Families enrolled at Brant Lake Camp will find this section helpful to prepare for the summer.
Your CampInTouch account is home to all required Forms and Mailings, Family Contact Information and One-Way Camper Email. All Brant Lake Families have been assigned a personal account. Passwords are easily set upon your initial login.
The BLC Blog
Dr. Harold Koplewicz, President of the Child Mind Institute, sent his three boys to Brant Lake Camp and has been a willing and generous advisor and sounding board to me over many years.
Reading his new book, The Scaffold Effect: Raising Resilient, Self-Reliant, and Secure Kids in an Age of Anxiety, reinforced the deep-seated confidence I already had about how beneficial camp is to the growth of children. Below are messages, advice, paraphrases and quotes that I gleaned from the book. Many of the suggestions in the book can easily be fostered by a top-quality sleepaway camp experience. Some of these, I think, are uniquely and especially addressed at Brant Lake Camp. – Richard B. Gersten
The job of a parent is to raise children who can eventually stand up on their own and be healthy and productive, “grow into adults who can function in the world, live independently, seek out their own happiness and know what they are good at.”
Parenting is a hard job- It’s okay to get a break by sending your child to something like sleepaway camp.
Negative tracking (only noticing what is wrong) and confirmation bias (believing you are always right) are harmful.
- Shoot for a 3:1 ratio of appreciation to criticism
- Be kind to Be Kind
Magic of Positive Reinforcement
- Meaningful praise is emotional sustenance for kids
- Specific language is better than general
- Praise behavior not accomplishment
- Every time a child demonstrates perseverance, expressiveness, compromise, hard work, notice it
- Criticism should be like a gentle nudge
- Catch your child being good
Use language they understand
Use a consistent tone
Ask about their interests
Give to Get
Praise the good
Active ignoring (“choose your battles”)
Recruit kids into conversation by appealing to their interests- something they feel confident about, best of all, something they feel smarter than you about.
Laughter is a medicine; smiling does make you feel slightly happier.
Never tease your child
If you want to raise future independent, competent adults who aren’t afraid to take on challenges, DO less for them as children. Support them with instruction, encourage them to try, but allow them to fail and then guide them to look at what happened so they don’t repeat mistakes
“You can’t put a Band-Aid on a social rejection or a failure experience. There is no instant fix when a twelve-year-old is suddenly cast out of her friend group… You can’t protect a child from the trials of life. But you can give your kid armor by teaching him to advocate for himself, and thereby develop the grit he needs to survive and succeed.”
THE GROWTH ZONE
- Maximal learning and growth happen in the area just outside the Comfort Zone, when the child is reaching and stretching to acquire new skills … just beyond their curingrent capacity, not too far from where they already are –> inspires kids to become independent problem solvers and self-motivated learners.
- It is important to understand that process- how we scaffold a child to work hard, be kind and compassionate, express himself- is more important than outcome.
Hovering within reach of our kids to help them when they face the slightest hurdle,
“helicopter parenting, concierge parenting, snowplow parenting- indicate a parent’s fear of failure and rejection for their child”–> Doing so is “swooping in” as opposed to SCAFFOLDING
“Playing the same game with the same coach and the same team was stifling her and blocking potential growth that might be found elsewhere”
“The greatest risk to an overprotected child is not a bruised elbow. It’s holding back her social and emotional development…”
- Brain is wired to seek out what’s new, what’s different
- Be consistent
- Consequences don’t have to hurt to work
- “What’s really going on when a teen slacks off is just developmentally appropriate, typical testing behavior”
- ‘You scaffold by rewarding good behavior and correcting bad behavior”
- An under 25 year old’s brain is not developed enough to make executive decisions and be appreciative of the consequences of their actions.
Dear BLC Family and Friends,
As most of you know, my Dad, Bobby G, passed away on October 18th at 99 years old, after spending his 95th summer at Brant Lake Camp. We cannot imagine there is any other person who spent 95 summers at the same camp, and the impact that he had on THOUSANDS was truly extraordinary. On Monday night, November 18th, 1,000+ people came to a Celebration of the Life of Bobby Gersten at Mason Hall Theater in NYC. We are so thankful for those of you who were able to join us and help in celebrating my father’s remarkable life. For those of you who were unable to be there, below you can find both a full video of the event, as well as the 12-minute video made by my wife (Bobby’s daughter-in-law), Mieks Gersten, that was shown at the end of the event.
In about a month, Bobby Gersten, known fondly as Bobby G, will make his annual summer move to Brant Lake, NY, more specifically to Brant Lake Camp. Bobby first attended Brant Lake Camp as a 6 year old in 1927. Having missed two summers due to military service during World War II, the summer of 2019 will be Bobby’s 91st at Brant Lake Camp!
While now a Director Emeritus, Bobby still makes it to camp each day circulating the grounds in a golf cart (now driven by a driver), shouting encouragement, making corrections and telling stories. Not too many years removed from teaching tennis, Bobby still kicks off the weekly variety shows by singing a song from his repertoire that campers scream for. In recent years, he shares the song (“Nutsy Fagen”) with his grandson, Max, a 4th generation director of Brant Lake Camp from the Gerstenzang/Gersten lineage (Bobby is 2nd generation, his son, Richard is 3rd).
- Herald Sun – At 97 years old, UNC’s oldest-living b-baller says Silent Sam should go
- Tar Heel Times – Bobby Gersten dribbling, dunking and dancing in the Dean Dome
- Men’s Health – He Knows the Secret to Living 94 Years
- The News & Observer – 94-year-old’s exercise regimen stands the test of time
What has been Bobby’s secret? Probably maintaining an indefatigable zest for life. His motto has been that, no matter how busy, one should PLAY every day.
Exercise is an acceptable alternative, but clearly secondary to PLAYING.
As many of us in the USA head to camp soon, we doubt that many, if any, will be doing so for their 91st summer. But Bobby G will be…at Brant Lake Camp!