Monthly Archives: September 2013

Karen’s Korner

What Is It You Want?karen-leadership

Halfway through his first summer as a camp counselor, Todd Kestin was asked the question:  What is it you want your campers to have at the end of the summer that they don’t have now?

For Todd, now a Life Skills Mentor and author of a great article on the importance of summer camp (see link below), this question was life-changing. It enabled him to think about helping the kids in his charge reach their goals, and, in the process, become more focused, more invested, more determined and more likely to achieve success.

At camp, we help staff and campers focus on small successes every day: getting on a horse for the first time, learning to hold a lacrosse stick, scoring a goal in ultra-leagues, making one new friend, sleeping in a tent, learning to swing from a rope. Each step toward these goals helps campers overcome fears, teaches patience, and encourages perseverance – all skills a summer at camp can build in every camper.

But what if we ask that question about our everyday lives? What do your kids want to achieve by the end of the school year? What do you want in your life that you don’t have now?  How can you reach that goal in the next few months?

I, for one, hope to take that summer approach to learning into the winter months. Rather than simply expect my kids to excel at school, I plan to take the time to ask: what is you want to have at the of the year that you don’t have now? Focusing on actions you can take now to reach goals can help you and your kids stay more motivated – to study, to write more, to practice their 3-point shot, to learn the A minor scale on the piano, to be a better friend – and hopefully thinking this way will help each of us look at achievement from a different perspective.

My hope is to have the fearlessness, patience and perseverance to encourage my kids to strive for their goals, whatever they may be.

For a great article about why camp matters to your child’s future, CLICK HERE.




From the Mind of OPJ…


Is this blog Quard? Hundo P!        

Where do words come from, anyway?

While much of the English language comes from Latin, Old Norse, Germanic and French influences from well over a thousand years ago, new words have cropped up throughout history. I mean it is not like the Vikings needed the word television, is it?

Any idea where the word Penguin came from? No? Neither did I, but The Oxford Dictionaries tells us that

The name originally applied to the great auk (now extinct) of the seas around Newfoundland in Canada, and may have come from the Welsh pen gwyn, meaning ‘white head’. In the logbook of the Golden Hind… in 1577–80, there is a reference to a ‘(bird), which the Welsh men name Pengwin’ …The sailors on the expedition may have mistaken penguins for great auks (which) resembled a penguin in that it was a large flightless bird with black and white plumage.

So there it is – some guys just decided to name something that they had never seen before, and wouldn’t you know it, the name stuck.

Apparently, back in the 1790s in Ireland, Richard Daly made a bet that in two days he could make a brand new word with no meaning known throughout the city, and that the public would supply a meaning for it. He told his staff to write the word ‘quiz’ on walls around the city. The next day the strange word was the talk of the town, and within a short time it had become part of the language.

There is some doubt as to whether this story is actually true, which only makes it more interesting in a way. What really did happen?

There are examples in sports and entertainment of people succeeding or failing to make new words or phrases ‘happen’. The famous basketball coach, Pat Riley, told the world that his Los Angeles Lakers would go for the ‘threepeat’ in 1989. The Lakers did not in fact win a third championship in a row, but the word has stuck. Gretchen Wieners in the movie Mean Girls famously tries make the word ‘fetch’ become part of the language, but is sharply told by Regina George ‘stop trying to make fetch happen; it’s not going to happen!’

All of which brings us to what has been going on at Camp Schodack over the last year or so!

The massive overuse of the term ‘awkward’ brought about, in my opinion, the need for a new word. Everything was awkward, even the really minor stuff. In fact most of it wasn’t awkward at all, it was, well, quard. Sure, two people reaching for the last slice of pizza at the same time was ‘something’…but, fully awkward? I think not!

And while some may like to say ‘a little awkward’, or even, ‘a bit awkward’ why use 4 or even 5 syllables when a nice, neat quard would do just as well.

The key to quard is time – if a situation looks like it will be over quickly and have no lasting effect, it’s quard, not awkward!

Now, so far, quard hasn’t ventured too far out of middle school soccer in Newton, MA and standard Super Senior and LT usage at Camp Schodack.

But do I hope it spreads further?

Hundo P!

(I imagine right now a bunch of you are thinking, ‘Hundo P? That’s not an expression! What does it even mean?)

But it does exist! It just isn’t widely known yet!

Hundo P is a phrase that Drew Kantor brought from his fraternity house at Emory University. How it started there I don’t know, but Hundo P is an even better bet to catch on than quard. It has a really good ring to it!

Hundo P may be used instead of ‘100 per cent, ‘definitely’, ‘for sure’ or ‘of course’ and is just a whole lot cooler than any of those terms.

Finally, the key with using both quard and Hundo P is to look just a bit surprised that everyone DOESN’T know the words yet. It will probably mean they start using the words themselves!

Next stop Nickelodeon and the Oxford Dictionaries!!