At Camp Wood YMCA we encourage all our campers to just be who they are. To “Be You” means to be proud of who you are and to not let others tear you down and tell you to be someone that you aren’t. During a week of camp, we are given a great gift to witness amazing, kids be who they really are outside of everyday pressures. They have opportunities to choose their own passions and be proud of their accomplishments. But having confidence and a strong sense of self is something that can be built just like any other skill. Here are a few things you can do at home to help your child gain some healthy self-esteem and just be who they are even outside of camp.


1.      Be You!

When you are proud of who YOU are then they can rest assured knowing that it is also okay to be who they are without fear. As adults we are always trying to improve ourselves. Whether it’s our health or wealth or even happiness, we rarely just be. Let your kids see you be proud of who you are now, not what you hope to become later. Embrace your passions, whatever they may be or how old you are. Be proud of the skin you’re in and take care of it because it’s yours. Don’t shy away from the things that scare you. Face your fears with joy and excitement. Let your child see what confidence really looks like and they won’t be able to help but follow suit.


2.      Challenge Them!

During the summer, campers can try new things all week long. We encourage them to face their fears and push themselves outside of their comfort zone. Whether it’s meeting new people, riding horses, getting in a lake or even camping outside, these kids can overcome challenges and gain pride in themselves in a short amount of time. It’s sometimes hard to see our children struggle and it’s definitely difficult to watch their fear but, when they safely see the other side of that mountain that they have overcome on their own, it makes the challenge worth it. Give them opportunities to face fears and trials no matter how small. It might be tempting to do it for them but instead encourage them and let them know they are capable. The more they feel that feeling of accomplishment in something they have done on their own, the more they will want it to happen again and again.


3.      I’m Third!

“I’m Third” can mean different things to different people but in general the idea is to put something bigger than you first. Whatever that may mean to you and your family, having faith in something that grounds your kids in perspective and consistency gives them strength when things are scary. Unfortunately, the more confidence they have, the more someone is going to come along and try to tear it down. Having a consistent strength greater than they are can help them through those tough times and will make it that much easier. Putting others before them as well can help your child stay grounded in their confidence. Nothing gives a person a higher self-esteem then knowing that they have a purpose and are needed in this world. Give them opportunities to serve and give to others so they can feel pride in knowing this world is a better place because of who they are.  Lastly, being third doesn’t mean they aren’t important. In fact, just the opposite is true. They are an intricate and treasured piece to the “I’m Third” equation. Being who they are, is exactly what this world needs them to be. Let them know that this world is greater, better and more valuable because of who they are.