On March 28th, Stephen spoke to camp professionals at the annual American Camp Associaton – New England conference. He discussed youth decision-making and how “natural” mentors – a person not assigned by a formal mentoring program, such as camp counselors – can have a powerful impact on an adolescent’s social and emotional health, safety, and well-being.
Suggestions were also made about how camp counselors can best help young people make good choices.
There are a whole host of opportunities for camp counselors to influence teenagers outside of formal or planned mentoring programs. This presentation was a motivational “call to action.” Camp counselors who make extra efforts to connect with teenagers can have a profound impact on guiding our nation’s youth.
Stephen used research, anecdotes and case studies to explore the nuances of effective mentoring and to promote such opportunities for youth. The skills necessary to become a successful mentor were addressed and participants were provided with strategies and tips they can employ to advance healthy youth development in their camp environments. He also offered tips for addressing parental concerns about safety issues.