How to be a Great Cabin Leader and Make it...

How to be a Great Cabin Leader and Make it Look Easy
YOU are one of the most important people at The Mosaic Project’s outdoor school. Your positive
energy, support and good judgment are a vital part of our program. This information is designed to
help you deal positively and effectively with your students. Please read it carefully. It can make all
the difference in a successful program for you and your students.
Please remember that this is a round-the-clock job. In accepting this position, you are accepting
responsibility for the children assigned to your care. Each Cabin Leader must have a genuine
affection for young people in order to do a good job. If need be, you must be willing to give extra
time and help to those who need it.
Our outdoor school must have regular routines and certain rules so all can live together in the
greatest harmony. Rules and routines are designed not to be confining, but to develop a
cooperative community spirit, which ultimately allows greater freedom and a more rewarding
experience for all. You are responsible for seeing that all outdoor school routines and rules are
followed by both you and the students. Remember that discipline is guidance and therefore, must
be consistent. You are not a dictator whose sole purpose is the enforcement of necessary rules.
Rather, you are a vital part in making the outdoor school a working example of cooperative,
democratic living. We all must be committed to these principles at the outdoor school.
GENERAL RESPONIBILITIES
Child Care
1. Rest is very important for the children’s well being. Not only do children tend to stay awake later
at the outdoor school, but they also awaken early, especially on the first morning. Please keep your
group quiet until it is time to get up.
2. The time between wake-up and breakfast is a good time to see that everyone observes personal
health routines (using the bathroom, brushing teeth, washing up). Everyone should take at least
two showers during the week. Clean kids are happy kids.
3. All injuries or illnesses, no matter how minor they may seem, must be reported immediately to a
Director.
4. Be aware of each child’s well being. Bring any unusual problems to the attention of the Director
(homesickness, symptoms of illness, confrontational behavior).
8-1
Meals
1. Please be prompt for each meal. Think ahead and make sure your group is ready and on time.
This is especially important if you are on KP and your cabin has to set up the dining hall before a
meal.
2. Meals should be a pleasant time to share daily experiences. Set a good example through your
manners. You are the host at your table.
Activities
1. Your enthusiasm and active participation is extremely important. Your example will encourage
the students to participate and increase their interest in learning. It is often tempting to join another
Cabin Leader and pull apart from the group during an activity. Please stay focused on the kids and
the activities.
2. Be aware of where each student is. If you start to fall behind the group in waiting for a child,
please let another staff member know immediately.
3. Encourage the use of restrooms before any activity, but especially before a hike. However, be
supportive if a child needs to go later.
4. You and the staff member assigned to your cabin are considered a teaching team for cabin
group activities. You will also be assigned to a sharing group, a mix-gendered group of about 16
children which is unrelated to the cabin groups. You will be responsible for assisting the staff in
implementing the curriculum. You are encouraged to give input, challenge the students with
questions, and to otherwise aid all staff you work with during activities. If you wish to lead an
activity, art project, or game for everyone, please discuss it with the Director. Your input is greatly
appreciated!
5. Learn to recognize and avoid poison oak! Encourage the kids to check themselves for ticks!
Free Time
1. Cabin Leaders supervise the students during this time. You should always know where the
children are when you are on duty. This is not a time to socialize with other Cabin Leaders. If you
are in an area with several Cabin Leaders and few children, please go to where more of the
children are.
2. This is a time for the kids to swim, take showers, write letters, rest, socialize or play in organized
games. The cabin area is for more quiet activities, while the ball field is for active games.
Cabin Leader Meetings
There will be an opportunity for you to meet with the Interns, Youth Leadership Director, and other
Cabin Leaders each day to discuss what is going on and help you with questions you may have
about your students. This is a group process with everyone present sharing ideas and concerns.
Evening Activities
Again, your enthusiasm and participation will instill the same in the students. Sing, dance, get
crazy! Be aware of children who are on the sidelines. Sometimes a word or smile will get a child
involved in the action.
Bedtime
1. Make sure the kids use the bathroom, brush their teeth and wash up before bed. Everyone
should wear clean clothing to bed.
2. Usually, the kids are too excited to fall asleep right away on the first night. For everyone’s
health, try to slow the children down so that sleep will come easier. Please read stories to the kids.
3. We need to ask you to go to bed when your group does. Homesick or nervous children need to
know that there is someone in the cabin with them at all times.
4. Let your students know that if they have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, they
may wake you up to accompany them. Let them know that if they wake up and do not see you in
8-2
the cabin, it means you are going to the bathroom with another student and that you will be back
shortly.
Emergencies
1. In any emergency, it is extremely important that you act with maturity, common sense and calm.
Panic is the most dangerous reaction. Cooperate completely with the Directors and staff. Try to
keep the rest of the group away from the affected student.
2. If an emergency alarm is sounded, all cabin groups will walk to the ball field. You will be
responsible to make sure your entire cabin group is there and immediately report anyone who is
missing.
3. As mentioned before, any injury, even a minor one, must be reported to the Director. Cabin
Leaders should not administer 1st aid unless absolutely necessary. Do not move a seriously injured
child.
GENERAL RULES
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Be on time for all activities.
No one is to leave the camp area without the permission of the Directors.
All equipment and facilities at the outdoor school should be handled with care.
Rock (and cookie) throwing is fun, but can be dangerous. It is not allowed.
Try to pick up any unnatural litter.
No one is allowed in another’s cabin.
Cabins are to be kept neat and clean.
No food can be taken from the dining hall.
No one may be excused from an activity without staff permission.
These guidelines have been designed to provide the safest possible program.
TIPS ON DEALING WITH STUDENTS
Children are people too!
In relating to the children, it is best to be yourself. We want you to bring your own unique talents
and personality to this program. Also realize that you are on display. Who you are and what you
do may affect your students much more than what you say. Your actions will often become the
accepted norm of your group. Make yourself the best role model possible. Your positive attitude
and enthusiasm will have a direct effect on student’s attitudes and successful participation in the
program.
Respect the children’s rights as humans beings at all times.
Admit when you don’t know answers, but brainstorm solutions.
What you say to kids gets back to parents, often in an exaggerated form. Be careful!
Try to give all your cabin members equal attention. Each one wants to be your “favorite”.
Often, the most angry and difficult child is actually the one who needs care and affection most.
Try to give as much positive attention as possible, even when you feel it isn’t deserved.
Avoid sarcasm - it kills curiosity.
Laugh with kids, not at them.
It is not okay to frighten students. Absolutely no scary stories!
8-3
Cabin Pride
Remember, your cabin is a single unit, a team, and a family for the week. If anyone is shunned or
left out, your group is divided. Give the kids positive reinforcement when they are working together:
cleaning, supporting each other, working on a skit, etc.
Handling Problems
Work through problems as a group.
Keep your group active and interested.
Be firm and consistent in a caring manner.
Be rational, even if you are angry. NEVER act in anger.
Try to talk out arguments with involved parties.
Give an angry child time to cool-off.
Physical force, threats or intimidation should NEVER be used.
Do not hesitate to ask for assistance!
Be good to yourself and stay positive. This is a tough job! There is a reason people don’t
usually give birth to 5-10 kids at a time! Know that you are making a difference in the lives
of children. ☺
8-4
Common Issues (and how to deal!)
1. Headaches
Headaches are a symptom of many things: dehydration, fever, constipation, homesickness.
Make sure the student does not have a fever. Once that is ruled out, give her/him a lot of water.
EmergenCs are a good tool because they not only give students vitamins and re-hydrate, but
they also work as a placebo and help to make them feel well cared for without giving them
actual medicine.
In a private setting, once the student feels comfortable around you, you need to ask about
bowel movements. Because a headache can be a sign of constipation, this must be
considered. See info on constipation below.
2. Stomach Aches
Questions to ask: Where does it hurt? Have you felt this way before? How long have you felt
like this during the program? Have you been eating what would be a normal amount for you?
Have you eaten anything you don’t normally eat? When was the last time you used the
bathroom? What was the consistency? (For girls, keep in the back of your mind the possibility
of menstruation).
Constipation. This is a big problem at an outdoor school. Kids feel uncomfortable using public
bathrooms and may avoid them at all costs. This on top of a new, unfamiliar schedule, new
foods, and less fluid intake may all lead to a back-up of sorts. Thursday is a big day for this,
because it may have been three days since a bowel movement and they really start to feel it.
We call this, “a Case of the Thursdays.” What to do:
a.) Have them drink a lot of water-- at least 16 oz.
b.) Give prunes (3 or 4) or prune juice. This is unpopular, but helpful. Apples can work too.
c.) EmergenCs
d.) Do the “Happy Baby” yoga pose.
e.) A children’s book, a clean toilet and privacy. The Club Med one is a good one.
f.) Be conscientious regarding bathroom time.
Diarrhea. Avoid medicine! Typical medication just plugs you up, and that is not what you want
initially. Let it flow. Students are unlikely to be far from a toilet during the program. Make sure
they are more than adequately hydrated. They should be drinking at least twice the amount of
water they would drink otherwise. Check on the student frequently. Alert the Director.
3. Homesickness
If a student can’t seem to pinpoint exactly what is wrong, they may be experiencing
homesickness. Some questions to ask: Have you ever been away from home (and parents) this
long before? How are you feeling about that? How is your cabin group? How are you liking
outdoor school? Are you feeling comfortable in your cabin? These questions could lead to a
revelation of homesickness. If so, give the students tools.
a.) Keep them busy
b.) Missing home usually happens during quiet time, therefore that time should be spent
focusing on things other than family. For instance, rather than looking at pictures of family and
writing letters home during free time and before bed, homesick kids should read a book or do
something else which takes their mind off of home.
c.) Give homesick kids special tasks to keep them occupied. Spend one-on-one time with them
if possible, and help them to focus on fun.
Keep in mind that these problems may all be related. A child may feel homesick
because they are feeling ill, or they may feel sick to their stomachs because they
miss home.
8-5
Stages of a Group’s Life/ Appropriate Leadership
Stages of a group’s life:
Leadership Style appropriate to the given stage:
1. Forming
Take a very active role; create a safe environment.
2. Storming
Keep things in perspective; choose your battles
judiciously; be firm when appropriate; allow the group to
participate in monitoring itself.
3. Performing/ Norming
Let things hum; take the back seat.
4. Mourning/ Transforming
Create conditions for friendships and for the group to
prepare for goodbyes.
8-6
Stages of a Group’s Life: A Complete View
Stage I: Forming
Behaviors
Feelings
-Polite
-Superficial
-Checking each other
out
-Seeking out
commonalities
-Anxious
-Homesickness
-Concern for
acceptance
Leader
Goals
-Create fun
-Break down barriers
-Assist in finding
commonalities
-Assure safety & Instill
confidence
-Help students express
fears, concerns, goals
& expectations
- Directive leadership style
Activities
-Name games
-Get to know you games
-Values
-Trust activities
-Active, fun New Games
-Discuss fears
-Discuss rules -- get group
to generate them
-Easier Group Challenges
Stage II: Storming
Behaviors
Feelings
-Testing leadership
-Asserting independence
-Cliquing
-Scapegoating
-Romantic involvements
-Am I fitting in?
-Am I in the “in” group?
-Dislike of leaders
-Letting down guard/
feeling more at ease
Leader
Goals
Activities
-Create situations where
group must work as one
-Allow stressful
situations
-Coaching and directive
leadership style
-More Group
Challenges
-Deeper get to know you
-What’s working/what’s not
-Discuss how group
makes decisions
-Deal firmly with rule-breaking
Stage III: Performing/Norming
Leader
Goals
Behaviors
Feelings
-Working well together
-Taking everyone into
consideration
-Taking on tasks &
completing them on
their own
-Satisfaction
-Pride
-Joy at being in the flow
-Supportive leadership
-Become part of the group
-Get closer to students
- Coaching leadership style
Activities
-Students run activities
-A show/performance
-Difficult Group Challenges
Stage IV: Mourning/Transforming
Leader
Goals
Behaviors
Feelings
-Cliquing
-Meanness can reappear
-Testing leadership
-Rule breaking
-Insensitivity to others
-Bizarre, unexpected stuff
-Anxious about going
-Assist them in
home
completing successfully
-Sad, depressed, excited -Break previous
-Distracted from the
unsuccessful patterns of
program
completion
-Less involved
-Help them feel OK about
ending
8-7
Activities
-Reminiscing
-Best & worst
-Appreciation circle
-Closing performance
- Reviewing fears/new
ones for home
-Reviewing goals - were
they accomplished?
-Writing letters to
themselves that you
mail later
-Closing Ceremony
Feedback
Feedback is a way of helping other people to consider changing their behavior. It is communication
to a person (or a group) which gives that person information about how he or she affects others.
The following comments on feedback may prove helpful:
•
It is descriptive rather than evaluative. By describing one’s own reaction, it leaves the
individual free to use it or not use it as s/he sees fit. By avoiding evaluative language, it
reduces the need for the individual to respond defensively.
•
It is specific rather than general. To be told that one is “dominating” will probably not be as
useful as to be told, “Just now when we were deciding the issue, I’m not sure you were
listening to what others said. I felt forced to accept your arguments or face attack from you.”
•
It takes into account the needs of both the receiver and the giver of the feedback.
Feedback can be destructive when it serves only our own need, and fails to consider the
needs of the person on the receiving end.
•
It is directed toward the behavior which the receiver can do something about.
Frustration is only increased when a person is reminded of some shortcoming over which he
or she has no control.
•
It is solicited, rather than being imposed. Feedback is most useful when the receiver
himself has formulated the kind of question which those observing him can answer. Be
careful about asking the receiver, “Can I give you some feedback?” Many people may not
feel like they can say no, even if they do not want to receive feedback at that moment.
Feedback given after a “yes” response to that question may still be considered imposed.
The question also can be interpreted as condescending.
•
It is well timed. In general, feedback is most useful at the earliest opportunity after the given
behavior (depending of course, on the person’s readiness to hear it, support available from
others, etc.)
•
It is checked to insure clear communication. One way of doing this is to have the receiver
try to rephrase the feedback he has received to see if it corresponds to what the sender had
in mind.
Non-facilitative ways of communicating:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Ignoring or not listening.
Cross complaining — when each person states a complaint in response to a complaint
and they keep drifting into other problem areas until they end up dragging in the kitchen
sink.
Mind reading — when one person assumes that he or she knows what the other is thinking
or feeling without asking.
“Yes, butting” — consistently rejecting the other’s views.
Interrupting.
Insults and character assassinations, attributing bad or insulting characteristics, namecalling, attacking with all-encompassing criticisms which leave the impression that there is
8-8
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
no possibility for improvement (i.e., “You never do anything right.”).
Threatening.
Being vague and general — using statements that describe behavior with words so
general that the other person doesn’t know what you mean, (i.e. “You’re such a slob” vs.
“Your toiletries are all over the bathroom counter and your clothes are in a heap on the
floor.”)
Judging or moralizing.
Excessive or inappropriate questioning.
Giving unsolicited advice.
Diverting — switching a topic from the other person’s concerns to your own.
Avoiding the other person’s feelings by using reassurance.
Overlong statements which take more than a minute, without giving the other person a
chance to respond
Authoritative or pejorative statements, such as “You are bad,” or “what you ought to do
is…"
Defending oneself, which tends to keep the discussion on a level of what is right, justified,
or good or who is at fault, rather than trying to find solutions to maximize happiness for
everyone involved.
Verbal-nonverbal incongruity, (i.e., saying, "I’m not angry” with clenched fists, rigid
posture, stiff voice and diverted eye.)
Expressing dissatisfaction through a third party.
Silent resentment — feeling of resentment without telling the resented person.
Acting out anger— doing something to hurt another person as a way of getting revenge.
Sarcasm which allows the sender of the message to avoid responsibility for the hostile
feelings.
Facilitative ways of communicating:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Expressing positive feelings and appreciation.
Being specific and non-judgmental in stating a problem.
Sticking to one issue at a time.
Admitting your role in the problem. Ask, “What can WE do to eliminate this problem?”
Reflectively listening — reflect not only content, but feelings and meanings. Paraphrase,
summarize and validate.
Empathizing — Get into the other person's shoes and see why he or she feels that way.
Using “I" statements — "I want… I feel... I like... I don’t like... I intend...”
Using open-ended questions that ask for more than a “yes" or "no" answer.
Agreeing with part of a criticism or argument that may be accurate.
Asking for more specific criticism by asking what specific behaviors the critic didn’t like,
and by asking what specific behaviors the critic would have wanted or would like in the
future.
Offering options rather that ordering the other person’s behavior, and let the other person
select from a range of choices.
Negotiating or compromising.
Expressing mixed feelings —describe both your positive and negative feelings and
explain why your feelings are mixed.
Asking for feedback.
Giving non-verbal positive messages and touches
Asking for a “timeout” if circumstances aren’t appropriate for you to give full attention.
8-9
Commitment to Fellow Leaders
I promise to love, cherish, and assist you, my fellow leader, as you boldly step forward to do this
important work. I promise to remember that I have infinite respect, consideration, patience, and
gratitude for you, and I will always treat you accordingly.
I recognize my own importance in our partnership and in the world, and that everything I choose to
do or not to do has a significant impact on you and your leadership. Given this understanding, I
promise that I will never, ever treat you unawarely, attack you, criticize you, abandon you, or
undercut your courageous leadership in any way whatsoever, nor will I ever collude with or allow
anyone else to do so, either in your presence, or when you are not around.
I promise that in any way I see distress or misinformation holding you back or distorting your efforts,
I will personally either provide or assure information and counseling assistance that is loving,
thoughtful, and effective. I promise to always remember that I am your student, peer, and your
teacher, and that any feeling of powerlessness or victimization that may come up around you is only
a distress recording.
I promise to discharge or leave behind any feeling of competition, and to remember that we are in
fact partners, headed toward a common human goal and vision. I will steadfastly defend you, stand
up for you, and assist you, so that you are safe, cherished, and well-loved, and so that you are free
to lead to the full extent of your power and brilliance.
Burlington, VT
8-10
Mosaic Mythology:
From Fairies to Future People
The following is based, in part, on what has been set up as part of the curriculum and, in part, on
what just happened to evolve over the last several years as the students and staff experienced a
little Mosaic magic. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of new facts and stories to add this year, but the
details below will help us to all start on the same page. Our consistency will help everyone to
suspend disbelief. Please remember that none of this should be used to scare the students, ever.
Rather, it should be exciting, fun, a bit mysterious, and, of course, magical.
The Enchanted Meadow: Some strange things have happened in the Enchanted Meadow.
People have seen bright lights coming from the direction of the meadow and occasionally
have heard loud noises, like the sound of a rushing waterfall.
A Mosaic staff member who worked with our first year went running every morning. One
time when running on the trail by the meadow, she thought she heard some music. She
ran into the meadow but saw nothing. The music had stopped. She searched the meadow
trying to figure out what she had heard. She found a tiny fiddle hidden in the grass. She
picked it up and checked it out, but had a strong feeling she shouldn’t take it. She left it
where she found it. Later, she went back to the meadow to see if it was still there. It was
gone.
The Future People land and take off from the meadow. We of course don’t find that out
until their first morning visit when they hint that that’s where they have landed.
The Future People: The Future People are the descendents of a few staff people. For example,
one might be Lara the 32nd, or Lara’s great great great great great, etc. granddaughter. They
happen to look exactly like their ancestors. They just dress and behave differently. (They do NOT
wear the Mosaic wristbands!)
Until the Future People show up the first morning, we, the staff/cabin leaders, have no idea
who they are. We are just as surprised as the kids to see them.
One Law of the Universe states that Future People cannot be in same place as their
descendents at the same time.
In addition to introducing the theme of each day and providing structure to the curriculum,
the Future People help us to convey, in a very literal way, the idea that kids have the power
to change the future. Hence, the idea is NOT that the kids learn the lessons of the day and
teach the Future People, but rather that they pass on what they have learned to others in
their own present communities. If they pass on what they have learned to their own
descendents, family, and friends, then maybe when the Future People return to the future, it
won’t look so bleak. Our students will have helped to change it.
The Future People don’t come to campfire but sometimes send a note instead because it is
best to head back to the future before dark. The note they leave asks the kids to tell them
what they learned during the day. These lessons can help give the Future People an idea
of what they might encounter when they reach home. We e-mail the Future People the
kids’ responses as they are e-mail accessible for a few hours after take off. They can be
reached at [email protected]
Fairy Trivia: The Enchanted Hills Camp got its name for a reason. We, the staff and cabin leaders,
have heard some interesting stories about this place, particularly the Enchanted Meadow. Few of
us have actually seen much for ourselves, but many of us have thought we heard music in the
distance. It is often faint, and hard to make out, but many say it is really beautiful. We even asked
8-11
Cynthia, the site manager, if any of the neighbors played musical instruments, but she did not
know of any.
Staff/students have definitely heard music when in their cabins late at night.
Some describe the music as coming from a flute and some describe it as coming from a
fiddle. Most say it is hard to distinguish.
Several of our students and a few of our staff and cabin leaders over the years have said
they have seen fairies. (This is all true!) Some saw little people with wings and some saw
flashing lights. One said he saw three of them playing with something that looked like
knitting needles. One student saw a flying blue person. Most of these were spotted on the
way to see the Redwood Tree Spirit, although during the last session of 2003, a group of
students saw fairies fly out of a drum during campfire. Out of respect for our former
students, please do not share this information until you feel your students are ready for it.
In 2002, a very tiny ring of tiny pink beads was found in one of the girls’ cabins. (This is
true!) It was far too small to be any type of human jewelry. The cabin’s staff person and
cabin leader both swear that they have no idea where it came from. The cabin group
decided that it must be a fairy bracelet. The students returned it to the Enchanted Meadow
on the last day of their session.
In the fall of 2005, Brett, our Resident Rock Star, saw a fairy on the Redwood Tree Spirit
Trail, along with about 10 students.
In the fall of 2007, three staff members saw a fairy by the girls’ cabin area on a Friday
afternoon while cleaning up at the end of a session. Another staff member saw two fairies
over the course of the sessions.
Some staff at times happen to carry a fairy guidebook around with them in their backpacks.
Some are especially well read on the subject.
The Redwood Tree Spirit:
While all the activities we do on Day 3 were planned, the visit to the Redwood Tree Spirit
was not because the staff didn’t know about it until the Future People’s visit that morning.
None of the other groups in the other sessions did the hike to the Redwood Tree Spirit
because we did not know about it.
None of us had ever noticed the trail up to the Redwood Tree Spirit before Day 3, even
though many of us have explored the site a lot. (Do NOT take your students on this trail
before Day 3!!!)
We have no idea who made the signs leading to the Redwood Tree Spirit.
A small animal guide may help us up the trail (e.g. millipede, salamander). We will be
surprised to find it, but may know who it is.
The guide can whisper. If you listen really closely, you might be able to hear what it says.
The Fairy Bell:
The fairy bell will be found the first day of each session. That is the very first time we have
ever seen it. We will all be surprised and fascinated by it. It was NOT used in previous
sessions.
We do not know who left the bell in the meadow (Future People, Fairies, my mom?) There
is a small “F” on the bell that we may notice when we look closely. That might be a clue.
Do not use the small sharing group chimes until Day 2, after the kids have heard the story
about the bell.
8-12
Dealing with Homesickness
Dos and Don’ts
Do!
•
Quickly give the students love and comfort and then immediately get them engaged in an activity.
•
If homesickness continues, make sure the students don’t have to poop or that there aren’t other underlying
issues going on.
•
Encourage the students to take things one step at a time, moment by moment, rather than thinking about the
entire week. (e.g. “Let’s just think about what we’re going to do in the next two hours, and then we can check in
at free time,” or “Let’s just think about sleeping through the night and greeting each other at breakfast
tomorrow morning.”)
•
Evade the questions, “Can I call home,” or “Can I go home.” Simply answer, “We can talk about that later.
Right now I want to focus on how to help get you back with the group and having a good time.”
•
If it feels like it might be helpful, you can break down the Mosaic way of looking at homesickness for the
student – it’s like having one foot in the program and one foot back at home. What we’re trying to do is help
students to bring both feet here. And we can do that! Tell the student, “If part of you wants to be here, we can
help you make it through the week and have a good time. But we’ll have to work together on that.”
•
Keep in mind that homesickness is contagious. Encourage students to support each other rather than bring
each other down.
•
Remember that, even though it seems like the world is ending when a homesick child is sobbing, it’s not. We
almost never send a student home because of homesickness.
If we have their teachers’ and
parents’/guardians’ support, we’re always able to help students through it. You can share this information with
your students. It is extremely unlikely that the one case you’re dealing with is going to be a record breaker.
•
Remind students that homesickness is actually a very beautiful thing – it means that you love your family and
your home, and missing them is a reminder of your love. Consider it a gift that allows you to appreciate all you
have back at home.
•
Let students know that it is possible to be homesick and enjoy Mosaic at the same time. Those feelings can
co-exist. (Some students feel guilty about having fun here, thinking it must mean that they don’t love home.)
•
Let the Director or Youth Leadership Director know that you are dealing with a homesick student. If the
student does not get over it quickly, ask them for support.
Don’t!
• Spend too much time consoling the student one on one. This can just feed the tears and cause the student to
spiral downward. The worst thing you could do would probably be to go on an hour-long walk with the student
away from the group. We have to find that delicate balance between comforting students without feeding the
tears and helping them to move on.
• Tell the students that they can’t call home or can’t go home. This can make them feel trapped. It’s important
that it be their own decision to stay with us. We want to work with them to help them make this choice and feel
empowered by it. Try to evade the questions about going home and put them off until later. If this doesn’t
work, you can turn to the Director and Youth Leadership Director for support.
• Negotiate with a homesick student at bed time… ever. It won’t go well. Bed time is time for sleep, not
addressing issues. Many of us (not just children) tend to spin out when we are tired and just need to get to
sleep. Tell the student that, “right now it’s bed time, and we can talk about it more in the morning, but right
now everyone is sleeping, including your mother, and it’s time to go to bed.” You can sit by the student’s bed,
tell a story, sing, and comfort him/her, but do no not engage in negotiating.
• Feel you have to deal with a homesick student alone! Ask for support if you need it
8-13