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Your Everything Summer Reading Guide

There’s no season that is associated more with reading than summer. School’s out, families go on vacation, and there’s no better way to spend a gorgeous Sunday afternoon outside, getting lost in a great book (kids, teens and adults!). The Everything Summer team researched their top summer book recommendations ranging from genres in parenting to comedy. We just can’t wait for some of these books to come onto the shelf (or online to download)! Our summer 2015 recommendations are a mix of thrilling, light, thought provoking, funny and helpful books.

1) Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat — Geared towards young adults, though older readers could enjoy this novel too! Protagonist Ivy is forced to move to a low income neighborhood due to tough family financial times. She realizes not everyone, or everything, is as bad as it may seem. Release date June 16, 2016.

2) Circus Mirandus by Deckle Edge — Micah Tuttle believes in magic. He believes in all of the stories told by his grandfather to be true at Circus Mirandus. We recommend this book to our youngest readers, and hope they bring it with them to camp this summer! Release date June 2, 2015.

3) Finders Keepers by Stephen King — King’s latest thriller depicts a crazed reader whose obsession towards their favorite author goes too far. This blood boiling novel is sure to be a page turner. Release date June 2, 2015.

4) Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee — You know her as the one who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird. Go Set a Watchman takes place is the small town of Maycomb where Scout returns home to see her father and struggles with personal and political issues. Release date July 14, 2015.

5) How To Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims — As the former Dean of Students at Stanford University, Julie Lythcott-Haims saw the harms firsthand of overbearing “helicopter” parents and how it affected her students. This book explains an alternative philosophy for raising kids and preteens. Release date June 9, 2015.

6) In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume — Like Harper Lee, this noteworthy author is releasing her first novel in the 21st century after timeless bestsellers beforehand. Blume portrays the grieving town of Elizabeth, New Jersey as they grapple with an unfortunate plane crash. Release date June 2, 2015.

7) Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid — For our YA readers, characters Dave and Julia create a pack to never be cliché high school students, they even write them down. Some clichés become easier to avoid than others. This isn’t your Mean Girls Burn Book, but Dave and Julia realize that by ostracizing themselves from the clichés of high school they’ve ruined their experiences. Release date August 4, 2015.

8) Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow — What could be the most anticipated book of the summer from the Everything Summer Team, Apatow is rumored to tell a collection of interviews from comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Roseanne Barr, Harold Ramis, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Lena Dunham. Release date June 16, 2015. P.S. The Everything Summer team will see Judd speak live about his book and get it signed in person!

Do you have other top summer books for the season? If yes, we’d love to hear about them.


Running With Camp Friends

Guest Blogger, Rikki, Everything Summer Intern, Camp Lifer & Millennial

I attended camp for ten years. For those who were fortunate enough to have some of the most important and meaningful summer experiences like I was, know how difficult to put into words something that means so much. In short, it was (and still is) my home away from home.

At camp I learned the meaning of independence, courage and true friendship. I say with confidence, I met some of my best friends at camp, and I know they are always there for me, regardless of the decisions I make. So, when I decided to check an item off my bucket list – run a half marathon – I knew I would have their support.

Initially I signed up on my own, not knowing who was running or what to expect. I was nervous, but determined to accomplish this goal, even if it meant running on my own. However, I quickly discovered that many people I attended camp with also decided to run. Some had run a half marathon before, and others, like myself were first-timers but we joined forces and created a plan to train together. Though we were all different ages, we easily meshed and worked together toward a common goal.

We would train together on weekends and discuss what to expect on race day. Each of us ran at different paces, which was okay because we planned to meet at the end, which was so helpful. I may have been running independently, but I definitely wasn’t running alone. Knowing I had camp friends there to support me made the long run in the rain seem so much easier.

Then as if I wasn’t already overwhelmed with support, some of my closest friends who didn’t run in the race surprised me at the finish line. At 9am on Saturday morning, the day they should be sleeping in, there they were, holding neon signs with hilarious slogans and cheering me on at the finish line. The love and support from my camp friends was overwhelming. After many (sweaty) hugs and what seemed like a million pictures, runners and supporters decided to celebrate together. Even though we weren’t at camp, it was like nothing had changed or time had passed. Camp, made me stronger; both physically, and mentally to develop into the person I am today.

To me, it’s clear that running this half marathon proved that camp still has this positive effect on me; I am pushed to be better, do more and grow into someone I want to be. Camp gave me a family and home that doesn’t necessarily need to be on camp grounds, and I am forever thankful for that.


Summer Camp Friendships Get You Through Life

While we love to associate the power of camp friendships with lifelong happy memories and rites of passage, one we do not often discuss is their ability to deal with bereavement.

Recently I experienced how nearly 20 year camp friendships got a dear young adult woman through one of life’s toughest moments, losing a parent with decades left of life to live. At the funeral and grief events, camp friends from near and far gathered to console their good friend. Their favorite camp counselor even sent a most touching note and flowers. While each of these lovely young women live their lives apart, the extraordinary bond that connects them is what they count on to get them through life’s highs and lows. Words cannot express what I saw and felt.

Beyond friendships, this young woman began her eulogy with the letters her parent wrote to her that very first summer of sleepaway camp. While the message was more about her parent’s altruistic character, an underdog champion, the fact that her memory of this was so vividly ingrained in her memory with camp was quite poignant.

When we share with parents the unbreakable bond of summer camp friendships, and why going to sleepaway camp should be a rite of passage for children, nothing speaks louder than actions.

We wish for every child the strength of summer camp friendships.


Hillary Goes to Camp

Each year we gather in Atlantic City for the camp industry’s biggest American Camp Association conference for camp professionals, often speaking. This year, actually last week, the closing keynote speaker was Hillary (yes, like Oprah and Ellen, she is a single name recognized by the world). But just to be sure, we mean Hillary Rodham Clinton.

No matter which side your government preference, everyone related to Hillary’s commentary. She was quite personable and animated; which engaged the audience. So much of what she shared resonated, but what was so valuable – as we say as camp industry insiders – is she ‘gets camp!’

She shared Chelsea’s very early age request to go to sleepaway camp to study German (Hillary was able to push this off to a more typical camp age, 8 years old). Her bout with ‘camp sickness,’ missing Chelsea dearly while she was away. Hillary’s own upbringing by her mother who had a tough childhood, which really defined resilience to Hillary – experiential just like camp works at building and teaching resilience.

Here’s our top shareable nuggets from her warm and inspiring talk:
This country has a ‘fun deficit’ – yup, she is right. Who gives themselves the time to have fun? Think about it. Well, we know camp makes this a critical part of everyone’s day – and this creates lifetime memories
We need camps for adults – well camps have these – family camps, special organizations that rent out camps to offer particular audiences niche experiences (think millennials), even year round camps turned just to adults and school outings, etc. Some camps also do team building for corporations. Hillary alluded to an adult camp where republicans and democrats could come together in red and blue cabins to solve real problems. Her point – Washington leaders do not spend enough time in camp – love this!
Every child needs enrichment – she cited University of Chicago economist James Heckman whose research shows the greatest ROI is in pre-school (now China hired him as a consultant)
Keep an eye on the present for kids to be successful – and look at the environment for future generations
Need good leaders and citizens – isn’t this what our kids learn in camp, and from their role models there?
Camps are the building blocks of life– every child should have opportunities. Camp is a safe haven, allows kids to get back to basics, to learn what is really important. All families really want is to build a better life for their them and their kids
Hillary’s ideal day at camp would be…. Hiking, swimming, learning about the environment; being in a beautiful outdoors setting – she loves the outdoors
Helicopter parenting: parents worry most about what won’t happen. Most kids need space to test themselves. Social media/cyber bullying is serious. Wishes there were a better way to frame issues. Parents do not do their children a favor by cushioning them from everything that they will experience; they need to experience things on their own so they will learn how to stand up for themselves
Outstanding leadership: her most inspiring leader is Nelson Mandela. You can’t let other people imprison you; look for the best in people in unusual places. Impressive people survive natural and personal disasters, as well as wars, and come out with joy and gratitude
Create opportunities for people to spend time together – well she meant political leaders, but we also think this applies to families and kids – so please go to camp!
Camp’s greatest lessons: teaching tolerance, sharing, respect, resilience
Hillary’s favorite books (in case you are curious): good mysteries by women, American history
Does Hillary binge watch serial shows? Yes, she is just like one of us. She’s a bit behind in Homeland, and enjoys House of Cards (‘’great acting, but the stories are unrealistic”). We even learned of a new one, Borgen, a Danish political drama about the first female Prime Minister of Denmark (well, that is realistic, according to Hillary)
Hillary-isms (with her wise mother’s influences):
“Most important character traits are love and kindness”
“You can be a lead actor in your own life, OR a bit player reacting to your life – you make the daily choice”
“Discipline of Gratitude” – start and end your day with this

And the close to the keynote, a gift of a unique sweatshirt to Hillary – ‘Camp David.’

Well, off and running she goes…hope Hillary can make some stops at real camps in the near future.


The Diary: Public or Private?

Once the safest place to stow your secrets, now a mine of stories to share.
The teenage diary is taking center stage.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, Teenage Diaries – Decades Later – Mortify and Entertain, discusses the new trend of adults reaching back into their adolescence and exposing their diaries. Cities across the country are hosting these evenings. The Los Angeles incarnation is called “Mortified.” You get the point.

Presumably, the readers of their diaries have worked through these years of tumult and have come out the other side: These are adults sharing their teenaged moments of anguish and glories. This is an exercise in reverie.

However, in today’s digital world, sharing in the moment is de rigeur and adults, much less, teenagers cannot possibly understand the consequences of putting their most private selves out there to the worldwide web. Worldwide is a concept adults can barely grasp, to say nothing of a teenager.

In a world of selfies, and blogging, and Instagram, and Snapchat, and tumblr, and texting, sharing is a phenomenon. People actually believe that photos of their food, their new shoes, their best friend’s sister’s pug puppy, ad nauseum is interesting to others, so how can they learn to draw the line?

One guideline for texting is asking “Would I care if everyone I know reads/sees this?” Teaching your tween that whatever they send out into the social universe will live there forever is another guideline. Think about the image you are projecting of yourself: would you want a college recruiter to see that? Tweens and teens are immediate gratification addicts, but, if they can learn to speed bump themselves with their social media, they may save themselves from embarrassment and heartache down the road.

We live in a fast paced world and it is becoming increasingly more challenging to moderate and mediate for our kids. But, we do have those 20/20 hindsight goggles to guide them. We must teach the difference between a public life and a private life. That privacy is important. Even cool. Not everyone needs to know your innermost thoughts. Not everyone is protective of your privacy. Not everyone deserves to know what you feel. Only you can protect your feelings. Write them in a diary for safe keeping.


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