Camp Woodland Blog

The “S” On Your Chest

Posted by on April 28, 2014


supermanLast week I had the pleasure of hearing Superior Court Judge J Wade Padgett speak for 2 hours on “Teenage Years 101” to the student body at a local high school.  One of the parents whose daughter and son I tutor recommended that I go, not only for the benefit of what I would learn regarding the students with whom I tutor, but she also thought that it would be a good idea because of the work that I do with summer camps.   I have to say that it was an eye-and-ear-opening experience to say the least!  Judge Padgett didn’t sugar coat anything while sharing an important lesson about the consequences of poor choices or decisions made from the minors who have come across his path in the judiciary system.


In addition to covering all of the “usual” risks (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.) that adolescents so often take that may provide a perceived short-term “high”, Padgett also delved into the long-term consequences that may be unknown (losing the privilege to drive, getting an STD, being taking advantage of because of loss of consciousness, etc.).  He gave example after example of “good” kids who made a poor decision, got caught, and are no longer in school, no longer pursuing their dream, or are no longer with us.  In other words, the future is not looking so bright for these folks.  My stomach was in knots throughout his entire presentation, and it was one of the few times that I was part of an audience that was so engaged, you could have heard a pin drop.

ropes course

Judge Padgett also went into various Social Media issues with the students (texting while driving, posting inappropriate pictures, cyber bullying, etc.).  He mentioned an app called “Yik Yak” which apparently gives the capability to send messages anonymously; I had never heard of it, but from what I now know, kids are using it to ambush one another because no one knows the author.  By having the app, it sends out messages to other users by zip code.  Several schools in my area are banning its use by their students because of the potential it has to be anything but nice.


Padgett kept coming back to the “S” that many young people (and adults, too!) wear on their chest…the “S” that says “I am invincible – that won’t happen to me – I would never do that!”.  The “S” that came to mind for me in all of this “doom and gloom” was the “S” that stands for the SOLUTION = SUMMER CAMP!!  The time that kids spend at summer camp allows them to take a break from the many temptations that are out there because the culture is different at camp.  The culture that is the “norm” for campers at Woodland/Towering Pines is to build each other up, not tear each other down; to take risks that are constructive and build confidence with appropriate supervision, skills, and support, not destructive and may cause harm to the person or to others; to get a “high” just from being with your friends in the outdoors while being “unplugged”, not sink “lower” because of poor choices or miss opportunities because of too much “screen-time” and not enough time fostering face-to-face relationships.


Summer camp is one decision that should be easy to make because of the many GOOD consequences that are a result of the experience.  If your daughter comes home this summer with an “S” on her chest, it is because she SUCCEEDED at trying something new, reached a goal she never thought was possible, became more independent, branched out and formed friendships, was a valuable part of a community, had fun being silly and spontaneous…just to name a few!  You will be AMAZED at the confidence she will come away with that will help her navigate the many decisions she will face in her life at home and school.