The Adventure Treks Leadership retreat is in full swing. Beginning June 4, Our leadership team gathered in a cabin near Mt. Hood, Oregon next to the Salmon River for 5 days of senior staff and leadership training prior to our full staff orientation which begins on June 10th.
Our 14 Trip Leaders and 4 Regional Directors hail from 11 states, average 29.8 years old and have 128 collective years of Adventure Treks experience (Average 7.3 years of AT experience each). Three of these folks were former Adventure Treks students. This is an incredible group of mentors and role models. They will be training and inspiring our new instructors and overseeing the success of our trips. As an Adventure Treks parent myself, I am thrilled to have these fabulous role models interacting and inspiring my own kids!
Besides building our leadership team community, we are applying leadership theory to Adventure Treks. (This year we did a case study on explorer Ernest Shackleton and how his successful leadership style can apply to leading an Adventure Treks trip.) We are also learning and relearning the specific details of each trip itinerary, and use this time together to all get on the same page regarding safety and the policies and procedures that lead to the most successful experiences for our students. Together, we share tips and tricks that make all of our trips better. We go over the many nuts and bolts which enhance our trips beyond the average as we work towards making every single trip exceptional.
As we prepare for our big group orientation which begins on June 10th, I thought we would share what we have been reading this winter. It’s our job to stay on top of the latest youth development trends and literature so we can make sure that the Adventure Treks program remains relevant to parents. Besides being a ridiculous amount of FUN, we want Adventure Treks to be a tool that helps kids develop the skills, mindset, optimism, confidence, character and resilience that will help them become happier and more capable adults.
Topics from these and other books will be featured in our instructor orientation sessions as we try to facilitate the best possible learning and growing experience for your child. Below are our 2014 suggestions for the best 2014 youth development literature for those who share our obsession for helping teenagers grow:
Harvard Professor, Edward Hallowell gives us a wonderful five step program we can keep in mind as we give our kids a childhood that creates a footprint for them to become happy adults. In the Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Hallowell, promotes childhood as a time to provide opportunities to feel connected to others, to play and be joyful, to practice and attain mastery in numerous activities, to fail and build resilience and to receive recognition. We use Dr Hallowell’s model in our staff training and wrote a BLOG about how his model applies to Adventure Treks. We love this book!
In Mindset, Stanford Researcher, Carol Dweck explains why it’s not just our abilities and talent that bring us success–but whether we approach challenges with a Fixed or a Growth mindset. She makes it clear that praising intelligence and ability isn’t the best way to foster self-efficacy and confidence, and may instead actually jeopardize success. Understanding that the brain is malleable and that we are all works in progress leads to the development of a Growth Mindset. By praising effort and hard work rather than innate talent, we can better motivate our kids to more eagerly approach new challenges with vigor while building resilience in the process. We use Dweck’s book in instructor orientation to make staff aware of ways through our language and leadership, we can encourage our students to develop a mindset focused on continuous growth rather than accepting that our talents and abilities as fixed.
The Author who brought us Mean Girls and Queen Bees and Wanna Bees, Rosalind Wiseman, has now written the definitive book on boys, Masterminds and Wingmen. Using a panel of over 160 boys, Wiseman exposes us to the world of teenage boys and gives us great insight into the lives our boys are experiencing, the rules of boys world and how male teenage power structures work. She introduces the “Act like a Man Box” and the effects attempting to live up to these expectations have on young male behavior. As school and the economy change, we are concerned that boys are falling behind and we hope the culture we create at Adventure Treks will help give our male students enhanced succeed.
One of WSJ’s “most important reads for 2013”, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Child and Family Relationships in the Digital Age, discusses how technology is affecting family relationships and how parents’ involvement with technology at home affects family connections. Renowned clinical psychologist and author, Catherine Steiner-Adair explains that families are now in crisis around this issue. Not only do chronic technology distractions have deep and lasting effects, but children desperately need warm, interactions with the adults in their lives. Drawing on real-life stories from her clinical and consulting work, Steiner-Adair offers insights and advice as to how parents can achieve greater understanding, and confidence as they come up against the tech revolution happening in their living rooms. When our Adventure Treks students have an amazing experience and succeed beyond all expectations outdoors without any technology, they are often given a unique perspective on how technology fits into their lives. Read a recent BLOG we wrote about her book