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Every summer over 1,000 campers and counselors from more than 30 countries, 40 states, and 400 cities and towns come together to play, learn and grow with one another at the camps of The Aloha Foundation. In the fall, winter and spring, 10,000 or so children and adults participate in education, recreation and community programs at the Hulbert Outdoor Center.
How do our camps and programs foster fun, learning and growth, all at the same time? Not by chance, but rather by thoughtfully creating and continually refining experiences and leadership practices that reflect our key beliefs:
Being happy in life is more about choice than about luck. We have little control over what life throws at us, but we have the power to perceive any circumstance in either a positive or a negative light. “Success Counseling” is a powerful guidance technique pioneered by the camps of The Aloha Foundation. It emphasizes our ability to choose how we respond to situations rather than being victimized by them – when a camper complains “Sam or Pam made me mad,” we ask the question “Do you want to keep feeling that way?” Every camp counselor is trained to use Success Counseling to help campers achieve goals and resolve problems by taking responsibility for their own actions, attitudes and feelings.
Close relationships based on trust and love lie at the heart of our happiness. The world tells us to do well; we intend to do good in it, too. But we don’t have to do it alone. Celebrating our interdependence and seeking help from others are signs of maturity, strength and wisdom. The highest measure of a person’s worth is being known as a good and trusted friend.
Failure is a prerequisite for success. We gain awareness, build strength, hone skills, and prepare ourselves for future challenges by consciously learning from our mistakes. Failures examined breed creativity and help us to transcend life’s greatest obstacle: our own fears.
Listening to others and to ourselves is the key to awareness, empathy, perspective, and thoughtful action. The most important truths are within us. It takes time, discipline, patience and courage to hear our own true voice, and to honor the voices of our friends and acquaintances. Listening intentionally involves slowing down, paying attention, and pausing for reflection. Doing so allows us to appreciate the gifts of others, see beauty in the world, and find strength in the diversity of our community.
To be consistently honest is both the hardest and most rewarding of life’s many challenges. Honesty is the foundation of self-respect, a source of personal pride, and an antidote to fear. Honesty also can challenge relationships, and carries the risk of rejection or loss. In the long run though, telling the truth faithfully and compassionately is the best way we can express our humanity.
With strong guidance from camp leaders schooled in Success Counseling, we strive to help one another become fine, resourceful people, building character as well as competence in every challenge we undertake. Read a blog post about how we create a close-knit community of happy campers.
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