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Character Building

How Summer Camp Builds Character And Improves Self Esteem

Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zones

13754241_1064422800301413_8910543785500335833_nLife begins where your comfort zones end, and coming to camp for seven days structures the opportunity for youth to break the mold of what they are used to and enjoy the chance to develop a side of themselves they may have never known even existed. When youth prove to themselves that they can achieve excellence in a new field, it reminds them of their own inner greatness and that they truly can achieve anything they put their minds toward.

By the end of the school year many times youth are feeling vexed and frustrated by how rigid life has become. The same daily schedule week after week can cause some kids to forget how exciting and spontaneous life can be. Fortunately, this is the time for summer camp!

Achieving Success In Trying New Things

It is human nature to get into a rut with your habitual mode of living, keeping to what you’re used to and clinging to what is familiar. Many times we see others do extraordinary things and falsely believe that they have something special, foreign and alien to ourselves. Just a single week at summer camp is all it takes to remind youth that they too are capable to greatness and achieving success in the pursuits.

When kids and teens come to camp with Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA), they are immediately placed into a new exciting environment where they can try on a new way of being and interacting with the world around them. It usually takes just one day before they have cast off the cloak of resistance and are willing to try out new things and develop new skills.

Upon proving to themselves that they are not only able to perform in new arenas, but can excel and achieve greatness, their sense of self is revitalized and given great momentum, which they bring back to their lives and worlds back home.

Making And Building New Friendships

13729166_1063128577097502_4791515940079251212_nMany kids and teens enjoy coming back together every summer to meet up with friends they only see during the adventures of summer camp, as well as to meet new friends and develop the ability for interpersonal relationships. Living without their smart phones and tablets for a week may be painful at first, but soon allows each participant to enjoy themselves and each other infinitely more.

The opportunity to just be kids enjoying the great outdoors together reignites their passion for life, and reminds them that they are liked and loved by their peers.

During the activities at camp, students are put face to face against their own fears and inhibitions. It is something different for each child, but everyone faces their challenges at a certain point. One of the core themes at MSA camp is teamwork and uplifting encouragement. When youth receive such empowering support from their peers it motivates them to reach for the stars and dream big, reinforcing the fact that the people around them love, appreciate and deeply care for them.

Learning To Set Goals And Persevere

The MSA staff is constantly encouraging campers to ‘persevere’ and ‘never give up’! Counselors encourage each child to set attainable and realistic goals, and then chose a pace they can maintain, allowing them to achieve the results they are seeking. So often times we start off our endeavors with great enthusiasm and courage, but how often do we finish on the same high note? Learning to properly set goals and push them selves past any resistance along the way imparts a very valuable understanding. Rather than seeing obstacles as detrimental, campers are encouraged to see the hurdles and challenges they face along the journey as being instrumental in the personal success they have achieved for themselves.

Rising Above Self-Imposed Limitations, Inhibitions And Aversions

After stepping out of their comfort zones, receiving encouragement for their counselors and peers, and proving to themselves again and again that they are capable of greatness, participants at MSA’s summer camp programs receive a powerful boost of self-esteem and confidence. Their whole self-image is greatly improved.

Before they may have understood that they can achieve what ever they set their minds to, but the experiences they gain at camp prove to themselves once and for all this fact, which becomes a game-changing realization that allows them to transcend their previous self imposed limitations and live life to its fullest each and ever day!

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How To Transcend Irrational Fears And Get Back To Living Life Grand!

Public Enemy No. 1: Your Comfort Zones

13631612_1062928540450839_6861299100847111435_nWhat is it that holds most people back from experiencing something new and exciting; from broadening their horizons and living the kind of life they know they are capable of? Most of the time it is our comfort zones, which are a self-imposed prison we create for ourselves. To experience new results, you will have to try to do things a different way, and that involves stepping out of your habitual tendencies and familiarities.

The need for comfort and familiarity is one of the most basic and deepest of human needs, and although there is nothing wrong with being comfortable this can be the number one thing holding you back from the kind of outrageous success you’ve only dreamt about, yet never the less, you know is entirely possible for your self.

The first step to getting your life back is to be okay with being uncomfortable every now and then, while you expose your self to a new way of being and interacting with your surroundings.

Identifying Rational Versus Irrational Fears

13700030_1064422733634753_7842604307157580518_nFear is a natural part of our circuitry and programming, it is there to keep us safe from death and great harm, however, most of the time the fear we encounter is completely irrational. There are various aversions and hesitations we have that prevent us from expressing ourselves uninhibited and authentically, which we may or may not be conscious of. The first step to over coming irrational fear is to become aware of it and admit to your self that it is, indeed, irrational.

These sorts of fears are usually derived from highly emotionally charged past experiences and the memories that we carry. When we take the courage to release the shackles of fear and aversion, and engage in the experience anyway, a funny thing often happens; we survive! We demonstrate to our subconscious mind that its not that bad after all, and the illusory bubble of fear is burst!

Being Gentle With Your Self And Cutting The Negative Self Talk

When it comes to facing your fears it is important to be very gentle with your self. Maybe you didn’t get it on your first try, but if you turned around and stopped running from fear for your first time it was a huge success! It is vitally important to identify negative self talk and nip it in the bud!

One powerful exercise is to ‘act as if’, and in this case, ‘think as if’. What that means is to think as if you were confident and courageous, what sorts of thoughts would you have? How would you encourage your self and speak to your self in a motivating manner? The subconscious mind does not differentiate between visualization and experience, so the feelings you will develop as a result of this practice become powerful, vivid and real – propelling you towards courageous action.

Taking The Courage To Face Your Fears Head On

Feel the fear and do it any way. It is okay to be afraid, in fact, brave people are not those who do not feel fear; they are people who can feel the fear and not allow it to determine what they are capable of. Courageous people set their own limits and really get to know themselves in relation to their own level of skill and ability. Only when you have liberated your self from fear can you go to the edge of your boundaries, and slowly expand your horizons and develop self-mastery.

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How To Build Character In Your Students Through Hands On Field Science Activities

The scientific method empowers students to apply their cognitive faculties to its optimal potential, deepening their experience of the natural world and enriching their interactions with all life.

Introducing Students To The Scientific Method

IMG_3912_zps185c18d0When students realize for them selves how much fun it is to explore the natural world as a field scientist, it opens up their eyes to the possibilities that await them. This initial awakening to the wonders of science is enough to inspire students to consider pursuing higher education and careers in the various scientific fields.

This is the job of every good science teacher, to awaken a love for science in the hearts of their students by making it a real living breathing aspect of their lives, and displaying how to apply the scientific method to explore their own thoughts and ideas.

Applying Scientific Principles To Daily Life

IMG_2405_zps364e8fbeGood science is all about asking the right questions, and learning how to perceive the topic of your research with greater awareness. The more students learn to observe their environment, the more they can notice the patterns and interrelationships as they unfold, and use this data to apply towards developing their own theories.

In this way, the mental faculties of each student are allowed to fully blossom. Their ability to problem and engage in critical thinking is approved, as well. Field science teaches students to use their mind as a tool for understanding their surroundings, allowing them to make better life choices and healthier decisions.

Seeing The World Through The Eyes Of A Scientist

An incredible thing happens when a student becomes passionate about science, they are able to immerse themselves in experiencing life with heightened sensitivity and awareness. They begin to notice the smaller details and intricate aspects of so many things they overlooked before. Their ability to think objectively and analyze the relevancy of various facts is improved, as they learn how to harness the discriminative powers of their own minds.

Taking It A Step Further

There are many ways a science teacher can go about imparting a personal love and passion for science in their students. One of the best ways is teaching how to keep and use a field journal. The field journal personalizes the process of scientific research, and gives each student a departure point to develop his or her ideas into a hypothesis or theory.

By teaching your students how to keep a field journal, you are giving them all they need to take their understanding of science and apply it to their lives, where they can discover for themselves just how exciting the world of natural sciences truly is.

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How MSA Inspires Youth To Dream Big and Reach For The Stars

credit-AnneFMaben67Our Central Theme: Break Your Fears!

When students come out to Mountain and Sea Adventure’s life-changing outdoor education program on Catalina Island, or Big Bear, they have the opportunity to explore their talents and abilities in a safe environment, allowing them to overcome their fears and inhibitions with the support of their instructors, teachers and peers.

What holds people back from reaching their fullest potential and living the life of their dreams? Fear manifests in many ways, from fear of failure to fear of success. Many times people fear that they are not worthy of success, and set their own limits for what they are capable of achieving.

MSA’s program is unlike any other; giving students the opportunity to do many activities they may have never had the chance to experience for themselves. Activities such as snorkeling and kayaking gently push students to the boundaries of their comfort zone, where the MSA staff then supports and encourages them towards achieving what they previously thought they were incapable of. Even something as simple as putting on a wetsuit, strapping a snorkel on to your face, and taking your first breath with your head submerged in the water is enough to shatter paradigms and inspire youth to continue surpassing their own limitations.

Perseverance: Never Give Up!

credit-AnneFMaben58So often in life we start out on a new endeavor with great enthusiasm and hope, but how often do we finish what we start with the same amount of zeal? Perseverance is incredibly vital for achieving our ambitions and fulfilling our greatest potential.

The MSA staff teaches students to harness their enthusiasm and excitement by choosing a pace they know they can maintain, to avoid burning themselves out, and the importance of setting small achievable benchmarks along the way towards manifesting their overall goals.

Activities such as hiking and kayaking provide the ideal setting to drive these points home, and impart a personal experience that makes it real and remains with the student forever.

A Transformational Camp Experience

People learn and grow the fastest when they are placed outside their comfort zones, and have the guidance necessary to overcome all resistance. MSA’s science camp program provides just the venue for such personal growth to occur, with the MSA staff there to encourage and inspire each student to reach for the stars and achieve greatness.

Campers encourage each other to overcome their inhibitions to the unfamiliar world of snorkeling!

Campers encourage each other to overcome their inhibitions to the unfamiliar world of snorkeling!

In the process of the camp program, students overcome their own fears that were previously holding them back, and they prove to themselves again and again that they can indeed do what they previously thought they could not.

With the positive reinforcement of their teachers, camp instructors and classmates, students are repeatedly given structured opportunities to achieve greatness, and to surpass their own limitations and self-expectations.

Building Self Esteem and a Healthy Self Image

The result of the MSA camp experience is an improved self-image for all whom attend, from students to teachers and chaperones. For some, just coming out to camp and roughing it with their students for a week reminds them that they are indeed cut out for greatness! If this can improve your own self-confidence, just imagine what it does for your students!

Students thrive from their camp experience. After proving to themselves that they are greater than their fears, can achieve greatness on a daily basis, and accomplish can accomplish anything they set their mind to, the self image and self esteem of each camper is improved drastically.

With a greater sense of self, the lives of each student are enriched in every way. Students perform better in their studies, choose healthy friendships, and inspire others to achieve personal greatness, as well.

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Where Scientists Are Born: Marine Biology Youth Camp on Catalina Island

Marine Biology Youth Camp

Catalina Island is a magical destination and one of the most rich and abundant natural resources in California. When visiting Catalina Island, which is less than twenty miles off short Los Angeles, students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range to educational and adventurous marine biology activities, such as snorkeling at one of the most desirable locations in the world, kayaking, dissecting squid, trawling for plankton and then observing them beneath microscopes, hiking the various trails that surround the camp, and lots more!

While snorkeling students get to see Garibaldi, opaleye, kelp bass, leopard sharks, shovelnose guitarfish, as well as the occasional seal, sea lion and/or dolphin visit! On land students may seem several endemic species of birds and mammals such as the quail, ground squirrel and fox.

The Natural Beauty of Catalina Island

Catalina Island is seventy-four miles of ecological preserve, with some of the most breathtaking landscape in California. Marine biology youth camp at Catalina Island is a rare and extremely valuable opportunity to immerse your students in the unspoiled beauty of nature.

With forty-eight miles of coastline, Catalina Island has a seemingly endless variety of marine and terrestrial habitats. There is an abundant of plant and wildlife, which makes this an ideal location to impart a passion for learning natural science and use the scientific method to explore nature, and arrive at your own conclusions and theories.

Learning To Observe The World Like A Field Biologist

For those interested in marine biology, camp at Catalina Island is the perfect chance to develop that interest and ‘try out’ life as an actual marine biologist field scientist. Students learn to keep a field journal and are taught to observe the world around them through the eyes of a scientist.

This full immersion into natural sciences sparks a deep love and appreciation for marine biology, and many do end up going back home and pursuing an higher education academic goal.

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The Life Changing Impact of Environmental Science Youth Camp On Catalina Island

Just eighteen miles off the coast of Los Angeles lay Santa Catalina Island, one of the largest island nature reserves in the world. With over 74 square miles of breathtaking landscape, Catalina Island is one of the most valuable natural resources in California.

Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) has been running youth programs on the island since 1998, and continues to bring thousands of students from around the Southwest to Catalina Island every year. Spending time in this beautiful ecological preserve gives youth a personal first-hand experience of the natural world, and from there – a personal appreciation and love develops. If it is true that we only preserve what we love, then MSA’s program is instrumental in providing the very experiences which inspire that very love for the natural environment in their hearts.

The Splendid Natural Beauty and Wonder of Emerald Bay

MSA runs their program at one of the most desirable and ecological diverse coves on Catalina Island, Emerald Bay. The facilities are just as impressive as the scenic beauty both inside and outside the beautiful emerald colored water. Resources such as the Pennington Marine Science Center, which has a salt water aquarium with displays of all the major ecosystems surrounding Emerald Bay, as well as multiple touch tanks, microscope labs and classrooms.

Surrounding Emerald Bay is the natural beauty of the ecological reserve, maintained by the Catalina Island Conservancy, with endless scenic views of untouched island coastline, rolling chaparral hills, and an abundance of wildlife such as Catalina Island Fox (endemic only to this island), mule deer, bison, and a wide variety of marine and terrestrial birds, including bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, ravens, and rare migratory birds that travel thousands of miles such as arctic terns.

Why Children Love Environmental Science

One of the reasons Catalina Island is such a popular and desirable location to take groups and classes for the camp experience is because it is just remote enough to feel like they have left the country (kids often times think this!), but yet they are still in a safe, protected and well-connected, yet rustic location.

Camp is a safe place where students can let their guard down and just ‘be kids’. They are free to play and discover how fun and exciting the world of natural science really is! Camp program is always an adventure, and the line between ‘academic’ and ‘recreational’ time becomes less and less clear. That is because learning is fun, and all it takes is placing children in the right conditions for that realization to take place for them.

Outdoor Education Imparts A Love For The Natural Environment

When ‘play time’ becomes ‘learning time’, and vice versa, students are ready to apply themselves and participate in the outdoor educational program activities with greater interest and enjoyment, and therefore gain much more from it. With this total interest, students are immersed into their environment, and with the tools given to them during the lecture phase by their instructor – they are able to observe and interact with their surroundings like true field biologists.

Such full immersion into the awe-inspiring beauty of an ecological preserve like Catalina Island imparts the type of appreciation and love for the environment that transforms the student’s perspective for life.

Outdoor education is unique in its capacity to ignite a love for the environment, not only do students immerse themselves in the great outdoors through the activities, but they are taught valuable information regarding the various animals they may encounter, as well as a method for observing, recording data and studying them.

Students are both fully immersed and fully attentive, learning to observe their environment like field scientists. They then take their observations back to their outdoor classroom and develop testable hypothesis. In this way, the scientific method becomes a tool for taking their personal immersion into the natural world deeper and deeper.

Protecting What We Love

With such a rich personal experience of the natural world, students are often moved towards increasing their efforts to be more environmentally conscious and friendly. Those experiences at camp become deeply cherished memories, resulting in a deep love for these preserved places in nature. The vital importance of conserving them becomes increasingly more apparent.

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How To Build Intrigue For Environmental Science In The Heart Of Your Students!

Children love to play, but what if they could be taught to play in a way that enriches their encounters with the natural world and empowers them to bring their imaginative creations and thoughts to life!

Science is the bridge between fantasy and reality. The imagination is the first and most important laboratory for any scientist, no matter what their field of expertise. It is in the imagination of the scientist that the most important data, the results to experiments, and other various factors are put to the test.

The truth is, science is where the wonder that comes so naturally to children is kept alive, and is the platform that allows that wonder to be sustained and truly blossom. Science in and of itself is exciting enough as it is, a science teacher does not need to do so much to make science more exciting, they only need to reveal to their students that when they wake up to seeing the magnificence of the natural world around them, there is truly nothing more exciting than science!

The scientific method is a model for absorbing your self completely in the natural world, developing a more sensitive and acute perception of nature, and intensifying your interactions with that through heightened awareness, sustained observation, and controlled experimentation.

Science Is The Ultimate Platform For Imaginative Exploration

One of the first lessons that inspire students to think outside the box regarding the world of science is the understanding that science is fueled by, and facilitated by a strong and active imagination. Especially in the modern context of particle physics, quantum mechanics, string theories, etc., a vivid imagination is more important that ever.

Many of the greatest and most profound discoveries in the field of science were first born in the imaginations of the minds of the individual scientists, who then experimented and applied their abstract mental visions to the practical material world.

This process of experimenting and observing the results of your own visions is about as exciting as bringing the make believe world of fantasy into the living breathing dimension of reality! Imagine the thrill of scientifically proving that a vision you had in your imagination is accurate, tangible and real!

Learning How To Observe And Think For Your Self

A scientist is taught to ask questions, and to use deductive reasoning to separate fact from fiction. Each individual observer is urged to stand on their own two feet and use their own mental faculties to derive their own personal conclusions.

This is incredibly important for the intellectual development of each individual student. Rather than merely memorizing facts and regurgitating the same information that was spoon fed to them, students learn how to view things objectively, how to organize and process information, and to observe and scrutinize the testable factors through controlled experimentation.

The World Is Your Field Science Laboratory

Once the first epiphany regarding the intellectually empowering aspects of science has been realized, the student of natural sciences now begins to perceive and experience the world around them differently. Now they are able to fully utilize the potential of the human brain, and tune the instrument of their mind to perceive the patterns in nature to subtler and finer degrees.

When one learns to observe their natural surroundings from the perspective of a field biologist, the endless wonder and excitement of life is ever present. It is this very sense of wonder that is the natural domain of the scientist, who uses this wonder and curiosity to explore and derive their own logical explanations and physical demonstrations.

Developing and Proving Your Own Scientific Theories

The scientific method is nothing less than the process of bringing the dimension of abstract mental thought to concrete material reality. One completely immerses themselves in the observation of patterns and interrelationships between the various factors influencing the object of their research. Once enough data has been collected and analyzed, one can begin deriving his or her own conclusions by utilizing the greatest tool for any scientist, the imagination.

In the imagination of the scientist various possible theories are developed. The scientist will test a theory by formulating various hypothesis, a projected result or expectations, and updating it with the results of various experiments.

When a hypothesis has been adequately tested and proven, it then becomes a theory.

These terms are often times confused; yet they are each a separate phase of the scientific method, and their purpose should be well understood…

Fact: Observations regarding an aspect of the world around us. Such as: “It’s hot outside.”

Hypothesis: A possible explanation for an occurrence, pattern or phenomenon made as a departure point for further experimentation. Example: “It’s hot outside because the sun is out.”

Theory: A proposed conclusion with substantial proof derived from applying the scientific method, and validated through observation and experimentation. Example: “When the sun is out, it tends to make it hot outside.”

Law: A final statement based on continued experimental observations that explain some phenomenon of nature. A law involves a description about how something, but not necessarily why it happened. Example: Newton’s First Law of Motion.

The best way you can impart a passion for natural science in your students is to fuel your own passions and interests first and foremost. The more excited you get about science, the more you are able to convey the true spirit of science to your pupils.

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Building World Changers! MSA’s Life-Changing Outdoor Educational Programs

Break Your Fears!

The main motto at Mountain and Sea Adventures (MSA) is “break your fears”! We encourage youth to face their fears and inhibitions and take action steps towards overcoming them. When youth realize they can achieve what ever they set their focus on, it empowers them to have the courage to set dreams and goals, and work diligently towards achieving them.

Fear is natural, and is there to protect us, however some fears are rational, whereas others are not. Being afraid is okay, but being controlled and making your life decisions based on that fear is detrimental towards reaching our full potential in many ways.

Being courageous is the main character trait we focus on because it is the value we use to develop all the others. In the process of developing perseverance, honesty, and other altruistic traits, we must take up courage again and again.

Imparting Character and High Self Esteem

Going beyond what you previously thought was possible for your self is very empowering and uplifting, and reminds you that you truly can achieve what ever you set your goals on.

Camp gives students the structured opportunities to overcome fear and aversion, and the experiences that improve their self-image and esteem. They return to their home environments with a renewed sense of self worth and confidence.

Dream Big and Reach For The Stars!

Each of us is capable of achieving greatness. One of the most courageous acts of all is to truly believe in your self, reach for that greatness and refuse to settle for less. To let our natural talents blossom and give fruit, require a certain amount of self-love and acceptance.

MSA’s highly inspirational youth camp programs impart the experiences that build high self-esteem and develop a healthy amount of self-love. From here, the sky is the limit!

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Empowering World Changers! MSA’s Core Character Building Values

Campers encourage each other to overcome their inhibitions to the unfamiliar world of snorkeling!

Campers encourage each other to overcome their inhibitions to the unfamiliar world of snorkeling!

When teachers bring their students to science camp at Mountain and Sea Adventures, they are giving them the opportunity to explore sides of themselves they have never known about, to develop various altruistic character traits, and to build high self-esteem by overcoming fears and challenges.

Break Your Fears!

The central theme and core character trait that the MSA staff is constantly imparting to campers is to rise above your fears and inhibitions, and take a leap of courage. Campers are continually being reminded to discern between rational and irrational fears, and to not allow our fears to control our lives. Fear is natural, but rather than giving in to fear and allowing it to dictate our lives, the MSA staff models and guides youth to face their challenges and take command.

Perseverance – Never Give Up!

Perseverance is the second character trait we focus on during the campers time at camp. During this time, campers are given the opportunity to try many outdoor activities that they may be hesitant to try.

189208_155722647838104_582811_nActivities such as snorkeling, kayaking and going down the zip-line all take youth to the edge of their comfort zone, and beyond. Upon proving to themselves that they can achieve what they previously thought they couldn’t, they receive a boost of self confidence and their self esteem is strengthened.

Some of the activities are straining and present a challenge, during these times of challenge the students are encouraged by the MSA staff to persevere and focus on their objective.

Environmental Stewardship

From the moment students step off the ferry and arrive to camp at Emerald Bay, Catalina, they begin to experience the natural beauty of one of the largest ecological preserve islands in the world.

We encourage the students to become increasingly more and more aware of their surroundings, and to appreciate the precious resource that is the ocean environment.

MSA provides youth with first-hand experiences of the ocean. Experience is the key to developing the awareness for the marine environment that becomes a love and resolve for protecting and preserving this most vital of natural resources.

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