Three Ingredient Happiness Recipe

I went to hear a speaker last month who shared her thoughts on kids’ happiness and her belief that summer camp is an incubator for all three main components – confidence, competence, and relationships. All come as pleasant little by-products when kids are encouraged to be aspirational, when they learn something new, and when they are surrounded by a team they can count on.

So how do kids get there? How do they get to their happy place?

Maybe by making pond nets from milk cartons and coat hangers or by flipping crepes alongside a real chef in his kitchen. Perhaps they climb things that once looked too high or they taste things that are green or they build a game that really works. Maybe they find out they’re good at making new friends or answering questions about themselves.

Whatever the details, they are encouraged to go where they’ve never been and get there on their own two feet. Yes, with other feet beside them and with encouragement. The important thing is there’s no prize for just showing up – you have to earn your own growth. The research by this speaker and others is clear, camp is an excellent vehicle to get kids on the road to being in charge of their own happiness.