I attended the American Camp Association‘s national conference this past week and went to Michael Brandwein‘s session based on his new book, “Skill of the Day: What Great Leaders of Young People Do and Say.” To say it is groundbreaking is an understatement. Michael provides a list of skills such as “Communication” and then a series of activities that coincide with the main skill. This is a book I can use all summer with all levels of staff. There are skits that are hysterical as well as skill cards. And I mean hysterical.
Michael Brandwein’s greatest asset is the ability to breakdown complex skills into manageable parts. After nearly 20 years of running summer camp I intuitively know the skills staff need to learn and yet my summer job duties demand that I focus on more than just staff training. With this book I find I can look up a particular skill area get some ideas for training and interventions or hand it off to senior staff to develop their own training.
You may think I’m writing such a positive review because Michael Brandwein is a close personal friend. He has become a friend over the years because, like many of you in the camp and education industry, I have then I repeat visitor in many of the sessions. To say I was a stalker may be too strong of words but he has recently removed the restraining order. I came to his material first is the camp director and trainer. The material in his books is instantly actionable. You can put it to work for you immediately whether you run a summer camp, after school program, leadership program, sports team. We run an inclusion summer leadership camp for kids with social cognitive deficits like Asperger’s and find the specific nature of his material to be a tremendous benefit.
You can buy his book on his web site michaelbrandwein.com and download some free handouts (training resources). It wouldn’t be a Michael Brandwein web site without handouts. You can even find him on facbeook.