On Becoming a Growth Mindset Master at Camp

Thriving Thursday: On Becoming a Growth Mindset Master at Camp

By Guest Blogger Virginia (Mom Bear) Bourdeau, State 4-H Camping Specialist

You can teach an old Mom Bear new tricks!  But only if she has a Growth Mindset!

When Mary Arnold introduced us to the Thriving Model one of the lessons was on Growth Mindsets.  People who have a growth mindset believe they can get better at things by working hard and putting in effort.  This theory excited me because it validated antidotal experiences I had as a 4-H parent, volunteer leader, and educator.  If you didn’t participate in Mary’s training series, or need a refresher, see Carol Dweck in this YouTube video.

Project-based 4-H experiences encourage youth to do their best when they exhibit their work at fair.  Some times their efforts don’t quite meet the standard 4-H has set for excellence, and they receive a red ribbon.  A red ribbon means “not yet.”  They can try again for a blue ribbon in the future, and this encourages a Growth Mindset.  Unlike school where youth receive a grade and move on to the next lesson, 4-H challenges youth to become better. In fact, it is in our 4-H Motto: To Make the Best Better!

4-H Camp is the perfect place to practice having a Growth Mindset.  That is why one of the first lessons I developed for the new 4-H Camp Counselor and Staff Training (CCAST) program, a series of on-line training modules, was on helping camp leaders become Growth Mindset Masters.

Counselors have an excellent opportunity to teach campers how to learn, grow and get better through effort with the many skill and life challenges at camp.  When a camper says, “I can’t hit the bullseye.” the counselor can reply, “You can’t hit the bullseye yet!  Tomorrow we will practice some more.”  Camp leaders can help youth understand the value of putting in effort.

By participating in the on-line module, and the face-to-face follow up activity all your staff will be introduced to many ways they can be Growth Mindset Masters!  The follow up activities for this module include a PowerPoint developed by Woody Davis and a lesson from ACA’s Camping Magazine, You are what you think. Growth mindsets at Camp.

If you haven’t delved into the CCAST program yet, I hope you will soon.  The ten (and growing) on-line Articulate Storyline modules serve as a topic introduction, and help increase the number of contact hours we have with our camp counselors and staff.  4-H Educators in Oregon can access the CCAST Modules directly. Others are welcome to use the models as well, please just send me an email for access: virginia.bourdeau@oregonstate.edu.

The modules, however, are not intended to stand alone.  They are to be followed by a face-to-face session that allows the 4-H educator or camp director to put their own “spin” on the topic to fit their camp’s culture and needs.   The face-to-face lessons and handouts are in an OSU Box file.  Contact me if you need access.  If you develop PowerPoint presentations or other resources as you use these modules please send them to me to add to our Box CCAST file.

Happy Camping! Mom Bear

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