Book Author Cost Link
Homesick and Happy Michael Thompson $12 Amazon
How Children Succeed Paul Tough $9 Amazon
The Happiness Advantage Shawn Anchor $17 Amazon
Teach Your Children Well Madeline Levine $10 Amazon
Grit Angela Duckworth $18 Amazon
Mindset Carol Dweck $11 Amazon

Homesick and Happy

Dr. Thompson is an internationally recognized child psychology expert, and mentor & friend of Camp Champions.Dr. Thompson is an internationally recognized child psychology expert, and mentor & friend of Camp Champions.

We work closely with Dr. Thompson to advance our understanding of the developmental role that camp plays. He believes that many skills that predict for success are best learned at summer camp.

Dr. Thompson champions summer camp as a unique place where children are stretched in confidence and independence. They hone interpersonal skills while living in a cabin full of peers without the distractions of technology.

We partnered with Dr. Thompson to put on a three day speaking tour in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, sharing his argument that some of the greatest maturation of a child’s life can occur away from home at summer camp.

Steve Sir, The Camp Geek

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Paul Tough is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a close friend of Steve's.Paul Tough is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a close friend of Steve's.

Our traditional education system, however, is not designed to produce these outcomes. While great teachers can help with some of these skills, teachers are limited. They only get a few hours a week with students. More importantly, they are evaluated on how they teach specific knowledge (math and reading) and not on character. Typically, we manage what we measure. As a result, schools spend most of their time and effort on academic skills and not on character skills.

Camp Champions, on the other hand, strives to focus on character skills 16 hours a day. In fact, it is our passion to hire extraordinary role models and have them model resilience, love, optimism, gratitude, self-control and other valuable character skills. We focus on the “4 Rs” of Responsibility, Respect, Reaching Out, and Reasonable Risks.

I have had several conversations with Paul Tough about camp and character. He has led me to some of the researchers that he encountered doing his research. We are talking with them about ways to make Camp Champions the most effective camp in the nation in teaching and growing character in our campers!

Steve Sir, The Camp Geek

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  1. Writing about or discussing positive experiences everyday
  2. Doing acts of kindness daily
  3. Exercise
  4. Meditation
  5. Expressing Gratitude

People who engage in these and other similar exercises develop increased optimism that remains in place even if they stop or reduce the exercises.

Since we are always looking for ways to help our campers grow at Camp Champions, this research has been quite inspirational to us.

We have introduced “evening rituals” that help the campers ritualize many of these exercises. Of course, the campers get regular exercise and discover activities that they enjoy enough to continue after camp that will keep them active. We have even worked directly with Shawn Achor to study optimism at camp and develop practices to cultivate optimism.

Steve Sir, The Camp Geek

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Madeline Levine is a practicing psychologist and published author. Steve and her email often.Madeline Levine is a practicing psychologist and published author. Steve and her email often.

In short, camp scratched each of their itches.

After her talk, she and I exchanged emails. She has said that she “should use camp, in its best sense, as an example for parents of an environment that moves kids forward.”

In “Teach Your Children Well,” she describes 7 attributes that predict for success, contentment and fulfillment. They are as follows:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Creativity
  • Resourcefulness
  • Work ethic
  • Self-control
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-efficacy

Compare these attributes to the skills discussed in Paul Tough’s book “How Children Succeed” and described by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. You will see a substantial overlap in skills/attributes.

In short, these are the outcomes that we focus on at Camp Champions. We have intentional ways to foster self-esteem, teach resourcefulness, harness enthusiasm and develop self-control.

We are also actively studying the research so that we will know the best ways to provide these skills to our campers. Of course, we start with excellent role models and a loving environment, but we are always looking for ways to be even more effective with campers.

Steve Sir, The Camp Geek

Her Website


After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with agrowth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.

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In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.