Fresh from Frank: No Trophy Needed

posted by on Nov 1, 2022

We all know that our youth need Camp, especially with the impact of the pandemic. People vote with their feet, and most Camps are seeing increased enrollments, not just CYJ. That is good for Camps. Last summer, we were able to see firsthand some of the difficulties our campers and staff faced. We saw challenges with connecting with peers, engaging in face-to-face conversations, and understanding boundaries, to name a few.

It is great that our world is now focusing on mental health. We must help our youth get through uncertainty, stress, and worries. One of the areas in which we as parents can help our kids is by NOT participating in the so-called “Trophy Movement.” Praise that bolsters self-esteem in recognition of exemplary performance is good for facilitating learning and further improving performance in the future. However, praising all the children just for being themselves, in contrast, simply devalues praise and confuses our youth about legitimate standards (i.e., giving each child a trophy just for participating). Research has shown links between self-esteem-focused parenting and emotional fragility later in life.

Everyone does not need a trophy; our youth must learn to deal with mistakes, challenges, and even failures. Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn.

I started out by saying our youth needs Camp. Let me rephrase, Camp is necessary.