The Valley Will Speak, If You Listen!

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Devotions are great to use with your staff and participants so they have a chance to slow down and reflect. They are good for you too! Especially if you are leading people, you need to be fed too. One of my old staff happened to call me out of the blue. I have loved catching up with people during this time and always enjoy talking. Sorry, not sorry! They are trying to figure out some things and needed some advice. Many of us during this crazy time have hit every emotion possible. I have good days and I have bad days too. It’s ok to have an off day or days. I have said this many times to myself, because I know personally I try to think I can solve or figure out a solution instead of just trusting myself. No one has all the answers or makes the perfect decision every time.

Ironically I recently came across this devotion right before talking to my friend and helped guide our conversation. This message is for all my job seekers or anyone feeling like they could be stuck or not sure what they want to do next. This is not my devotion, and apologies as I can’t remember where this is from, and may not do it full justice. I just wrote it down in my folder and incorporated some of my thoughts too…

I was rejected for an internal position I applied for even though I was the top candidate. I later learned the person hired was a friend of my boss. I got tired of the office politics and started applying to other companies, and within 3 moths I got a much better job. My old boss asked me to come back for the same promotion. I told him “thanks but no thanks.”

Lessons learned:

  1. You can be the best candidate and still not get selected.
  2. If you didn’t get the job, it was never meant for you.
  3. You weren’t rejected, you were redirected.
  4. .Your value does not decrease based upon someone’s inability to see your worth.
  5. Believe in yourself and keep trying, the right door will open for you.

The key to this devotion for me is that you need to believe in yourself. That is easier said than done, and skeptics may see I have been looking for years, not three months. That’s the problem, you are not living into your story and have lost focus. Everyone is different, and the more you compare the more lost you will be. I have been in situations where I was devastated that I didn’t get a position or job that I have wanted. I have also been in situations that I thought this was the PERFECT place for me, but it didn’t work out. The key to my failures and future failures are that I have pushed myself to listen when I am in the valley. That’s the spot where adversity is, and nothing seems to go right. I used to dismiss the valley, blamed others, and closed myself off. That’s easy to do. It is also easy to stay comfortable and do what is easy instead of focusing on what you may need to improve. F.A.I.L. (First Attempt In Learning), love this acronym. It’s ok to try new things or push yourself! If you don’ t try, then you will never know what could have happened. The peak of the mountain is fun. You are on top of the world, but success is never permanent. What you learn when things don’t go your way will be vital to your trip back to the mountain top. Good luck to all the 2020 graduates and job seekers!

I will post this devotion in the Resource Zone, feel free to steal, add, share. That’s why my website is here!

Dear Summer Camp Leaders, I Am Proud Of You…

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I write this post with a heavy heart. To our Summer Camp leaders, I am proud of you. This is an extremely tough time personally and professionally for all of us. We have our own families, friends, and loved ones we are taking care of. Many of you may have already been serving essential workers and their families and have experience serving kids during COVID-19. Yet, you are still moving forward each day looking for ways to inspire and lead your team. You are planning new virtual staff trainings and thinking of ways to modify your programming so you can safely connect with your staff and kids to serve your community. Camp staff are creatures of habit, and it is hard to think or be wired differently when you have done this Summer after Summer. As Camp Leaders, we have our systems, and we run with it. This isn’t the case this Summer. We have guidelines and protocols to follow, but honestly we are all entering uncharted territory. So are the kids you are serving. They don’t know how to social distance and you will be role modeling this each and everyday. Don’t underestimate the power of that. These kids will be getting ready to go back to school, and you have the unique opportunity to get them ready for school and public places. I never even said social distancing until 2 months ago, so we as adults are also learning and teaching each week as you receive new campers or staff. You will be cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning. This will show your participants and community that you are keeping your programs as safe as possible. Thank you for being a servant leader. At camp, we get close to each other, that’s what we have always done. We pack in for fun assemblies to see that counselor get pied in the face, we dance and scream to Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, and we high five each other and side hug. You will create these moments in smaller spaces, but you still create the moments. That is critical! You will come up with ideas this Summer, that will be better than Summer 2019 or any Summer you have worked. Innovation and creativity is always happening. The world has changed, but you know that these kids need you now more than ever, and Summer Camp will always be important to the social and emotional well being of the participants you serve.

This will be my first time in my career part time and full time (1999) that I will miss either leading camp training or being a participant. THAT SUCKS. This Summer, you will miss seeing that staff member learn that new song or game, or when that staff member’s face lights up because they tried something new like public speaking in front of a large group. THAT SUCKS. You will miss gathering your leadership staff and doing team building and having that important time to connect face to face. THAT SUCKS. It is OK to feel angry or frustrated with what is happening or that Summer 2020 staff training isn’t the same. Share that with your staff, let them know you are human and build that trust with one another. Let them know that you also can’t live in that emotion either. This Summer is different but you are still going to have fun! You will persevere and move forward. These staff and kids you serve are looking to you for guidance. This new adversity will develop you into an even stronger leader and teammate to your staff. You can bring the positive change. We always tell our staff that we don’t do this for the paycheck, and this is even more true today. You are here to build relationships and make camp a safe and welcoming place for all. What a mission and task! You are truly making this world a better place. There are not many jobs that give you this genuine opportunity or develop real job and life skills like this one. Go make this the best Summer ever! Thank you for your service to these staff and kids and your community thanks you too! Job well done,

Penalty Box – Great Exercise For Youth Programs!

Penalty Box with Chris Hill Professional Soccer Player - YouTube

Penalty Box is a great exercise product that can get your kids and staff active inside your program. It’s versatile and easy to move and store. This is perfect to keep kids and staff at appropriate distance from each other. I also love that you can do various exercises and will help keep your participants/campers motivated. Penalty Box Training would be utilized for clinics or an activity that participants/campers can choose on their own. I utilize clinics or choices programming for kids that are looking for something specific to do during camp or after school program time. Kids need some variety and a chance to make decisions during their day. We have done Fitness clinics before, and this would be an ideal exercise program to add to create a new buzz. I utilize clinics at camp or after school 2-3 times a week for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. We change these up every 3-4 weeks to give a variety of programming. So what is Penalty Box exactly?

Penalty Box® is a complete body workout program with over 119 Exercises based around a patented fitness product that is an agility grid and hurdle all in one. The Penalty Box® uses four squares to take the place of an agility ladder and easily folds into a hurdle and stores away in the shape of an L. Every person gets their own Penalty Box® and goes at their own pace instead of a regular agility ladder where you would stand in a line and each person would go one at a time. With Penalty Box® everyone is working at their own skill level. It can be the hardest or easiest workout in the world, depending on YOU.

You can order this product on their website currently for $27.95 and it is available on Amazon and other retailers. You can order a set of 12 for $169.00 and they have sets of 24 and 50 as well. If you are on a tight budget like most of us are, start small, and do a set. Keep adding on as you need. These are easy to sanitize and clean once the camper/participant is done too.

Check out my website and see other awesome ideas in the Resource Zone to make your program 1 percent better!

Hoo-rags And A Neil Pasricha Devotion!

Shark Face Mask | Sun Protection by Hoo-rag

Hoo-rags? What is a Hoo-rag? Even before COVID-19 started, Hoo-rag was founded in 2012 by outdoor enthusiasts. Hoo-rag has become a leader in revolutionary headwear. Their products are tested by them. Whether you are on the water, in the field or on the trail, you can rock the Hoo-rag over 10 ways. From a facemask to a headband, the Hoo-rag will have you headed for adventure! Join our team of Hooligans and rock the rag today! Check them out at hoorag.com to learn more. A great product you can order in bulk for your staff team, campers, or personal use.

I have mentioned Neil Pasricha on my website a few times, I love his books. I wanted to share with you a cool devotion you can share with your staff, campers, colleagues, or a friend. If you haven’t had a chance to read “You Are Awesome”, check it out on Amazon. for $11.20. If you have this book, go to page 142 in Secret #5, The name of this devotion is Moving Through Failures Is The Real Success”. Read this section at the bottom of page 142 with your team and some parts of this chapter. One of my favorite quotes “One thing I know is we need to stop looking at successful people as if we’re looking at products of success. At success after success. Because you know what we’re really looking at? People who are just really good at moving through failures.” We are going through a time right now where this is so much unknown, that you can expect for many failures to come. It is how you navigate through this, and adapt to the changes. I have included this devotion in the Resource Zone with some questions to ask your team, campers, etc. I have included tons of contests, songs, devotions, programming on my website to make your program 1 percent better.

Take it day by day. This has been my motto. Nothing fancy, and I even have a hard time following my own advice as I want to have a plan in front of me for the next few months. Stay safe and thanks for following my website. Share with colleagues, friends, and others. Always here to help be a resource!

Social Distancing Game Ideas During COVID-19

I continue to be impressed with ideas I am finding around game ideas during COVID-19. Many of the games I have mentioned in previous posts are just modifications on old games/classics. This pandemic doesn’t have to shut down all the games or ideas you have done before. You don’t have to lose everything, you just have to make some modifications and do your best to continue to think of some creative ways to have fun. I am making this sound a little easier than it is but, we have to be optimistic, the kids are relying on us to keep them having fun. I challenge everyone that is reading this to share ideas with each other. Many of these games I am sharing today, are from other colleagues all across the United States. So here are a few of the games to share, the full description is listed in the Resource Zone. I have made a new category called Social Distancing Games/Mods. Here is the direct link to give you access to the games below and more. https://wordpress.com/block-editor/page/youthprogramfire.com/146

  1. Apples, Bananas, Carrots: Kids line up and race to the specific spots on the field or court. If they are last, they must name a new fruit or vegetable. You can change rules and objects throughout the game.

2. Battleship : Kids must knock over the other team’s battleship on their side of the gym, field, or playing space.

3. Captain Is Coming: Simon Says with some adventure. Kids will act out and work together to stay on the boat, etc…

4. .Electricity: Old School classic. Kids sit 6 feet apart, and first team to make electricity wins.

5.. End Zone: Team Building. Team wins win they all catch a pass!

6. Frantic: The last team that has a ball in motion wins. Good game to develop soccer skills.

7. Glow In The Dark Bowling: Kids will put glow sticks in water bottles, and go bowling in the dark!

8. Heads and Tails Tag: Flip a coin and the first one back without getting tagged by the pool noodle wins.

9. Here and There: The goal of the game is to make it to the front of the line and stay there the longest.

10. Life Sized Angry Birds: Find some old cardboard boxes, containers. Kids will use different colored playground or gator balls to throw at the targets. Most points wins. You can use a sling shot to propel the balls towards target too.

11. Minefield: The blindfolded person must be guided by their partner located 6 ft away to get through the course without stepping on “mines”.

12. Olympic Speed Walking Duck Race: Who can walk like a duck the fastest to the other side of the room/field.

13. Poison Ball: Teams work to see how they can knock the “poison ball” into the other teams square. Whoever scores the most points wins.

14. Rainy Day Camp Records: Keeping a balloon in the air, standing on one foot, highest tower built, etc..

15. Spud: The child that hits the person below the waist the most times, and earns the most points, wins the game.

16. Ticking Time Bomb: Like categories. If you catch the ball you must name something within the category.

17. What If: One person writes question with “What if…” then balls it up. Person writes their response on the other side.

18. Whiz Tag: Kids get numbers, pool noodles, and the player with the highest number at the end of of the game wins.

19. Word Toss: The first team to gather all of their letters and solve the puzzle wins.

20. Viper Tag: Pool noodles, tag, and a little more!

As you can see, a huge trend is pool noodles and tag. Definitely go buy some pool noodles now, they are the new hand for tag haha! I hope you enjoyed these game ideas, please check them out in the Resource Zone. It will give you equipment needed, some questions to ask the group, and how to have fun with this! Stay safe everyone!

Growga!

Growga - Home | Facebook

Need something new to do during these stressful times? There is an awesome company called Growga http://mygrowga.com that has great activities for your child or you as an adult. So, what is Growga? Anyone has the ability to be mindful. Through evidence-based techniques and engaging programming, their mission is to make mindfulness accessible to all. Growga supports the whole journey. They work with children ages 2-18 and their families, as well as adults in the workplace. Their vision is to meet people where they are and offer them skills to connect deeper with themselves and others. The CEO is Emily Behr and her mission for Growga is to recruit and train yoga teachers, arm them with curriculum, and place them into teaching positions by partnering with businesses, organizations, and schools that are seeking unique, all-ages yoga programming. The Growga Kids program includes three components: social emotional learning, yoga, and mindfulness. Through evidence-based techniques, they create engaging, age-appropriate classes that give children the skills needed to cope with stresses of life, as well as foster leadership, teamwork, resiliency, and self-love. You can bring Growga kids to your organization or school Growga in the workplace offers yoga and mindfulness programming for employees and educators. You can bring Growga to your workplace!

So if you are feeling worn out or need something to do at home? Try their online classes! They even have a blog that has exercises and things for you to try. You can find this at http://mygrowga.com/blog. Growga is based out of Raleigh, NC, but has offerings all over NC and in Charleston, SC.

I will add Growga to my list of Vendors on my website. I have tons of ideas and things for you and your family to try. Check them out and stay safe everyone!

Social Distancing Top 5 Games…Jedi Tag!

As we begin to understand and figure out plans to work with kids while maintaining social distance, you may be struggling to think about some ideas. I am here to help and provide you with my top 5 that I have done or seen to keep you prepared during this odd time. These ideas may not be mind blowing, and you may have done these before. With this new way of thinking, keep in mind, it can change the way we offer, but doesn’t change it completely. Kids just want your attention and time. If we can continue to provide options, stay creative, and have fun, we can get through this time together.

My Top 5, at the moment haha….

  1. Jedi Tag – You will need 2-3 light sabers. If you don’t have a light saber, you can use pool noodles. Tell the kids when they have their light saber or pool noodle, they must “Use The Force!” to take down everyone. On one side of the field or gym, have the kids line up. In the middle will be your Jedi, and they can’t leave the circle or middle of the space until you say go. Once you say go, the kids must run from one side to the other without being tagged by the light saber or pool noodle. If they get tagged, they must sit down in that spot. New game continues when all the kids are tagged. If you want to speed the game up, you can have the last 2-3 standing, just switch places in the middle. After playing you can sanitize the light saber or pool noodle.
  2. Peg Art – Yes, Peg Art. A YMCA classic. Give kids peg beads in their own bowl, keep the kids appropriate distance apart, and let them create. Once they are done. Have them drop off at a table. Then the staff can iron the beads. You can then sanitize the peg art board, and the beads that don’t get used, you can throw away. Make the bowls small, and if you need to add more, you can as the staff member to save peg art beads.
  3. Balloon Balance – Blow up a ton of balloons. Have the kids start together. Spread them out on a field or gym, they must keep their balloon up in their space. if they go out of their space, they are out. Whoever makes is the longest wins. Simple and easy fun.
  4. Archery – Get your archery targets out. Space out the kids, and you can sanitize the arrows and bow after each use. Great way to have them compete against one another safely.
  5. Mission Impossible – Another tag game with pool noodles. Put on one side of the field or gym, three hula hoops and three jenga blocks in each hula hoop. On the other side of the gym or field, set up cones to show the starting line and have a plastic clothes basket on that side for the kids to drop the jenga block in. Kids must run and get jenga blocks from the hula hoop without being tagged by the pool noodle and move the jenga block by themselves to the basket on their side of the gym/field. The game is over when all the jenga blocks are gone. If someone gets tagged with the jenga block, the game leader can put a new jenga block in to replace it. The old jenga block gets dropped in bucket to be sanitized.

Feel free to steal and share ideas off my website. Some can be modified for the times we are in right now! One of my favorite quotes is “You can’t change the wind, but you can adjust your sails.” This is my encouragement to you as you start to run out of ideas or energy. One day at a time. My website is here to help you make your program 1 percent better, or just encourage you as a leader. Thanks for all you do for these kids and families.