Adventure Treks Trip Leader retreat is in full swing. Our 19 member leadership team has gathered in a cabin near Mt. Hood Oregon next to the Salmon River for 5 days of senior staff training prior to our full orientation which begins on June 11th.
Our 15 Trip Leaders and 4 Regional Directors hail from 12 states, average 28 years old and have 130 collective years of Adventure Treks experience (Average 6.8 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 a parent myself, I am thrilled to have these fabulous role models interacting and inspiring our kids!
Besides building our leadership team community and learning and relearning the specific details of each trip itinerary, we use this time together to all get on the same page regarding policies and procedures. Together, we share tips and tricks that make all of our trips better, as we go over the many nuts and bolts which enhance our trips beyond the average as we work towards making them exceptional.
As we prepare for our big group orientation on June 11th, 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 thinking and trends so we can make sure that the Adventure Treks program remains relevant to parents and serves as a stepping stone to our student’s success. We want Adventure Treks to be a tool that helps kids develop the skills, optimism, 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. You can also see the books we recommended last year and in 2011.
These are our suggestions for worthwhile reading (if you share our obsession for positive youth development!):
Teach Your Children Well by Madeline Levine is the best parenting book I have read. It offers lots of practical tips and a wonderful perspective. Levine includes recent research to support her points that good grades, high test scores and elite college acceptances are not the endgame we as parents should strive for. Her focus on raising a good kid vs. raising a smart kid will be one of our themes for orientation at both Camp Pinnacle and Adventure Treks. More than child development, Levine really focuses on parental development and offers a clear voice on parenting for authentic success. Levine brings great perspective as well has helpful and practical tips from 30 years of clinical experience as a psychologist and her own parenting exploits.
In the Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Edward Hallowell gives us a wonderful five step program we can keep in mind as we give our kids a childhood that will create a footprint for them to be happy adults. According to Hallowell, childhood should provide opportunities to feel connected to others, to play and be joyful, to practice and attain mastery, to fail and build resilience and to receive recognition. Hallowell is a huge advocate of keeping childhood as a special time where kids live less pressure filled lives than most currently do. This book is well written, easy to digest, and a huge help to all parents combating the world of competitive parenting.
In How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter most have more to do with character development than academics and testing. How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Whereas IQ is hardly malleable, executive function and character strengths – specifically grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, curiosity and conscientiousness – are far more malleable. Tough posits that these skills are better predictors of academic performance and educational achievement than IQ and therefore ought to be the direct target of interventions.
Coming Apart by Charles Murray is the most powerful book I have read this year. I first discovered this book when an excerpt was published in the Wall Street Journal as a Saturday feature. The excerpt alone created fodder for hours of discussion. I found that the book covered much more ground than ever expected. This book is an invaluable tool towards understanding modern American society and the tremendous divergence we are currently seeing. Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, Charles Murray demonstrates that a new upper and educated class and a new lower class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship. This divergence has grown during good economic times and bad. Murray argues that the powerful upper class, living in enclaves or Super Zips surrounded by similar folks is completely removed with life in mainstream America. Meanwhile the lower class is suffering from erosions of family and community life that is unprecedented in our 200 year history. This divergence puts the success of our country at risk. This is a tremendous sequel to Robert Putnam’s fabulous work, Bowling Alone – the Collapse and Revival of American Community.
While none of these books would qualify as “beach reads,” we heard you might have an upcoming two or three weeks with a little less on your plate and might need a good book to fill the time! Seriously, we do hope you’ll get the opportunity to pursue some of your own interests while your child is at Adventure Treks. And we will make sure your child is having so much fun, you won’t have to feel guilty! We can’t wait for your child to arrive at Adventure Treks.
– Dock, Niki, D-Mac, Emily, Holly, Jan and our Leadership and Instructor Teams