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Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults by Audrey Monke Book Review

In Happy Campers, Audrey Monke explored the topic of camping and how positive experiences with camping can greatly change our children’s lives. She shared how she is a mother of five and an owner of Gold Arrow Camp in California Sierra National Forest. She revealed how she saw countless children who benefited and was in turn became a happier child for having the tools and experiences of attending a summer camp. In 2014, she also did a survey with six other summer camps that confirmed 80% of them felt happier. She also shared how mental, emotional, and physical health issues is rising and making it more difficult for summer camps. The other big issue she is seeing is the use of social media and phone usage that summer camps are having to help kids break free from. Another big issue she sees is parents trying to be in control and are being to overparenting. Her goal with summer camp is to teach children life skills to take home and thrive when they aren’t at camp. She wants kids to learn how to be self-sufficient and to help with daily chores and to grow into becoming more responsive adults. In the book, she tackled 9 secrets of camp such as, “connection come first, catch them doing something right, positive practices produce optimistic kids, grit is grown outside the comfort zone”, and much more. In the book, she also looked at the impact of counselors and how they train them to be positive and how they can influence children for the better. She also shared how she has them do a one on one chat with each child daily and many days they ask for a word of the day to describe how their day was. In each chapter, she does a sticky note solution, make it fun, around the campfire, family meeting topic, and diving deeper. 

One of my favorite chapters was the one about grit and living outside of our comfort zone. This chapter discussed the importance of helping children to step outside their comfort zone. She looked at three different zone areas such as, “blackout, growth, and comfort” where children live and engage in life. She explained 5 ways to grow grit to assist children into growing up and she also looked at 3 things parents can do to help their children to step out. She was very open in sharing that she has recognized that kids do better on trying new challenges when their parents aren’t watching them.  

I would recommend this awesome book about how camping can change your children lives to anyone who is looking for something fun and different for their kids. I liked how she went into detail about sharing her experiences with camping. She included personal stories she heard about how some of the children’s lives changed. I immensely liked how she had a “make it fun” activity for every chapter such as watch a family video, 100 memories recap, and shared outdoor activities. I also liked how she included instructions on how to limit the phone usage for children and rules we can put in place. This book opened up my eyes about the power of camp and how it can be a great tool in helping children to discover new things and to gain responsibility and to take the lessons learned back home. 

"I received this book free from the publisher, Faithwords for my honest review.” 

If you would like to purchase a copy of Happy Campers, check it out on


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