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Teens Travelling Abroad and Social Media

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 19, 2018  /   Posted in Featured Article, Parenting Teens, Summer Camps

School’s Out: Students Travelling Abroad & Social Media

While parents understand that teenagers may gravitate to spending their summers with old friends doing activities in their hometown, summertime provides a great opportunity for teens to step outside of their comfort zone. Arguably, one of the most effective approaches to providing a fun-filled summer which stretches teens’ cultural, intellectual and social horizons is participation in a study abroad program. Besides the opportunity to pursue current interests or develop new ones, study abroad programs offer teens the excitement of travel and the chance to participate in and learn about different traditions. Depending on the program that your child chooses to travel with, he or she will have the chance to build new friendships with a group of students who come from a wide variety of states and countries.

Per a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 95% of teens have a smartphone and 45% of them are consistently online.  Of course, students studying abroad will most likely document their travels on social media. Recognizing that one’s social media profile can provide their first impression to the outside world, especially for high school students who are building their academic resume for colleges and potential employers, most study abroad programs provide a set of specific guidelines for teens regarding their use of social media. Abbey Road Programs has a particularly constructive approach to this issue, encouraging students to use social media for telling stories about their unique experiences abroad in an educational and appropriate manner.

“We encourage our students to maintain a strong yet respectful presence on Instagram and our company blog during their summer travels abroad”, says Arthur Kian, founder and director of Abbey Road Programs. “The members of our Student Ambassador program stay in touch with their friends and loved ones back home by uploading weekly pictures of architecture, cuisine, or landmarks in Western Europe and Quebec. Social media is a great opportunity for students to show colleges and potential employers their experiences immersing with cultures while studying in international universities”.

Student Ambassadors at Abbey Road publish their study abroad activities on Abbey Road’s website, as well as onto their personal Instagram accounts. While the organization encourages student ambassadors to actively publish their happenings on social media, Abbey Road also emphasizes that students should structure their content appropriately for a variety of audiences – not just peers. Blog and Instagram typically submissions occur a few times per week, allowing students to document new discoveries, friends and adventures.

For those of you who are about to send your child to another part of the globe, how can you make sure that your child is making their online presence interesting yet appropriate? Sue Scheff, founder of Parents Universal Resource Experts, Inc, argues that a teen should create his or her social media profile as their ‘Professional Brand’. “As your young adult starts to navigate the professional world, it’s more important than ever to start refining their online reputation”, says Sue. “For some young people, this might mean redefining themselves online. While you can’t redefine your young adult’s online presence for them, you can encourage them, and even take a moment to polish your own social media while you’re at it.”

Social media and blogging are the primary means of connecting with your friends and family when international calling and texting is limited and expensive. How can parents make sure that their child’s content is meaningful and doesn’t harm their reputation for years to come? Never be afraid to discuss with your son or daughter the consequences that can come from posting text or pictures that can convey a negative impression to colleges or employers.  However, while there’s a need to emphasize the importance of safety in online behavior, parents should also acknowledge the positive impressions conveyed by documenting new experiences while, for example, studying abroad.

Evan O’Connor is the Outreach Coordinator for Abbey Road Programs and leader of the company’s Student Ambassador Program.

 

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Extraordinary Summer Camps Bring Grieving Children Together

Posted by Sue Scheff on April 24, 2017  /   Posted in Mental Health, Parenting Teens, Summer Camps, Teen Help

Experience Camps, a national non-profit organization that provides free, one-week camps for children who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver, is highlighted in Sheryl Sandberg’s newest book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.

After losing their father, Sheryl’s children attended Experience Camps (the California camp location), with other kids whose loved ones have died. Along with swimming, arts and crafts, and team sports, the kids take part in bereavement activities including sharing circles where they are encouraged to talk about their grief.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 1.5 million children are living in a single-family household due to the death of one parent. In the book, Sheryl talks about how her own children benefitted from attending Experience Camps, week-long summer camps that bring together children experiencing grief; and the value of support groups connecting you with others who really get what you are going through.

Excerpt from Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Pgs. 1884 – 1885. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

“Support groups connect you with others who really get what you are going through. Deep human connection. It is not just ‘Oh, I feel bad for you’ but ‘I actually understand…….My kids also attended Experience Camps, a free weeklong program for children who have lost a parent, sibling, or primary caregiver. Two of the core values at the camp are building community and inspiring hope. In one exercise, kids went to stations to confront an emotion associated with grieving. For anger, kids used chalk to scrawl words that made them angry on the pavement. Some wrote “bullying”; others wrote “cancer” or “drugs.” Then on the count of three they threw water balloons on the ground to smear the words away and release their anger. At a second station, a camper held a brick representing guilt. As the brick became too heavy, another camper shared the burden of its weight. These exercises helped show my children that their emotions were normal and other kids felt them too.” – Sheryl Sandberg

“We are so honored to be mentioned in Option B and are appreciative of Sheryl’s impact on the conversation around grief and resilience. She will inspire more people to seek connections and support to help them get through whatever challenges they face,” said Sara Deren, Founder and Executive Director of Experience Camps. “At Experience Camps, we encourage children to find those same connections through the camaraderie and community of camp and by allowing them to realize they’re not the only ones who have experienced loss.”

In 2017, Experience Camps will have more than 450 campers at camps in Maine, California, New York, and Georgia.

For more information about Experience Camps, visit http://www.experience.camp. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Experience Camps

Experience Camps is a place where kids can laugh, cry, play, create, remember the person who died, or forget the grief that weighs them down.  It’s a place where they can feel “normal”, because everyone there has been through something similar and understands what it’s like to lose someone important to them. Along with swimming, arts and crafts, and team sports, the kids take part in bereavement activities including sharing circles where they are encouraged to talk about their grief. Experience Camps is a home away from home. And just about everyone will tell you…”It’s the best week of the year”.

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Therapeutic Summer Programs for Struggling Teens

Posted by HelpYourTeens on June 05, 2015  /   Posted in Struggling Teen Help

canstockphoto25821149If your teen had a difficult school year, possibly failed a class or two, didn’t get the grades they are capable of achieving, maybe they skipped many classes or were suspended several times during the school year – you may want to consider a therapeutic summer program to boost their self-esteem or a grade recovery program.

When a teenager feels good about themselves, has a positive outlook on life and self-confidence, they are more likely to make better choices. This includes the friends they decide to be with and saying no to engaging in risky behavior.

It’s not easy being a teen in today’s society with peer pressure combined with technology and social media. Your teen may need a boost to help them find themselves emotionally this summer to make next school year more productive.

  • Is your teen a good kid that started making some bad choices?
  • Maybe they experimented with pot or alcohol?
  • Hanging with a negative peer group?
  • Failing in school when they are typically an A-B student?
  • Depressed, defiant, withdrawn from the family?
  • Addicted to digital devices or unsavory sites online such as pornography?
  • Dropped out of their hobbies – such as sports or dance teams?

canstockphoto22588191It’s not too late to consider a therapeutic summer program for your teenager.

Keep in mind, there is a difference between summer camp and a therapeutic summer program. Summer camp is not a clinical program that is designed to work on their emotional growth and behavior modification. A therapeutic summer program will employ therapist and counselors to help your teen work through their issues as well as build them up emotionally.

If you have PPO insurance, in some instances, a portion of your program might be covered.

Learn more by calling 954-260-0805 or click here to fill out an intake form.

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