Originally posted on the American Camping Association Blog
Shimi Kang, MD, is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, researcher, author, and speaker who specializes in adolescence and addiction. She is the author of The Self-Motivated Kid: How to Raise Happy, Healthy Children Who Know What They Want and Go After It (Without Being Told) (2015) and The Dolphin Parent: A Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Self-Motivated Kids (2014), which is a national best-seller and reflects her drive to promote essential health and wellness information relevant to our daily personal and professional lives in an accessible way. One of her focuses is on the physical and mental health benefits of play — a subject on which the camp community has a resounding voice and an important role.
First off, please tell us a little bit about you — your background, your family, your personal mission and what led you to it.
My personal mission is to spread the message that a balanced lifestyle with enough play, social connection, and downtime is vital for human health. My work as a psychiatrist and research in addiction and motivation combined with my experiences as a mom of three kids — ages six, nine, and 11 — led me to this goal. I’m the current medical director of child and youth mental health for the city of Vancouver, and clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia.
Did you ever attend camp? Have any of your children attended camp?
Originally posted on The Greg Hunter Blog by Tom Beaumont
Photo courtesy of The Firs
Our day camp summer staff are often challenged at the beginning of the summer with the story of Jesus as he welcomed the little children to his knee. Metaphorically, the Fircreek corral (gathering place) would become known as the “Lap of God,” welcoming all kids and parents, loving them and serving them, thus clearing a path to Jesus.
During a recent summer season, the Fircreek kids were being taught the Lord’s Prayer and worked together on memorizing it section by section. As Darell, our Fircreek director, was teaching on the words “give us today our daily bread,” he clarified the difference between asking for what we want and asking for what we need. He made it clear that God answers our prayers of need. At this point in the lesson, Darell gave the campers the opportunity to come onstage in front of everyone and to ask God for what they needed. Six campers were chosen randomly from hands raised. One at a time, they made their way to the front, and with all seriousness and sincerity, brought their need to God.
- The first prayer was, “Dear God, please give me a family where I am loved, where I will be safe and where I can stay for a long time. Amen.” (This came from a foster child who recently learned he would never go back to his birth parents).
- The second prayer was, “God, please help my Grandfather. He had a heart attack, fell and broke his neck. He needs to live.”
- The third prayer was, “God, I pray that my parents would respect me and approve of my life,” (from a sixth-grade girl stuck between parents during a very ugly divorce).
There are very few times at Fircreek Day Camp where it is quiet enough to hear a pin drop … this was one of them. These kids were not simply praying a prayer to be heard by their peers, they were talking to God, and everyone there knew it. Camp is where we get to help them find a solution through hope in Jesus. This story is not only reflective of the needs children are facing today but a clear example of the power of camp.