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Al

et
t
ert
omychi
l
d
s
staff person . . .
by Michael Brandwein
Hows
t
r
a
n
gei
ti
st
h
a
tI

v
en
e
v
e
rme
ty
oua
n
di
naf
e
wda
y
sy
ouwi
l
lb
e
c
omet
h
emos
ti
mpor
t
a
n
t
person in my life.
Is
uppos
ey
ou
veb
e
e
nt
ol
dt
h
a
ta
l
r
e
a
dy
:
The
s
ea
r
eot
h
e
rpe
opl
e

sc
hi
l
dr
e
n their most
c
h
e
r
i
s
he
dl
ov
e
don
e
s
;t
h
e
y

da
c
t
ua
l
l
ygi
veupt
h
e
i
rownl
i
f
eb
e
f
or
et
h
e
ywoul
dl
e
ta
ny
t
hi
ng
t
e
r
r
i
bl
eh
a
pp
e
nt
ot
h
e
m...,
e
t
c
.
,e
t
c
.Bu
tIh
opet
h
a
ty
oudon

tt
hi
n
ki
t

ss
t
r
a
n
gei
fIt
a
keaf
e
w
moments to write down a few things that I would want you to know. Oh, sure, there are those
official camp forms where I can tell you that my son or daughter is allergic to a rare kind of
wa
l
l
pa
pe
rpa
s
t
e
,l
ov
e
sv
ol
l
e
y
ba
l
lb
utn
otwh
e
ni
t

sc
l
oudy{please keep an eye out for that}, or
has promised the parole officer not to set any more of the big fires. I wanted to take a few extra
mome
n
t
st
ot
e
l
ly
ous
omet
hi
n
gst
h
a
td
on

tr
e
a
l
l
ybe
l
on
gonaf
or
m.
I

v
eb
e
e
nt
hi
nki
n
gal
ott
h
el
a
s
tf
e
wda
y
sa
b
outb
a
by
-sitters. Whenever I hire one to look after
my child, I interview them. I have the chance to meet them, ask them things, and watch how
they interact and play with my child and how my child responds to them. I can personally talk to
pe
opl
ef
orwh
omt
h
e
y

v
ewor
ke
db
e
f
or
e
.An
dI

v
et
h
ough
ta
b
ou
ts
c
h
ool
:I get to meet the
teacher before it starts.
Butwh
e
napa
r
e
n
ts
e
n
dst
h
e
i
rc
hi
l
dt
oc
a
mp,oddsa
r
et
h
e
y

v
en
e
v
e
rme
tt
h
epe
opl
ewh
owi
l
l
s
t
a
n
di
nt
h
epa
r
e
n
t

spl
a
c
e
.I
fIun
de
r
s
t
a
n
dr
i
gh
t
,a
ts
omec
a
mpsy
oudon

te
v
e
nkn
owt
h
e
c
oun
s
e
l
or

sn
a
meun
t
i
lc
a
mpa
ctually begins. I just wanted to tell you that all of this is scary.
Pl
e
a
s
edon

tb
ei
n
s
ul
t
e
d.It
r
us
tt
h
edi
r
e
c
t
orwh
ohi
r
e
dy
oua
n
dwoul
dn
e
v
e
rt
hi
n
kofs
e
n
di
n
gmy
child unless I did. If the director trusts you, then I trust you. But I know that the director is not
going to be taking care of my child personally. You are. And I just wanted you to know what an
extraordinary act of faith it is for me to put my child into your arms. Please hold my child
carefully.
I

ms
e
n
di
ngmyc
hi
l
dwi
t
ha
l
loft
h
ethings that the camp letter said to include. I feel absolutely
c
e
r
t
a
i
nt
h
a
tI

v
ef
or
g
ot
t
e
ns
ome
t
hi
nga
n
dIh
a
vet
hi
sf
e
a
rt
h
a
tmyc
hi
l
dwi
l
lb
et
h
eonl
yone
without it, whatever it is.
I can still remember when my little brother and I went to sleep-over camp in Wisconsin. Our
s
e
c
on
ds
umme
rwes
h
owe
dupf
oronl
yt
h
es
e
c
on
df
ourwe
e
ks
e
s
s
i
on
.Wedi
dn
tkn
owt
h
a
tn
o
on
edi
dt
h
a
t
,a
n
dt
h
a
twe

db
ewa
l
ki
ngi
n
t
oapl
a
c
ewh
e
r
ee
v
e
r
y
on
ea
l
r
e
a
dykn
e
we
v
e
r
y
on
ee
l
s
e
.
We showed up proudly wearing our official camp T-s
hi
r
t
s
,t
h
eonl
yki
ndwe

db
r
ough
t
.
Unfortunately, no one had told us that these shirts, which were considered the height of coolness
our first summer, had been declared the depths of dorkiness for the second summer. When we
arrived it was dark. I remember being very grateful for that. Everyone was in the dining hall
wa
t
c
hi
n
gamovi
e
,s
owes
n
uc
ki
n
t
oac
or
n
e
r
,a
wa
yf
r
omt
h
es
t
a
r
e
s
.Id
on

tt
hi
n
kI

v
ee
v
e
rf
e
l
ts
o
alone.

And then I remember the first counselor who smiled at me. Who asked me lots of questions
about what I liked to do. Who really listened without interrupting or correcting. I must have
talked for three or four minutes with him just smiling and nodding at me. I kept waiting for him
to interrupt or something. Four minutes! That was a personal record. It had never happened at
home. I liked it. I liked it a lot. And then the box of regular, ordinary, no dorky-logo shirts
arrived in an emergency package from mom and dad. Things got much better after that . . . .
There were a few ot
h
e
rt
hi
n
gsIwa
n
t
e
dt
ot
e
l
ly
ou:Id
on

te
x
pe
c
ty
out
ob
epe
r
f
e
c
t
.He
a
v
e
n
knows I

mnot. With any luck, maybe heaven doe


s
n
tkn
ow....I

v
eb
r
ough
tmyc
hi
l
dupt
h
e
b
e
s
twa
yIkn
owh
owa
n
dIkn
owI

v
ema
demi
s
t
a
ke
s
.Ike
e
pt
r
y
i
ngt
ol
e
a
r
nh
owt
od
o it better,
a
n
dj
us
twh
e
nIt
hi
n
kI

v
egott
hi
spa
r
e
n
t
i
n
gt
hi
ngdown
,myc
hi
l
dgr
owsol
de
r
,c
h
a
n
ge
s
considerably, and sends me back to the drawing board to figure it all out again. But I have
l
e
a
r
n
e
don
et
hi
n
g:i
fy
oudon

tkn
ow,ask. Read. Watch others. Invite help. I have a lot of
goodf
r
i
e
n
dswh
oIt
a
l
kt
oa
l
lt
h
et
i
mea
b
outr
a
i
s
i
ngmyc
hi
l
d.I

dh
a
t
et
ot
hi
n
ky
ouwe
r
e
suddenly trying to do this on your own when I c
a
n
td
ot
h
a
tmy
s
e
l
f
.
Pl
e
a
s
ekn
owt
h
a
tmyc
hi
l
di
sn
otpe
r
f
e
c
te
i
t
h
e
r
.I

mh
opi
n
gthat you will forgive just as you
woul
dl
i
ket
ob
ef
or
gi
v
e
ny
our
s
e
l
f
,a
n
dt
h
a
twh
e
nmyc
hi
l
ddoe
ss
ome
t
hi
ngt
h
a
ti
s
n

tr
i
gh
t
,t
h
a
t
you will focus on helping to show what should be done better the next time. In other words, just
treat my child exactly as you will want to be treated if you mess up.
Ikn
owy
ou
vegotal
otofc
hi
l
dr
e
nt
ot
a
kec
a
r
eof
.Th
e
ya
r
ea
l
li
mpor
t
a
n
t
.
Ih
opev
e
r
ymuc
ht
h
a
ty
ouf
i
nds
ome
t
h
i
ngs
pe
c
i
a
la
b
outmi
ne
.Id
on

tme
a
nb
e
t
t
e
r
.Ij
us
tme
a
n
something unique that sets my child apart as a valuable individual.
You see, I love my child very much. And I tell my child that every day. But the problem is that
I

v
er
a
i
s
e
dar
e
a
s
on
a
bl
ys
ma
r
tc
hi
l
dwh
of
i
gur
e
st
h
a
ti
t

smyj
obt
os
a
y
y
ou
r
es
ma
r
t
a
n
d
y
ou
l
ookgr
e
a
t
a
n
d
pe
opl
er
e
a
l
l
yt
hi
nky
ou
r
et
e
r
r
i
f
i
c
.
Fr
omt
i
met
ot
i
memyc
hi
l
dmus
twon
d
e
ri
f
Is
a
yt
h
e
s
et
hi
n
gsb
e
c
a
us
et
h
e
y

r
er
e
a
l
l
yt
r
ueorb
e
c
a
us
eI

msupposed to say them.


Woul
dn
ti
tb
egr
e
a
ti
fmyc
hi
l
dme
ty
ou,ac
ompl
e
t
es
t
r
a
n
ge
r
,a
n
dy
oudi
s
c
ov
e
r
e
dv
a
l
ua
bl
et
hi
n
gs
in my child all on your own? See, if YOU find and talk about these positive things, my child can
s
a
y
,
He
y
,pe
opl
en
ot
i
c
et
h
a
tI

v
egotg
oodt
hi
n
gsi
n
s
i
deofme
.Igue
s
sma
y
beId
o....

SoI

v
es
or
tofe
n
de
dwh
e
r
eIb
e
ga
n
:t
a
l
ki
nga
b
outs
t
r
a
n
ge
r
s
. Ironically, the very fact that you
are a stranger to my child gives you, in some ways, even more power than I have.
And one final thing: sometimes when I write my thoughts down I understand them better. When
Is
t
a
r
t
e
dwr
i
t
i
n
gt
hi
sl
e
t
t
e
rIdi
dn

tr
e
a
l
ly see this, but I do now:
I
tj
us
toc
c
ur
r
e
dt
ome
:I
fy
ouc
a
r
ef
ormyc
hi
l
dwi
t
hl
ovea
n
dpa
t
i
e
n
c
ea
n
ds
ki
l
l
,t
h
e
ny
ou
r
en
o
s
t
r
a
n
ge
r
.You
v
es
udde
nl
yb
e
c
omemymos
ti
mpor
t
a
n
tf
r
i
e
n
di
nt
h
ewor
l
d.
Thank you, friend. Have a most wonderful summer!

AChi
l
d
sGr
at
ef
ul
Par
ent
Adapted from Training Terrific Staff, Michael Brandwein 1996, 1999 by Michael Brandwein / All Rights Reserved
Individual camps may copy and distribute this to their staff, but only if the copyright notice in this box is included in its entirety.
Any other reproduction or use requires permission of the author, at 5 Coventry Lane / Lincolnshire, IL 60069 / 847-940-9820 / michaelbrandwein.com
Thank you!