We believe that EVERY KID is an ‘AT-RISK’ KID until they learn to master and overcome the negative mental chatter of inadequacy so prevalent in society and humanity at large!
Beliefs drive behavior– Change the belief and the behavior changes with little effort.
If, for example, you’re standing in the middle of a road, a fast moving truck is heading toward you, and if you BELIEVE it is going to HIT you, your BEHAVIOR (we hope) will be to MOVE out of the way! IF you BELIEVE there is a murderous psychopath on the loose in your neighborhood, your BEHAVIOR may be to stay inside, lock the doors, and hide! Curiously, if you don’t BELIEVE the truck will hit you, or that there is NOT a psychopath on the loose, there would be no need to engage in drastic “life saving,” BEHAVIORS..
Most youths have feelings (beliefs) that they don’t belong, aren’t “good enough,” and/or that they are different, in a bad way.
We do surveys to measure our effectiveness. On the first day of camp, among other questions, we ask them to tell us, in a few words, “What does it feel like to be you most of the time?” After working with over 1200 kids, from every walk of life…from at-risk kids with identified issues, to high-performing over achievers, we find that approximately 80% of their answers echo similarly:
”I feel like I don’t belong…I don’t fit in…I’m different in a bad way…I feel like no one cares, no one understands me…nothing I do is ever good enough…it feels like there’s something wrong with me…I feel like a mistake…I feel invisible…I’m so stressed cuz I have to be perfect…scared I’ll never do what people expect of me…I feel like quitting etc.”
Unfortunately those feelings (beliefs) are the main reason that our kids isolate, hide behind a screen all day, are depressed, choose to use drugs, drink, cut or, worse, entertain suicidal ideations. Just like the truck about to run you over and the psychopath on the loose, these BELIEFS cause us FEAR and PAIN and so, in order to protect ourselves from these seeming “life-threatening” eventualities, we choose BEHAVIORS in order to survive – thus, survival skills.
It’s a confusing thing to understand when, on the outside, the BEHAVIOR of choice – cutting, drugs, etc, seems clearly to be the threat to life, when on the inside, those behaviors are the only thing that medicates or eradicates the pain caused by those feelings/BELIEFS of inadequacy. Again, it becomes clear, that truly, BELIEFS drive BEHAVIOR.
WE CAN HELP! We don’t seek to change their behavior, rather we invite them into the probability that the BELIEF BEHIND the BEHAVIOR may be all that needs to change. It is a process, it does take willingness, but we plant the seeds and lay the gauntlet.
We help them understand and celebrate the SELF in SELF-ESTEEM!
And we do it in a, “super fun, you won’t even know you’re changing” way!