Growth Mindset: Encouraging Campers

Camp, especially Heart O’ the Hills, provides an environment that embraces physical, emotional, and intellectual struggle. What makes it a great experience, is not just the understanding that these struggles can be overcome. It is doing so. So, as counselors it’s our job to encourage a growth mindset in our campers!

It is through our language that we encourage a growth mindset. We coach them on asking themselves the right questions, reminding them that we are all here to grow, and gearing our praise appropriately.


Cultivating a growth mindset within our campers is essential to growing their sense of worth. How they answer these questions to themselves influences their self-image and performance. Can I do this? Do I belong here? What’s the point?

We want them to ask: How can I do this? What can I do to create my place? How can I feel purposeful?

The shift from “can I do this” to “how can I do this” gives the camper the power to affect change. 


How does a growth mindset come into play with teaching? By normalizing brain development! Sometimes it’s difficult for kids to understand that adults have invested a lot of time and effort into whatever it is they’re good at. So before, or after, campers get frustrated with their skill level, remind them that we are all growing, all the time. Remind them that challenging activity work helps them learn and makes their brains stronger.

For instance, publicly acknowledging mistakes and what you’ve learned from them. For example, saying things like the following teaches them not to be so hard on themselves over little mistakes:

“I used too much paint on a project last week and it was such a mess, so I decided to start with less paint..”

“Oh I messed up on this earlier, but now I’ve learned not to do that..”

Counselor interaction with the kids is what makes the activity! So help them embrace the journey of learning. It will make teaching a lot easier on you if you can help alleviate their performance anxiety. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog about Gearing Praise! Proper praise is important to cultivating a growth mindset and bolstering their self worth. 

“It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer.” –Albert Einstein

About the Author

Kimber M

Texas born and raised, I love the outdoors, animals, and time with my family.

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