Raising Kids to Act Courageously

Posted by Kate Hutson on Apr 27, 2020 5:47:19 PM

I recently attended a virtual workshop with Candace Doby, a speaker and author who specializes in helping youth and young adults build courage. Candace defines courage as “a choice to face a threat for a worthy purpose.” What she means by this is that, by being courageous, one is choosing to overcome a fear because the result will be worthy, or in line with personal values.

Are our values a good match-1

Candace describes the steps one must take to act courageously. She suggests:

  1. Identifying a cause: Why do you want to act?
  2. Competence: Do you have the ability to act (even if it means being uncomfortable)?
  3. Confidence: Do you trust your ability to act?

As Candace explained this process, I immediately thought about one of my favorite values that we promote at Camp Champions: Reasonable Risks.

Most of our camp families are aware of how we encourage campers to take reasonable risks at camp. If a camper is reluctant to climb the rock wall because of a fear of heights, we lovingly urge them to attempt reaching the Longhorn, our lowest level on the wall. If a camper enjoys singing but is afraid of performing in front of others, we will reassure them of their ability and encourage them to demonstrate their talent. When campers take these reasonable risks, it strengthens their capabilities and increases confidence. If they don’t succeed, they learn they can bounce back from adversity.

While they don’t realize it, our campers get to practice the “process to courage” that Candace suggests. They learn to identify their internal motivations for wanting to attempt a risk. They recognize that they have the ability to succeed and then trust that ability enough to act courageously.

Acting courageously in a safe environment with counselor role models is great practice for conquering obstacles that our campers will face in the future. Whether it’s applying to a stretch school, traveling to a foreign country, or interviewing for the dream job, we believe that our Champions will act with courage.

Here’s to courageous kids!