development advocates is an honor

Our youth development resources expansion – connecting families and students with top professionals to help develop them to their fullest potential

College admissions and stand-out experiences – inspiring and helping our clients self-discover, find their niche, pursue it, and create organic differences year-round that will help them grow individually and become distinct applicants in the future

Camp weddings – love hearing when camp alumni return to their second homes or states where these lifelong memories and friendships began. We even helped one family coordinate a camp wedding in Maine!

Successful international student transitions – so happy to help these students transition to the US, improve their English, try out US college campuses to help put them on their path to higher education in this country

Speaking engagements through education workshops – it has been fulfilling to have the opportunity to speak to organizations such as the Parents League of NY and the JCC Manhattan, educating parents about summer planning for mainstream children and teens, or those with special needs

Camperships for inner city kids – our board work with Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education is incredibly fulfilling. The Cycle4Camp event and initiative is fun, lets people celebrate their camp spirit and give kids in need the gift of camp!

Our college student & grad career services expansion – it’s a very competitive marketplace and knowing we can provide these millennials with life skills and guidance to jump start their internships and careers today resonates deeply with us

Our clients’ work to give back – it is so meaningful to hear how service experiences impact our students, motivating them to do more; including guiding them to start their own initiatives or finding ways to continue their summer service experience when they return home

So if your year-end includes giving back to pay it forward, please consider gifting a camp or summer experience to a child or teen in need. Some organizations we cite above are causes we believe in and hope you might, too!

Thankful Tips (Thanksgiving and Beyond)

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is upon us. Maybe because my birthday always surrounds the day, maybe because it’s so festive, maybe because it’s about family, sharing, giving. Perhaps all. It makes us realize how truly fortunate we are for who we are and those in our lives, and hopefully good health.

For those in our lives, I mean family, friends and colleagues. For us, so many of these connections are tied to summer. I know I have had the immense good fortune to become close with clients, industry colleagues and professionals with whom I work. Without Everything Summer, I would never have befriended them.

One could say the same about their own personal stories surrounding summer. One set of camp directors shares why parents have camp thankfulness, and another camp organization shares a Camp Thanksgiving story. Both so true and meaningful.

We also know that times together with family can be stressful. Some are at a loss of what to discuss. Should they veer away from certain topics? How can you be politically correct? Well one New York Times writer, Ron Lieber, has some great tips on conversation starters.

One part of Thanksgiving clearly should be a year long tradition, in my books; and that is giving back. My mother volunteered at children’s hospitals; my husband and I ran our town’s educational foundation and annual runs for education; today I sit on the board of Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education. This work is so fulfilling.

In raising our kids today, we want them to learn (from us and others) to make helping others an organic part of their lives, that stays with them. So discuss areas of human concern that seem to resonate with them and brainstorm this Thanksgiving on ways they can personalize this and continually help others in these areas. Then plan to take a look back next Thanksgiving and discuss the progress they made.

For now, we want to thank all those who have put their trust in us to help their children and teens and young adults discover who they are and their passions, as well as gain confidence and life skills. Knowing we are helping make a difference in their lives is your gift to us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ten Themes Everyone Should Live By

We couldn’t help but notice the parallels of 10 Things That Likable People Do Consistently to Thanksgiving, which is soon upon us. No, we’re not talking about stuffing and football, but random acts of kindness and feeling thankful. Happiness is contagious!

This time of year naturally brings together reunions with summer friends and extended family members. It’s important to make positive impressions with those you haven’t seen in a while. Be sure to ask how they’re doing, how you might help them; rather than start with a challenge you are experiencing. Parents, students, friends, and teens alike can all find ways to change their daily routine with these 10 likable traits:

1. Listen without interrupting
2. Smile without smirking
3. Speak without dictating
4. Give without receiving
5. Enjoy without complaining
6. Trust without wavering
7. Promise without forgetting
8. Forgive without punishing
9. Be honest without deceiving
10. Be positive without reservation

We challenge you (no ice buckets this time) to slowly implement each of these likable traits to your daily routine. See how your family members, co-workers and peers respond back. We predict that your patience and generosity will spread. Stay true to your promises. Speak as an equal. Listen more intently. Smile widely.

You might be surprised how quickly you’ll see a change; and how much happier you will be.

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