Camp Kindness Counts believes in the power of kindness within young people, adults, and families to create a happier, healthier, and stronger world. When we formed in 2012, the response from the parents surprised us and the reactions from the kids inspired us. Who knew that taking the time out to show kids how their simple acts of kindness could make a positive impact around them, would make them feel like “superheroes”, like they were important and their thoughts and actions mattered! We became a 501c3 nonprofit organization in 2014 and have expanded greatly to schools and within communities since then.
We are committed to providing tools for character development that help foster social-emotional well-being and opportunities for service and social action to help build a generation of compassionate, courageous, and kind leaders and community members. Families and youth of all ages build on crucial character strengths, such as compassion, perseverance, and forgiveness, while making a difference in themselves and in turn the community. We aim to build on a culture of kindness in our schools and communities and we believe youth and families, when inspired and empowered, are the people who can help make this happen! TOGETHER we can put kindness and our character at the forefront and watch our family, school, work, and community life flourish!
Camp Kindness Counts empowers young people, adults, and families to embrace their authentic selves through character development and mindfulness, encourages them to positively impact their communities through kindness, and inspires them to shape an empathetic world as courageous, compassionate global citizens.
We envision a world where young people feel confident, curious, and productive. These youth will lead their communities and schools to adopt a culture of kindness and compassion.
Listen deeply to the thoughts, feelings, and ideas of kids
Foster connected and supportive communities across parents, schools, and kids
Nurture ourselves and those around us through compassion and mindfulness
Inspire leadership by nourishing creativity and acts of kindness
Express joy and gratitude through our thoughts, words, and actions
Embrace a worldview where each person can make an impact locally and globally
WHY Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and WHY Kindness?
We believe in the power of kindness. One way to practice kindness towards ourselves and extend it towards others is to build a foundation of positive learning, awareness, and management of emotions, expressing and feeling empathy towards others, relationship building, and responsible decision-making. We encourage actively practicing these skills and incorporating them in all aspects of daily life including school, home, and community settings. When fostering SEL skills through character-building activities which incorporate action, practice, and reflection... the result is KINDNESS.
I will never forget my first train ride in India. I was traveling somewhere and reading a newspaper. When I finished reading it, a man sitting next to me put his hand out but didn't utter a word. I assumed he wanted my newspaper so I gave it to him. He said nothing but read the paper. After he finished reading it, he tapped the person in front of him and then gave him my paper! Then that person proceeded to share it with someone else. Throughout the ride nobody uttered a word, these were not friends they were all strangers to each other...and they just kept passing the newspaper along. I sat there confused, not upset or bothered, I didn’t need or want the paper... but rather wondering what I was experiencing.
At some point, I forgot about the newspaper and by the end of the train ride, something magical happened, somehow the newspaper was returned back to me! And I thought... what? How did they even know?! It was amazing, there was this sharing and awareness taking place just in that moment --- in that time and place --- in that particular train compartment... I was experiencing Kindness. Sadly, in a way I had never experienced before.
It is so strange to know you have not experienced such a simple kindness... strange and surprising.
About 12 years later (Spring of 2012), I remembered this experience of sharing and kindness and thought if a simple act of kindness can stay with someone that long, kindness is pretty powerful! I wanted my own children to have many experiences of kindness and empathy and knew other parents valued living somewhere that encompassed a culture of kindness too and so Camp Kindness Counts was born! I wondered how we could cultivate a culture of kindness in our communities -- One idea was starting with kids and giving them the opportunity to actually practice kindness.
So that’s what we did, we started a camp with 15 kids, including my infant and 2 year old at the time and the outcome was inspiring and powerful. We saw how practicing kindness could help kids socially, emotionally, and academically. Two years later we expanded to reach more kids and families and decided to make Camp Kindness Counts a non-profit organization. Now we have a village of awesome partners, parents, educators, and teenagers excited to help teach kids how their acts of kindness can positively impact themselves and others and how they can be THE positive change in this world. Thousands of youth have been impacted. We are getting closer each day to experiencing a culture of kindness in communities near and far, just like the one I experienced on that train ride in India.
Let’s connect with kindness!