Leadership Essentials Topics

American psychologist Chris Thurber and Canadian entrepreneur Evan Heltay started the Leadership Essentials library in 2008 with a singular vision: create the world’s best educational videos for youth leaders. Knowing that directors never have enough time during their on-site training to cover all the topics required for accreditation and peace of mind, Chris and Evan created a self-paced, web-based library of modules (video + quiz + handout) that staff could access before, during, and after the season. To date, more than 6,000 summer youth programs have chosen EOT as the perfect complement to their on-site training.

The Leadership Essentials library is 105 modules strong and growing. Each year, our faculty update certain modules and create new ones, based on subscriber suggestions and current trends in youth development. Click on any of the category bars below to peruse titles and descriptions of individual modules. Once you have subscribed, you can bundle modules together to create custom courses for your different groups of staff, such as new, returning, program, and supervisory. Your personal admin page, or “Director Dashboard,” will allow you to monitor and document each staff member’s learning. And learning to be a phenomenal youth leader is what EOT is all about.

  1. Advanced Skills for Working with Difficult Parents, Part I

    Using Empathy and Diplomacy to Create Partnerships
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Advanced Skills for Working with Difficult Parents, Part IChildren aren't our only camp clients. Directors and experienced staff know that partnerships with parents are an indispensable component of a successful season. In this entertaining, two-part module, you'll witness five categories of difficult parents along with realistic and clever ways to respond…all without compromising your campers' best interests. Part I: Overwhelmed Parents and Anxious Parents.

  2. Advanced Skills for Working with Difficult Parents, Part II

    Using Empathy and Diplomacy to Create Partnerships
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Advanced Skills for Working with Difficult Parents, Part IIChildren aren't our only camp clients. Directors and experienced staff know that partnerships with parents are an indispensable component of a successful season. In this entertaining, two-part module, you'll witness five categories of difficult parents along with realistic and clever ways to respond...all without compromising your campers' best interests. Part II: Bossy, Defiant, and Unhappy Parents.

  3. Best Boys, Part I

    Healthy Masculine Role Models
    By Michael Thompson

    Best Boys, Part IWorld-famous psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Michael Thompson shares insights, observations, and humor about boys and masculinity. Your male staff can become a powerful force against the two-dimensional, media-driven view of masculinity by setting a healthy example and understanding how and why boys yearn for friendship, moral clarity, and membership in the tribe.

  4. Best Boys, Part II

    Rituals, Play, and the Boy Code
    By Michael Thompson

    Best Boys, Part IIIn Part II of this landmark series, Dr. Thompson discusses how rituals feed boys’ need for social connection; how unstructured free play nurtures healthy risk-taking; and how the competitive wiring of boys tempts them to compete. The “boy code” may mislead boys into believing they need to hide their emotions and win their masculinity through tests, but staff can lead boys into a healthier self-concept.

  5. Christian Perspectives, Part I

    Inspired Leadership from the Old Testament
    By James Cleland

    Christian Perspectives, Part IThe stories and sayings of Noah, Joseph, Joshua, Ruth and Nehemiah are among those featured in this heartfelt module that teaches key lessons in leadership and child development. Staff will find inspiration for devotionals, learn strategies for managing behavior and understand new ways to apply biblical lessons. James highlights leadership-by-example, righteousness, kindness and grace.

  6. Christian Perspectives, Part II

    Jesus as a Model for Love and Compassion
    By James Cleland

    Christian Perspectives, Part IIPrinciples of servant leadership, meeting the physical needs of youth and encouraging them to be forgiving and Christ-like all come alive in this faithful module. With a focus on Jesus as “Wonderful Counselor,” staff will learn fresh approaches to teaching timeless lessons from the New Testament. A special emphasis on professional boundaries helps staff instruct with discretion.

  7. Classic Problem Solving

    Using Options and Evaluation to Reach Group Consensus
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Classic Problem SolvingClassic problem solving is a powerful way to use the group's wisdom to find a solution that works for everyone. In this insightful module, you'll watch elegant, step-by-step examples of camp staff sitting down with real campers to solve common problems. No leader should be without this fundamental conflict resolution tool-kit. Far superior to blaming or shaming.

  8. Cracking Kids’ Secret Code

    Listening Sensitively to Forge Understanding
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Cracking Kids’ Secret CodeAll young people speak two languages: There’s what they say…and then there’s what they mean. Can you hear the difference? Savvy youth leaders learn to listen carefully to the subtext of speech so they can respond with genuine empathy and build the relationships that increase compliance. Watch these examples and learn how to push your listening and leadership skills to an insightful new level.

  9. Cultural Competence in Youth Programs, Part I

    How to Boost Your Multicultural IQ
    By Kevin Gordon

    Cultural Competence in Youth Programs, Part IInstead of pretending to be “color blind,” this module encourages youth leaders to notice and appreciate the wonderful cultural differences among people. Unintentional segregation, racist misunderstandings, unfulfilled potential, and missed friendships can all be avoided by suspending stereotypes, admitting ignorance, and listening with an open mind.

  10. Cultural Competence in Youth Programs, Part II

    Combating Racism with Understanding
    By Kevin Gordon

    Cultural Competence in Youth Programs, Part IIYouth programs worldwide serve increasingly diverse groups. However, if leaders are not intentional about how they serve those groups, simply mixing ethnicities, cultures and religions can do more harm than good. This fascinating module shows how to prevent clumping, prejudice and racial aggression by engineering blended groups that listen to and appreciate their strengths, traditions and opinions.

  11. Day Camp Dynamics, Part I

    Drop Off, Parent Communication, and Pick-Up
    By Steve Maguire

    Day Camp Dynamics, Part IExperienced teacher and day camp director Steve Maguire dives into the fundamentals of working at a day camp in this dynamic three-part series. Part I showcases the logistics and opportunities of drop-offs and pick-ups. Beyond simple accountability, these transition times are opportunities for building relationships, clarifying misunderstandings and partnering with parents to maximize the benefits of camp.

  12. Day Camp Dynamics, Part II

    Off-Site Trips and Group Management Tips
    By Steve Maguire

    Day Camp Dynamics, Part IIOnce you've mastered the finer points of drop-offs and pick-ups in Part I of this three-part series, it's time to pack up and leave camp! Part II illustrates advanced group management techniques with young children and the five best practices for safely transporting groups to and from an off-site location, such as the beach. A must-see for all dedicated day camp staff who organize field trips and excursions.

  13. Day Camp Dynamics, Part III

    Transition and Adjustment
    By Steve Maguire

    Day Camp Dynamics, Part IIIDropping their son or daughter off at day camp for the first time can be hard for any parent, but the wise approaches in this module will help reassure even the most anxious moms and dads. Part III of this outstanding three-part series is loaded with tips that promote positive adjustment for children and families, including pre-season contact, opening-day welcomes and warm interactions.

  14. Get the Best and Forget the Rest

    Nurturing Positive Youth Behavior
    By Scott Arizala

    Get the Best and Forget the RestA unitary focus on negative behaviors can lead to a skewed perspective on development and, ultimately, staff burnout. Here are five practices—noticing, praising, redirecting, scaffolding and taking action—that bring out the best in everyone. Start fueling a cycle of positive behavior in the young people you serve by tapping into all the wonderful things they are already doing well.

  15. Girl Power

    Guiding Principles of Strong Female Leadership
    By Niambi Jaha-Echols

    Girl PowerGirls in contemporary Western cultures are subtly socialized to stifle their authentic voices. This illuminating module challenges the notion that girls should be passive and demure. See how healthy female power comes from a combination of strong female role models, real decision-making power, encouragement to share opinions, and opportunities to lead. (co-written by Kevin Gordon)

  16. No Losers

    Achieving Mutual Victory in a Competitive World
    By David Conley

    No LosersConflict arises when two people want different things. But what if that zero-sum game were banished? This innovative module explains the paradigm of Mutual Victory, where each person’s worth is validated and each person’s needs are carefully considered. More than simple compromise, implementing Mutual Victory means everyone can achieve their goals through cooperation, respect, and innovation.

  17. Personality Synergy (New)

    How Style Differences Can Boost Productivity
    By David Conley

    Personality SynergyPersonality differences are a tremendous asset to your summer youth program when you can leverage different world views, work habits, and communication methods. This absorbing module illustrates the Big Five personality types in action and offers real-world advice on the best ways to manage a dynamic team by helping diverse personalities complement one another.

  18. Respect is Learned, Not Given

    Five Tricks to Making Magic
    By Dr. Deborah Gilboa

    Respect is Learned, Not GivenLearn to earn respect by mastering the How, Where, Who, What, and Why of connection. Young people don’t respect leaders because they are wearing a staff shirt, a name badge, or sunglasses. Instead, respect hinges on the relationship a leader cultivates. This practical module unpacks the elements of respect in a way that is easy to understand and implement immediately. A leadership cornerstone.

  19. Rules Were Made to Be Positive

    Creating Expectations Campers Want to Live Up To
    By Scott Arizala

    Rules Were Made to Be PositiveBecause your brain first processes the positive in any statement, it can be confusing and ineffective to give campers a string of negative admonishments. A better way to achieve compliant behavior is to explain games, rules, and activities using positive statements. The examples in this original module show you how to turn "Don't cross the line" into "Stay on your side" with marvelous results.

  20. Stop Yelling Get the HINT

    Seven Simple Ways to Engage Cooperation
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Stop Yelling Get the HINTWant the kids to listen without having to deliver an exhausting lecture? You can, if you get the HINT, which stands for “High-Impact, No Trouble” leadership. These frank techniques include powerful, one-word directions and clear, concise gestures that help you make your point, get compliance, and move on. Don’t let minor misbehaviors can get under your skin. Stop yelling and get the HINT.

  21. We Squashed It! - Physical Aggression

    Collaborative Problem Solving for High-Conflict Situations
    By Scott Arizala

    We Squashed It! - Physical AggressionKids expect that grown-ups will punish and lecture them after a conflict. But research with explosive children shows that the best solution involves a combination of empathy, exploring needs, and teaching skills in self-expression, hypothetical thinking, and emotion regulation. By focusing on wants and needs after physical altercations (more characteristic of boys than girls) this module illustrates the best way to promote durable behavior change.

  22. We Squashed it! - Relational Aggression

    Collaborative Problem Solving for High-Conflict Situations
    By Scott Arizala

    We Squashed it! - Relational AggressionKids expect that grown-ups will punish and lecture them after a conflict. But research with explosive children shows that the best solution involves a combination of empathy, exploring needs, and teaching skills in self-expression, hypothetical thinking, and emotion regulation. By focusing on wants and needs after interpersonal conflict (more characteristic of girls than boys) this module illustrates the best way to promote durable behavior change.

Youth Development and Play
  1. Afterschool Program Success, Part I

    Snacks, Laps, Raps and Naps
    By Dr. Zach Mural

    Afterschool Program Success, Part IGood after-school programs all provide a safe place for children, but the best programs have staff members who understand what youngsters crave right after school: Snacks, Laps, Raps and Naps. The key to excellence is finding creative ways to meet these needs and reinforce in-school learning in a way that builds character, promotes good decision-making and lets kids decompress and be themselves.

  2. Afterschool Program Success, Part II

    Innovative Attitudes and Activities
    By Dr. Zach Mural

    Afterschool Program Success, Part IIGreat youth leaders recognize that children are not potential problems who need to be controlled. Instead, children have limitless potential to contribute as resources. In Part II of this series, Dr. Mural illustrates how talented afterschool program staff connect with these young resources in ways that build healthy relationships, derive lessons from fun activities and capitalize on each teachable moment.

  3. Awesome Archery, Part I (New)

    Range Design and Safety Procedures
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Awesome Archery, Part ISet your archery program up for success by upgrading the design of you range and the procedures you use to keep both participants and spectators out of harm’s way. From boundary markers to shooting commands, this module covers the most important elements of a professional archery program. Before you focus on expert shooting instruction, take the time to verify a safe set-up.

  4. Awesome Archery, Part II (New)

    Step-by- Step Shooting Success
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Awesome Archery, Part IIThink you know everything about the world’s oldest and most popular target sport? Think again. This detailed video reveals ten frequently overlooked elements of accurate archery, such as relaxed bow grip, open stance, back muscle drawing, and aligned follow-through. Plus, the safety tips and coaching techniques make this module the perfect complement to any certification course.

  5. Becoming a Youth Development Professional, Part I

    Making the Transition from ME to KIDS
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Becoming a Youth Development Professional, Part IDay and overnight camps are powerful, positive developmental experiences for young people. Their growth hinges on the quality of their relationship with you, so it is essential that you begin considering yourself a youth development professional. This honest module explains how to transition from focusing on yourself to focusing on the needs of the children and adolescents you’ll serve.

  6. Becoming a Youth Development Professional, Part II

    Engage Your Brain
    By Dr. Deborah Gilboa

    Becoming a Youth Development Professional, Part IIYoung adult brains are sometimes ridiculed for being immature, but every leader can learn how to make wise choices. In this lively and scientific module, you’ll learn about the most common vulnerabilities that cause inexperienced leaders to make poor choices and behave unprofessionally. Case studies will then guide your thinking about the best ways to become a thoughtful, respected, and careful mentor.

  7. Burn Specific Programming, Part I

    Programming Goals and Survivor Challenges
    By Brad Wiggins, RN

    Burn Specific Programming, Part IMeeting the psychosocial needs of young burn survivors requires advanced training and distinctive programming. This specialized module will help the staff in any program—including a burn camp—understand burn injuries, identify survivors’ needs, connect in comfortable ways, design inclusive programs and teach young burn survivors how to get the most out of an outdoor group experience.

  8. Burn Specific Programming, Part II

    Connecting with Survivors to Promote Adjustment
    By Brad Wiggins, RN

    Burn Specific Programming, Part IIForging authentic social connections with young burn survivors requires advanced training and distinctive programming. Part II of this specialized series will help the staff in any program—including a burn camp—connect with young survivors in comfortable ways and design inclusive social activities that teach young burn survivors to express themselves, make close friends and cope in healthy ways.

  9. Canoeing Success, Part I

    Set-Up and Stroke Basics
    By Mike Sladden

    Canoeing Success, Part IThe canoe is the ideal vehicle for exploring the natural world. Canoeing is synonymous with exploration, accomplishment, adventure and camp. This iconic and graceful activity engages young people by enriching their outdoor skills, nurturing their friendships and immersing them in nature. In Part I of this series, you’ll learn key strokes such as forward, draw, pry and J, plus the secrets of successful programs.

  10. Canoeing Success, Part II

    Advanced Strokes and Drills
    By Mike Sladden

    Canoeing Success, Part IIDial your paddling prowess up a notch by learning fun drills and new skills in Part II of this series. You’ll learn about landmark paddling, dock landings and donuts. Then, focus on advanced strokes such as the cross draw, the slideslip, the sculling draw, and the running draw. Gunwale bouncing, slalom courses and Hawaiian Dodgeball round out the upper-level games that will help you perfect your technique.

  11. Cultivating Patience

    Creating a Calm Presence for Learning and Leadership
    By Scott Arizala

    Cultivating PatienceEver feel as if you're going to lose it because the kids aren't listening? We all have, at some point. Ironically, of all the essential leadership skills for youth development professionals, patience may be the most important and the most neglected. This remarkable module uses realistic pairs of bad and good examples to teach novel ways of fostering lasting patience. Never "lose it" again!

  12. Effective Debriefing Tools and Techniques

    Learn to Play and Play to Learn
    By Michelle Cummings

    Effective Debriefing Tools and TechniquesToo many youth programs run at a frantic pace, rarely giving young people opportunities to reflect on what they’ve learned and how they’ve learned it. This lively module is loaded with easy and advanced debriefing methods you can start using immediately. Unlike other approaches, you’ll learn activities that give young people the power to take the lead in debriefing.

  13. Equity and Diversity

    The Fabric of Camp
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Equity and DiversityCelebrating the differences among people introduces a whole new level of enjoyment to the experience of day or overnight camp. It may be human to fear differences at first, but a skillful leader can guide the group toward a deep appreciation of all that makes us unique. This pioneering module cleverly showcases children's perspectives on diversity at camp.

  14. Face-to-Face

    Interacting with Differently Abled Youth
    By Kurt Podeszwa

    Face-to-Face (Differently Abled Youth)Should you assist a young person who cannot walk or see or hear? If so, how? Is it acceptable to ask differently abled youth about their condition, be it paralysis, burn scars, or prosthetics? This module draws viewers into realistic scenarios that illustrate best practices for engaging all youth with different abilities. Vital viewing for staff at inclusive schools and camps.

  15. Hello Games

    Invite, Include, and Inquire
    By Faith Evans

    Hello GamesTired of the same old icebreakers and name games? Bust out some of the innovative games from this module and get everyone playing, laughing, and feeling part of the group. When campers feel welcome and included on the first day of camp, they form the kind of close friendships that prevent homesickness, cliques, and bullying. These "hello games" will help you make a warm first impression.

  16. Jewish Perspectives on Staff Happiness and Stamina

    Staying Internally Motivated All Summer Long
    By Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman

    Jewish Perspectives on Staff Happiness and StaminaJudaism emphasizes positive thinking as a key to positive outcomes. Jewish tradition also underscores how positive thinking combines with kind actions to create positive experiences and authentic happiness. In this module, Dr. Feldman shares five healthy ways to think and act that will enhance staff motivation all summer long. Learn to feel grateful, think positively, and see obstacles as opportunities.

  17. Move It Like You Mean It

    Using Body Language to Enhance Communication
    By Scott Arizala

    Move It Like You Mean ItKeen awareness of the seven types of non-verbal communication will help all new, returning, and supervisory staff become better communicators. Beyond the basic distinction between safe and unsafe touch lie the powerfully subtle and intricate ways we use our bodies to send messages of support, enthusiasm, invitation, and friendship. Learn quickly how a gesture can be worth a thousand words.

  18. Outdoor Cooking with Youth

    Seven Campfire Favorites to Tempt Your Tastebuds
    By Faith Evans

    Outdoor Cooking with YouthEverything tastes better outside…and each dish is more delicious when it’s cooked over an open fire. In this tantalizing module, foodie Faith Evans and her intrepid team of young cooks guides viewers through the preparation of camp classics such as: English Muffin Pizza, Cherry Cobbler, and Egg-in-a-Hole as well as creative new creations like Squiggle Fun Cakes, Jelly Jammies, and Banana Boats. Yum!

  19. Playing with a Full Deck

    Exciting Low-Prop Games for Groups
    By Michelle Cummings

    Playing with a Full DeckBased on Michelle Cummings’ best-selling book, this module (and the huge handout that comes with it), will give you fresh ideas for fast-moving icebreakers, group problem-solving games, and daily debriefing activities. All you need is an old deck of cards, a new group of young people, and your energy and imagination. Promote insight, friendship, understanding, and fun!

  20. Programming For All

    Creative Adaptations for Differently Abled Youth
    By Kurt Podeszwa

    Programming For All (Differently Abled Youth) We all make adaptations every day, such as putting on sunglasses, using a ladder, or donning a baseball glove. Adaptations just make activities easier, safer, or possible…and they can be provided for youth of any ability. Hosted by a director experienced in adaptive programming, this specialized module shows program staff tons of creative adaptations for differently abled youth.

  21. Rainy Day Games

    All Weather Fun
    By Faith Evans

    Rainy Day GamesFoul weather is an opportunity to play, as you'll learn in this upbeat module on indoor games that cost little or nothing. Using materials you can easily find around your camp, you'll learn step-by-step instructions for creating activities that engage campers, stimulate staff, and transform "Oh no, not another rainy day..." to "Hey, it's raining! Can we play that cool game again?"

  22. Speaking of Camp

    Parents' Advice and Reflections on the Power of Camp
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Speaking of CampHere's what all parents want you to know before becoming the substitute caregiver for their most precious possession—their child. Listen carefully here to what moms and dads believe is the value of the camp experience, the important role you play, and the ways in which camp changes children's lives. Nowhere else can you hear real parents sharing valuable advice for youth development professionals.

  23. Youth Inspired

    How Kids Want You to Behave
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Youth InspiredOf all the staff training content available, the testimonials in this module are the most indispensable. The authentic voices of children and teens in this clip anthology provide candid advice to adults about the importance of balance, rules, having fun, keeping your cool and—above all—spending time with young people. Learn from experience what leadership practices separate the best from the rest.

Mental Health and Behavior
  1. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    Promoting Compliance and Focus
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderWith the right set of leadership skills and treatments, ADHD can be effectively managed in any youth program. That said, staff must realize that all young people are energetic (and sometimes hyperactive), have trouble paying attention and get distracted. This scientific module provides thirteen universal tools that promote attention and minimize distracting, hyperactive behavior. A must-see video.

  2. Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Strategies for Leadership and Connection
    By Sylvia van Meerten

    Autism Spectrum DisorderCommunication difficulties, focused interests and insistence on sameness can be challenging to manage. Unless you have the right skills. By sampling real behavioral and emotional challenges at a camp for ASD youth, this compelling module teaches best practices for reducing anxiety, promoting compliance, managing meltdowns and communicating effectively with autistic children.

  3. Bullies and Targets, Part I

    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Bullies and Targets, Part IDid you know that about 75% of boys and girls report being both bullies and targets at one time or another? That means deciphering who the “real” bully is can be difficult. But what if you could prevent bullying altogether? This revealing module shows how staff can create a nearly bully-free culture with a warm tone, firm expectations, vigilant presence, and kind example.

  4. Bullies and Targets, Part II

    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Bullies and Targets, Part IISome bullying behavior is so violent that dismissal is required. For everything else, you’ll need the strong discipline tools in this module. Research shows that zero-tolerance policies fail to teach social skills. Instead, enlightened intervention for bullying requires consistent enforcement of your rules, thoughtful teaching of peaceful interaction, and praise for good behavior.

  5. Children with Verbal Learning Disabilities

    Using Language to Boost Social Connection
    By Cindy Ziobrowski

    Children with Verbal Learning DisabilitiesAll children benefit from refining their communication and social skills, but how can you teach campers to use their words in ways that build connections with others? This specialized module showcases ways to capitalize on your camp's rich social environment and boost campers' tact, friendship skills, and language skills. This is the perfect toolkit for working with young, immature, or developmentally delayed youth.

  6. Good Sportsmanship vs. Foul Play

    You Make the Call
    By Dr. Joel Haber

    Good Sportsmanship vs. Foul PlayPop culture may celebrate "trash talk" or "dissing" in sports, but just because a behavior is common doesn't mean it's healthy. Day camps and resident camps are ideal places to create nurturing, alternative cultures. The scenarios in this module teach staff to distinguish good from bad sportsmanship and use positive motivation to pick teams fairly, prevent foul play, and promote healthy teamwork.

  7. Helping Awkward Children Fit In

    Accelerating Social Awareness and Development
    By Cindy Ziobrowski

    Helping Awkward Children Fit InOne of the things young people like most about camp is the freedom to be themselves. In that spirit, most social blunders at camp get laughed off or politely ignored. But sometimes, a camper's awkward behavior with his or her peers becomes an obstacle to forming lasting friendships. This module helps ensure that even the most socially inept campers will get sensitive and effective coaching from staff.

  8. Homesickness at Day & Resident Camps, Part I

    Best Practices for Youth Leaders
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Homesickness at Day & Resident Camps, Part INearly all people miss things about home when they’re away. Left untreated, intense homesickness can ruin a child’s stay and soak up staff time. Here in Part I of this series you’ll find the essential tools for recognizing homesickness and treating it effectively in any setting. Build confidence that you can help campers cope and have a great time away from home.

  9. Homesickness at Day & Resident Camps, Part II

    Supportive Conversation Demonstration
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Homesickness at Day & Resident Camps, Part IIWell-meaning staff commonly make the mistake of extending conversations about homesickness to an unhealthy duration. Part II of this module series contains an entire, unedited conversation with an actual homesick camper. Although every supportive conversation with a homesick boy or girl is different, the format in this compelling module serves as a valuable template.

  10. Jewish Perspectives on Child-Staff Relationships, Part I

    Youth Development Lessons My Dog on Warmth, Consistency and Power, Part I
    By Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman

    Jewish Perspectives on Child-Staff Relationships, Part IThe Sages of the Talmud say that if we did not have the Torah to guide us, we would be able to learn how to behave from studying the animals. In this original and inspiring module, psychologist Dr. Caren Feldman references both Jewish teachings and her faithful canine to show staff from all faith traditions how to nurture positive relationships, strive for consistency, and avoid power struggles.

  11. Jewish Perspectives on Child-Staff Relationships, Part II

    Lessons from My Dog on Temperament, Acceptance and Being Proactive
    By Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman

    Jewish Perspectives on Child-Staff Relationships, Part IIBuilding on the sage advice in Part I, this module references ancient Jewish teachings to explain how temperament affects behavior, how being proactive promotes success, how acceptance of differences is socially healthy and how personal renewal—especially forgiveness—is good for the soul and the organization you serve. A playful and insightful module that will leave you inspired…whatever your faith.

  12. Listening with More Than Ears

    Empathy for Youth Leaders
    By David Conley

    Listening with More Than EarsWhen leaders show a deep understanding of what others are experiencing, that’s empathy. And empathy creates trust, creativity, and happiness. Using realistic examples from a variety of youth programs, this module brings empathy to life and demonstrates how restraint, reflection, rephrasing, labeling, and summarizing without judgment coalesce to form effective, empathic listening.

  13. Preventing Gossip and Relational Aggression

    Toward Emotional Safety and Inclusiveness
    By Dr. Joel Haber

    Preventing Gossip and Relational AggressionSome people assume that gossip, rumors, and other "mean girl" behavior is just part of growing up. The fact is, this kind of relational aggression can happen among girls and boys—even among male and female staff—and no one should passively accept it as normal. This module, hosted by an international expert on bullying, helps staff understand what relational aggression looks like and how to stop it.

  14. Skillful Discipline, Part I

    Creative Behavior Management and Alternatives to Punishment
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Skillful Discipline, Part IThe biggest concern that every new staff member has is that the children won't listen and follow directions. No wonder! If young people aren't compliant, your job gets pretty tough. This innovative module illustrates the six prevention strategies you can use to promote good behavior. Then, you'll learn six core behavior management strategies to use for any misbehavior.

  15. Skillful Discipline, Part II

    Advanced Behavior Management and Alternatives to Punishment
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Skillful Discipline, Part IIAfter mastering the powerful strategies in Skillful Discipline Part I, you’ll be ready to expand your behavior management repertoire. This practical module includes seven more field-tested prevention techniques that promote good behavior, plus seven commanding interventions for misbehaviors. Fourteen fresh approaches that promote durable behavior change.

Physical and Emotional Safety
  1. 15 Passenger Van Safety

    Professional Driving for Youth Leaders
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    15 Passenger Van Safety15-Passenger vans have unique handling characteristics that require special driving techniques and an understanding of proper weight distribution. This extended module reviews the essential pre-flight checks drivers must perform before transporting children, fundamental operator safety practices, and the proper way to load and drive a 15-passenger van. These detailed demonstrations are the perfect prelude to on-road practice.

  2. Active Lifeguarding

    Preparation, Scanning, and Practice
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Active LifeguardingThe camp tradition of hiring newly certified lifeguards without real-world experience is woefully inadequate. Inexperienced lifeguards are often poorly equipped, fail to scan properly, and neglect regular practice of emergency action plans. This crucial module teaches staff how to prepare for their work as lifeguards, scan for distressed or drowning campers, and practice skills and drills. A safety essential.

  3. Alcohol Beverage Laws

    Think Before You Drink
    By Jack Erler, Esq.

    Alcohol Beverage LawsEach year, talented youth leaders are arrested and dismissed for dangerous alcohol violations. Rather than regretting a poor decision this season, consider the solid recommendations in this sobering module: Obey the law; don’t ask other staff to break the law; avoid the liability of supplying alcohol to minors; appoint a designated driver; and know your consumption limits.

  4. Anaphylactic Emergencies

    First Aid for Severe Allergies
    By Dr. Laura Blaisdell

    Anaphylactic EmergenciesYour quick response to a severe allergic reaction could save a life this season. For that reason, all staff should know what anaphylaxis is, what the symptoms look like, how to treat it (with speed, calm and poise) and how best to coordinate care with health care professionals. Many associations and boards of health require this type of training so that all staff know—at a minimum—how to administer an EpiPen.

  5. Child Welfare and Protection

    International Best Practices and Policies
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Child Welfare and ProtectionThis extended course on child welfare and youth protection contains specialized content for staff at camps, schools, and other youth programs. Combining content from Dr. Christopher Thurber and attorney Jack Erler, this realistic module diminishes abuse potential by illustrating safe policies and sound practices with young people, as well as explaining ethical responses should you suspect abuse.

  6. Confidentiality for Youth Professionals

    It's Not All Secret
    By Jack Erler, Esq.

    Confidentiality for Youth ProfessionalsCamps encourage parents to disclose all private medical, mental health, and personal information that will help the camp staff and health care team work with each child. Yet few front-line staff understand the legal and ethical limits of confidentiality. This module clarifies exactly how to protect campers' privacy and take the necessary steps to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.

  7. Cyberbullying & Sexting

    What Youth Leaders Need to Know
    By Dr. Joel Haber

    Cyberbullying & SextingComputers and social networking sites help young people learn and connect. The virtual world also provides opportunities for cyberbullying and sexting—hostile or sexualized messages from one young person to another. This provocative, contemporary module shows how cyberbullying and sexting have infiltrated summer programs and exactly what to do about it.

  8. Duty of Care, Part I

    The Concept of In Loco Parentis
    By Jack Erler, Esq.

    Duty of Care, Part IThink this is just a casual summer job? Think again. Your job as a youth leader includes the enormous responsibility to care for the participating children as if they were your own. You function in place of the parents, or in loco parentis. With startling clarity, this module highlights the responsibilities of all youth leaders and the grave consequences of neglecting that duty.

  9. Duty of Care, Part II

    Applied Strategies for Acting as In Loco Parentis
    By Jack Erler, Esq.

    Duty of Care, Part IIIn Part I of this module series, you learned how duty of care concepts applied to your job as a youth leader. Here in Part II, you’ll learn seven essential strategies to help you act in a reasonably prudent manner in your role as in loco parentis: self-assessment, participant assessment, equipment assessment, risk analysis, continuous evaluation, go/no-go, and procedure compliance.

  10. Fire Building and Fire Safety

    Traditional Campfire Basics
    By Faith Evans

    Fire Building and Fire SafetyNothing says camp like a fire, but few outdoor enthusiasts know how to build a safe fire that starts with a single match. In this enlightening (pun intended) module, viewers will learn how to prepare a fire ring, assemble tinder, kindling, and fuel wood, and then light, stoke, and properly extinguish a campfire…all in accordance with Leave-No-Trace practices. First aid for burns is also included.

  11. Fire Evacuation Planning

    Emergency Preparation in Action
    By Brad Wiggins, RN

    Fire Evacuation PlanningMost camps, parks and rec departments and afterschool programs have a written emergency action plan that includes fire evacuation. Precious few have practiced the plan or even trained their staff how to use an extinguisher. Join burn nurse Brad Wiggins and a team of professional firefighters for a thorough explanation of emergency planning and response, fire extinguishing and efficient evacuation.

  12. Kickin’ Kitchens

    Hygiene and Safety Fundamentals
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Kickin’ KitchensWant a kitchen that’s clean, safe, and organized? Here is the required module for all kitchen staff, including international hires. From proper handwashing and food handling to knife safety and kitchen communication, this video has it all. Bonus tips on arranging pantries and walk-ins will save you time and prevent injuries. It’s time to inspire the changes necessary to make your most important program shine.

  13. Lifeguarding Skills Verification

    Ensuring Proficiency Beyond Certification
    By Cathy Scheder

    Lifeguarding Skills VerificationA certified lifeguard does not necessarily make a qualified lifeguard, which is why most accrediting organizations for youth programs require a skills verification for waterfront staff. In this practical module, Cathy Scheder—aquatics guru and author of Camp Waterfront Management—demonstrates how to translate a paper certification to a real-life verification of proficiency on your unique waterfront.

  14. Medical Preparation for Burn Camps

    Healthy Habits Make Happy Kids
    By Brad Wiggins, RN

    Medical Preparation for Burn CampsIn this companion module to his series on psychosocial preparation for burn camps, burn nurse Brad Wiggins explains the essential components of medical preparation. From revising applications to stocking the health center; from adapting activities to consulting local burn centers, this module helps you get it right the first time. Learn from a pro how to help young burn survivors succeed.

  15. Out of the Pool and Into the Wild

    Lifeguarding in Natural Aquatic Environments
    By Cathy Scheder

    Out of the Pool and Into the WildMurky water, mucky bottoms, intense glare, vast acreage, chilly air, burning sun, and even swift currents. Are you ready for the transition from a pool to a lake or river? Most lifeguards hired to work at camps and outdoor youth programs were trained in the controlled environments of classrooms and swimming pools. Step up your game by learning to guard effectively in changing, natural environments.

  16. Regional Disaster Management for Youth Programs

    Your Best Chance is to Prepare for the Worst
    By Brad Wiggins, RN

    Regional Disaster Management for Youth ProgramsEvery season, natural disasters decimate youth programs worldwide. And although careful preparation and routine practice saves lives, many directors don’t know where to start. Using actual disaster footage and expert advice from a Red Cross CEO, this detailed module explains the fundamental components of program readiness, parent communication, evacuation and shelter-in-place planning.

  17. Safe Touch & Safe Talk

    Protecting Your Campers and Yourself
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Safe Touch & Safe TalkOne essential component at any high-quality day or overnight camp is the physical and emotional safety of the campers and staff. Although every camp has slightly different guidelines, this frank module demonstrates the essentials of what's forbidden and what's permitted. Adhering to these safe touch and safe talk rules helps protect your campers and you.

  18. Sexual Harassment

    Identification and Prevention
    By Jack Erler, Esq.

    Sexual HarassmentTo reduce liability and create a safe culture at camp, employees must know their rights and responsibilities regarding sexual harassment. This carefully constructed module, hosted by one of the camp world’s most respected attorneys, reviews sexual harassment laws and the proper way to respond if you observe or experience any unwelcome sexual advances, touch, language, or requests for favors.

  19. Shockingly Professional Talk, Part I (New)

    Conversational Skills for Sensitive Issues
    By Niambi Jaha-Echols & Dr. Chris Thurber

    Shockingly Professional Talk, Part IYoung people are curious about everything, so they naturally pose challenging questions to youth leaders they trust. But knowing how to respond supportively and appropriately takes finesse. Hosts Jaha-Echols and Thurber offer elegant ways to respond to youngsters’ questions about sex, drugs, religion, politics, racism, and stereotypes with respect, calm, and an open mind.

  20. Shockingly Professional Talk, Part II (New)

    Self-Reflection Skills for Sensitive Issues
    By Niambi Jaha-Echols & Dr. Chris Thurber

    Shockingly Professional Talk, Part IIControversial, thoughtless, or inflammatory comments and questions can throw even the most talented youth leaders into a tailspin. In Part II of Sensitive Issues, Jaha-Echols and Thurber complete their discussion of conversational skills and offer three powerful self-reflection skills for staying calm, understanding personal triggers, and responding with respect and discretion.

  21. Staff Use of the Internet

    Promoting Online Leadership-by-Example
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Staff Use of the InternetThe Internet is public space. If you take your responsibilities as a youth development professional seriously, then your behavior in that space, like all your other public behavior, must set a sterling example for young people to follow. This provocative module provides practical guidelines that promote leadership and integrity. Now is the time to clean up your online presence.

  22. Swim Checks in Action

    Best Practices for Participant Classification
    By Cathy Scheder

    Swim Checks in ActionSwimming is among the oldest and most traditional outdoor activities, but do you know how comfortable and competent each of your participants is in the water? To boost the safety and enjoyment of both youngsters and adults, this practical module shows aquatic staff how to reassure participants, categorize them reliably, and set everyone up for success on the waterfront.

  23. Waterfront Safety Design

    Top Ten Tips in Action
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Waterfront Safety DesignCertifications on your waterfront mean nothing without common sense and experience. This practical module is loaded with professional advice that will help you save lives and prevent injuries. From preventing slips, pinches and burns to building moorings and gates that last, this clear explanation of robust waterfront design principles is what all aquatics staff need to ensure a safe and happy season.

  24. Weather Watch

    Atmospheric ABCs for Summer Program Staff
    By Steve Maguire

    Weather WatchWeather will affect everything you do at your camp, school, or youth program. Using clear examples and practical techniques, this fact-packed module will teach you what causes weather change, how to predict the weather, and what to do when foul weather strikes. Bonus footage on lightning safety for outdoor programs is a must-see for all youth leaders.

  25. Wilderness Wellness

    Promoting Health in Outdoor Youth Programs
    By Dr. Laura Blaisdell

    Wilderness WellnessThe healthy examples, watchful eyes and wise treatment of frontline staff can prevent small cuts and coughs from becoming serious infections and illnesses. Pediatrician and mother Dr. Laura Baisdell gets down and dirty to discuss key components of wilderness wellness. Everything from hydration and hand washing to insect bites and sneezing etiquette is covered (with an elbow, of course) in this module.

  26. Wise Use of Time Off

    Preventing Burnout and Staying Sharp
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Wise Use of Time OffWhether you work at day or overnight camp, you'll need to spend your time off wisely so when you're on duty you're ready for anything. Working at camp takes energy and patience, but if you return to camp exhausted or hung-over, you're likely to burn out quickly. This candid module provides solid advice on managing stress and returning refreshed from time off.

  1. Achieving Supervisory Balance (NEW)

    Priorities, Positivity, and Procrastination
    By David Conley

    Achieving Supervisory Balance:Even experienced supervisors struggle to set priorities, stay positive, and keep on top of their to-do list. This advanced module offers practical strategies for getting things done efficiently and effectively, without doing all the work yourself. Learn how to support your team, delegate tasks, prevent procrastination, maintain a positive attitude, and have enough time for yourself.

  2. Advanced Staff Supervision, Part I

    PEEPL Power, Part I
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Advanced Staff Supervision, Part IWhen experienced staff are promoted to supervisory positions at camp, they face the double challenge of having zero formal management training and becoming a boss of their peers. This two-part module, developed over 25 years of in-camp management experience, clearly illustrates five principles of supervisory success: Prepare, Encourage, Evaluate, Participate, and Learn. Part I: Prepare and Encourage.

  3. Advanced Staff Supervision, Part II

    PEEPL Power, Part II
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Advanced Staff Supervision, Part IIWhen experienced staff are promoted to supervisory positions at camp, they face the double challenge of having zero formal management training and becoming a boss of their peers. This two-part module, developed over 25 years of in-camp management experience, clearly illustrates five principles of supervisory success: Prepare, Encourage, Evaluate, Participate, and Learn. Part II: Evaluate, Participate, and Learn.

  4. Behavior-Based Interviewing

    Innovative Staff Selection for Peak Performance
    By Gary Forster

    Behavior-Based InterviewingMost hiring interviews combine small talk with some predictable questions that prospective staff answer in predictable ways. “Well, my biggest weakness is that I work so hard.” Enough! In this refreshingly original module, directors will master a simple strategy that transforms superficial interviews into compelling conversations that reveal volumes about a person’s inner strengths and attitudes.

  5. Difficult Management Conversations, Part I

    How Great Leaders Make It Look Easy
    By Scott Arizala

    Difficult Management Conversations, Part IStaff who overstep boundaries, underperform, break rules, or fail to integrate feedback require careful conversations with top-level supervisors. Yet even experienced directors sometimes blanch when it’s time to confront staff in trouble. This advanced module guides experienced supervisors through a balanced and logical process for tackling the most difficult management conversations.

  6. Difficult Management Conversations, Part II

    Punch the Shark
    By Sylvia van Meerten

    Difficult Management Conversations, Part IIHaving mastered techniques of listening, stating facts, and clarifying expectations in Part I of this module series, you’re now ready to "Punch the Shark." In this advanced module, you’ll learn a combination of bold and subtle techniques for brief conversations that immediately improve staff behavior. Rather than worry about confrontation, get the skills you need to make confrontation your transformative friend.

  7. Firing a Staff Member

    Professional Guidelines for Termination
    By Gary Forster

    Firing a Staff MemberFiring a staff member is painful, but the health of the children and your organization must always come first. In this advanced module, Gary first outlines how to maximize staff potential by presenting candid feedback. He then shares common reasons for termination and see a professional, step-by-step process for firing staff. The perfect complement to Scott Arizala’s module, Difficult Management Conversations.

  8. Masterful Meetings (NEW)

    It’s Time to Stop Wasting Everyone’s Time
    By Steve Maguire

    Masterful MeetingsWell-run meetings of any size can be productive, efficient, and pleasant. Poorly-run meetings can drag down staff moral and waste everyone’s time. Get cracking with this clear explanation of sensible, professional, and user-friendly strategies that will transform chaos into order. Gathering the brightest minds in your organization will henceforth be inspirational and productive.

  9. Providing Effective Feedback, Part I

    Improving Performance and Maintaining Connections
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Providing Effective Feedback, Part IWhether you're in a supervisory position or not, providing feedback to your colleagues is an essential skill for leadership growth and development. Of course, the barrier to providing feedback is that relationships are at stake. This advanced module describes how to preserve good relationships while providing clear feedback in ways that boost everyone's performance.

  10. Providing Effective Feedback, Part II

    Using Appreciative Inquiry to Motivate Groups
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Providing Effective Feedback, Part IIWe notice the negative without any training. But starting a meeting by balling out your staff will cause their motivation, creativity, optimism, and mood to tank. This cutting-edge module will teach you the Appreciative Inquiry approach to group management. Change is quick and durable when managers focus first on all that is going right in an organization and ask: "How do we get more of the good stuff?"

  11. Supervising Junior Leaders

    Coaching the Transition from Camper to Counselor
    By Dr. Chris Thurber

    Supervising Junior LeadersDay camps and resident camps cultivate many of their strongest staff using junior-counselor, leader-in-training, and counselor-in-training programs. But who among your supervisory staff is really ready for all the immature and impulsive things junior leaders do? This vital module prepares unit leaders and division heads to identify and respond skillfully to the ten most common mistakes junior leaders make.

  12. Winning Ways of Skilled Supervisors

    Five New Pillars of Success
    By Scott Arizala

    Winning Ways of Skilled SupervisorsBefore embarking on any supervisory role, all senior staff members must adopt the five fundamental practices of Accessibility, Approachability, Being a Team Player, Communicating Clearly, and Delegating Real Responsibility. This succinct module outlines these pillars of supervisory success. Critical for new supervisors looking to start off on the right foot.

Creative Literacy
  1. Boov Ship Game

    By Page Turner Adventures

    Boov Ship GameLook out! Aliens called “The Boov” have taken over the earth and renamed it Smekland (in honor of glorious Captain Smek). The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex is a truly hilarious book that follows the exploits of a teenaged girl name, Gratuity and a rebel Boov named J.Lo. In this video, teens create their own Boov Ships from marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti. While the book is geared to a teen audience, this activity can be done with any age group.

  2. Dot Painting

    By Page Turner Adventures

    Dot PaintingAboriginal storytellers from Australia pass on their creation myths though paintings created from a series of dots. Symbols hidden within the dots help tell the tale and can only be interpreted by those “in the know.” Kids can create their own stories with cotton swabs and paint, or illustrate traditional myths from the book, Stories from the Billabong. Be sure to check out the glossary of traditional symbols found in the back of the book.

  3. Fairytale Hats

    By Page Turner Adventures

    Fairytale HatsKids who love fractured fairytales will appreciate Bruce Hale’s picture book, Snoring Beauty. In this hilarious take on the classic story, “Beauty” is turned into dragon when the Fairy Godmother gets a little confused. Younger kids will appreciate the fun refrains and fantastic illustrations, while upper elementary age kids will appreciate the humor. In this video, Riley demonstrates how to make fairytale hats from recycled file folders. Princess, wizard, Peter Pan and Robin Hood hats can all be created with some paint and a little imagination. This craft works well with any fairytale or fairytale collection.

  4. Juggling Balls

    By Page Turner Adventures

    Juggling BallsJuggling is a great skill for kids to master. Not only does it increase eye hand coordination, but studies have also shown that it’s actually good for the brain. In this video Kenny demonstrates how to make your own juggling balls out of balloons and birdseed. This project can be done with children ages 9 and up. For a great creative literacy activity, pair this activity with the book Juggler in the Wind, the first part of The Wand Bearer Trilogy, by authors Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin.

  5. Kachina Dolls

    By Page Turner Adventures

    Kachina DollsKachina Dolls represent the masked spirits of the Hopi Native American Tribe. In this video, Riley creates a "Sunface" Kachina from a toilet paper tube. The cutting and the rolling elements of the craft require some dexterity, so it’s perfect for kids 11 and up The base can be premade for younger children who will enjoy decorating their Kachinas (The base can also be used for other types of dolls and characters). While kids are working on the craft, read excerpts from The Kachina Doll Mystery a Nancy Drew Story by Carol Keene.

  6. Leader of the Pack

    By Page Turner Adventures

    Leader of the PackKids love The 39 Clues, a series about two children traveling the globe in a search of a secret that can change the world. There are so many fun activities that can stem from these books including: scavenger hunts, puzzles, secret code games, and the Leader of the Pack relay race featured in this video. This game can be played with several teams and multiple children. Each team must pass objects down the line (over the head and between the legs) to the last child who then has to pack everything in the suitcase and close it before the other team does. The size of the suitcase and the number of objects can vary depending on the age of the kids playing. Just make sure that each suitcase has the same number of items and that they’re all approximately the same size.

  7. Sand Art

    By Page Turner Adventures

    Sand ArtThe Navajo Indians create beautiful, elaborate pictures with sand. Unfortunately, the images last only until the first strong wind comes along. Kids can create a more permanent version of this folk art by using crayons and sandpaper. Young kids will love coloring on the rough surface and experimenting with traditional characters from the book Frog Brings Rain. This picture book by Patricia Hruby Powell features a Navajo creation myth that is told in both English and the Navajo language.

  8. Totem Pole

    By Page Turner Adventures

    Totem PoleIn the book, A Totem Tale: A Tall Story From Alaska, Author Deb Vanasse brings a totem pole to life with beautiful language and imagery. The animal totems dance and play until the sun comes up and they must put themselves back in order or risk being stuck in the land of “Never Here and Almost There.” In this video, Riley demonstrates a fun totem pole craft made from either drink cozies or pool noodles. Counselors can make a totem pole as a prop to help tell the story to young children (who will enjoy knocking the totems down and stacking them up again). Older children can create their own totems and poles and see who can put them in the correct order the fastest.