In 2000, Chris and his lifelong friend, Dr. Jon Malinowski, co-authored the critically acclaimed Summer Camp Handbook, hailed by psychologist and parent, Dr. John Weisz, as “a remarkable accomplishment…the best in its field…required reading for every camper’s family…the most comprehensive and scientifically sound coverage of the camp experience available.”
The Summer Camp Handbook has since sold tens of thousands of copies, won a Parenting Press Gold Award, and been translated into Chinese. As part of his lifelong effort to enhance the camp experience for young people, Chris has been a guest on The Today Show, Martha Stewart, CNN, Fox, CBS Morning News, and NPR. Shop here for The Summer Camp Handbook and other books for which Chris has written chapters.
Hey Dr. Thurber! I am a counselor at Camp Timberlane and I attended your workshop on listening last summer. I found it helpful at the time, but I didn’t fully understand the magnitude of the “active listening” strategy until I used it last night with a friend of mine. She appreciated being understood and was able to come up with solutions to her problem on her own, as you predicted. (I would have handled it way differently before I attended your workshop.) After I listened without interrupting, I summarized back what she was saying to make sure that I understood. She was surprised that someone actually, fully listened to what she was saying! That was really special and I wanted to thank you for your help last summer at camp and especially for what happened last night. Thank you so so much and I look forward to seeing you again!
Jacob Kline Counselor, Camp Timberlane
Our school benefited from having Dr. Thurber present as part of our opening faculty meetings. What we most appreciate about his presentation is how directly he is able to speak to the challenges we face in boarding communities. He acknowledges that we endeavor to create caring, supportive, nurturing communities, but that we also must always be aware of our professional boundaries and authority with the students. He presents realistic case studies and opens up a dialogue that helps faculty and staff explore complicated issues in a productive and open way. We constantly refer back to our session with Dr. Thurber and look forward to our next workshop with him!
Jody Soja Head of School, Indian Mountain School
Chris, your sessions are so valuable to us! Several faculty have already told me how you changed their thinking about boundaries and energized them to start the year. Everyone also enjoyed your workshop on "intelligent failure." This year, we are teaching our boys about grit, and part of grit is being able to fail, dust yourself off, and try again. Our faculty have communicated with parents about letting their sons fail, and your talk has helped advance that conversation immensely. Thank you!
Monica Lucey Dean of Faculty & Academics, Hillside School
Dr. Chris Thurber brought loads of energy to his keynote and breakout sessions. His stories rang true for all of our workshop participants. No doubt about it, Chris really knows how to engage and keep the attention of a large audience. Everyone walked away with valuable skills. Thank you, Chris, for your help!
Dan Sturgeon Workshop Chair, New Hampshire Recreation & Parks Association
Dear Chris, I hope you consider taking your training skills on the road more and producing many, many more video training modules. Our world needs teachers like you. You do it well! As I embark on new camp-based work with Camp Quest Ohio, I'm confident that your brilliantly and expertly designed tutorials have endowed me with many useful tips.
Gus Brunsman Sociologist & Senior Staff, Camp Quest Ohio
Dr. Chris Thurber's workshop on Effective Messaging at Seattle University was exceptionally effective. Within an hour, Dr. Thurber had guided our diverse group of professors to craft a catchy slogan and value proposition for our Revolutionizing Engineering and Computers (RED) group. We have successfully featured those messages in all of the publicity for RED projects funded by the National Science Foundation. Thank you, Dr. Thurber!
Dr. Teodora Rutar Shuman Professor & Chair, Mechanical Engineering Department, Seattle University
Dear Chris, I wanted to share with you how wonderfully received you were by our faculty and staff! Many made a point to express to me their appreciation of you, the questions and reflections you brought forth, and how engaging and approachable you were. Thank you for sharing your expertise and for facilitating such important education and dialogue.
Jenneil Gross-Kriever Director of Counseling Services, Chatham Hall
Dr. Thurber, Thank you so very much for your illustrated boundary workshop. As someone who has taught many one-to-one and smaller group sessions (in the UK), it was of immense benefit. Your advice inspired me to consider using a GoPro as a teaching tool for dramatic purposes--to identify different viewpoints from characters in plays, ensembles, and choirs. Many, many thanks!
Michelle Cressida-Bliss Director of Music, Chatham Hall
- Chris was one of the most interesting and engaging presenters I have seen. I left feeling like the entire faculty of my school should get to have the same experience. Discussions were engaging, examples and clips were on point, time management of breaks and activity was well planned
- Chris was is one of the best, most knowledgeable, easy to listen to, effective presenters I have had the pleasure of working with.
- Chris was fantastic! He presented with warmth and humor on a challenging topic: professional boundaries.
- Chris, your presentation was fabulous. You were able to make an uncomfortable topic for some an engaging and comfortable experience. Your videos and case studies were thought provoking and beneficial.
Conference Participant Evaluations ISACS Chicago Conference 2018
Dear Thurbs: A heartfelt thank you for all you are doing for the camp industry and for our kids. It was awesome to see you in action at ACA Nationals. You are truly leading by example and spreading the Belknap Spirit! For that, I am forever grateful. Timi-Hi and Seek the Joy.
Seth Kassels Co-Director, YMCA Camp Belknap, Wolfeboro, NH
"Chris, I just read your most recent article, Continuous Professional Development in the Camp Business "Week-Ender." Like all of your content, it had a great message, enjoyable to read, and highly relevant. Thank you for all you do to provide quality education to the camping profession! I look forward to your Markel webinar presentation later this month!"
Mr. Ian C. Garner Director, Camp & Youth Organization Relations, Markel Specialty
"Chris, I give your training day with us 10 out of 10 on every dimension. Every workshop you did with us felt like genuine and sincere advice. The "motivational speaker" that we had yesterday was just pop sociology and cheap manipulation. Thank you for investing in our professional development by teaching us valuable skills."
Anna Lyman Cabin Counselor
"Dear Chris, Thank you for co-leading your fourth amazing EPIC pre-conference at ACA Nationals! The workshops were fantastic. Your insight and encouragement will help grow a talented group of emerging professionals in camping (EPIC). We are so lucky to have you in our industry! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Jalisa Danhoff Conference Chair, EPIC
"Dear Chris, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your support. Every summer brings challenges, and I feel so fortunate to know I have people like you in the wings to lean on for guidance. You truly helped me do the right thing while preserving a positive relationship with a family in distress. Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Catriona Sangster Co-Director, Camp Wawenock
"Thank you so very much for your consultation about managing parental expectations. We followed your advice and the camper in question completed the season on a positive note! Chris, as always, I am grateful for your help, time, thoughts, and affirmation that we're headed down the right track. Thank you for all your help this season, in so many ways. I deeply appreciate and all you do for so many camps. Because of your support, we can better serve our youth."
Carrie Kashawlic Director, Fleur de Lis Camp
"Chris, thanks for your excellent workshop today. Based on everyone's conversations later in the afternoon, it was extremely well received. It certainly gives us a strong leadership foundation for our work this summer."
Andrew Walpole Assistant Head, Wolfeboro Boarding School
"Chris, thanks a million for being part of ACA-New England! Your sessions are always so though-provoking and insightful. Your time, energy, and commitment to our industry are greatly appreciated."
Alex Jackson Director, Camp Runoia
"Thank you for the critical training pieces you provided at our annual conference. So many people have mentioned your presentations and how much they enjoyed them! Our senior management team is looking forward to discussing lots of your inspiring ideas with our front-line staff. Your contributions were exactly what we needed at this time. Thank you for being with us and for providing such great energy and inspiration!"
Ellen McCarron Chief of Park Operations, Vermont State Parks
"Staff training week is light years better because of your insights on how staff create the camp's culture. Several of our veteran staff have told me they feel more empowered because of the mindset shift you explained. I've also been a huge fan of your articles on staff mental health. Taking care of themselves--as well as the campers--has become a priority for our team. Seeking peer social support was never easy, but you helped us break that wall down. Thank you so much!"
Liz Logan Assistant Director, Camp DaKaNi
"Thank you so much for your role in making Directors' Camp such a powerful experience for me. The weekend reaffirmed me in ways I didn't even realize I needed. I am smart, educated, playful, and silly. Your example of these character traits in action was a reminder to bring that all to the table."
Teri Valente Director, Camp Arrowhead
"Dear Dr. Thurber, I cannot thank you enough for your awesome presentation on Teaching Students to Fail last week at Purnell for the Association of Independent Schools of New Jersey! We learned a ton and it has already helped me as a teacher and a parent!"
Dr. Nicole Lynn Martone Head of Upper School, Ranney School
Chris, I so appreciated your seminar on "Cracking Kids' Secret Code"! Thank you! I especially loved the training technique you shared about having staff notice behaviors in a movie clip and then sharing what they notice, then watching it again with a heightened sense of awareness. The more perceptive staff become, the more connected they are to the kids. And the more connected the kids feel, the better time they have...and the better they behave!"
Karen Offitzer Assistant Director, Camp Schodack
"Thank you so much, Chris, for providing such a timely keynote on sexual assault and abuse prevention for the American Camp Association's Mid-Atlantic Camp Conference! We also loved your workshop on motivation, "Why We Do What We Do." Both topics were perfect for our members, as they plan their staff training for the upcoming season."
John Beitner Executive Director, ACA Mid-Atlantic Section
“Dear Chris, THANK YOU! I literally just exited your session and am waiting for my next one to begin. I just feel compelled to tell you how much I enjoyed your session. I appreciate your courage to put yourself out there and share personal stories. Shelley Tager said I would love your session and she was 100% correct. So thank you!”
Joey Baez Performance Theater Director, Indian Head Camp
“Dear Chris, I heard you speak a couple times at American Camp Association conferences in the past year and wanted to thank you for sharing your experience and insight into not just managing, but inspiring the leaders of tomorrow. The energy and charisma you bring to the table makes me excited to continuing making improvements at my camps despite the associated challenges.”
Katie Feldhues Military Kids Program Manager, Ohio State 4H Extension
“Thank you so much for your thought provoking Boarding Schools’ Association seminars. They helped consolidate prior knowledge and boost my understanding of positive psychology. Mindsets *do* matter. Your positive futures slide has helped me to feel confident to walk forward and disseminate this information to my colleagues. As professionals in the boarding schools, we are all involved in enabling our pupils to gain a real sense of value and values; of belonging and self-worth. Your seminars have helped me better provide the kinds of supports that meet my students’ needs.”
Jacqui Irven Matron, Collinson House, Mill Hill School–London, Mill Hill School
Dear Chris: Thank you!!! Reports from the Groton faculty are that you hit a single or a double during your first visit, as you were adjusting to us, and this time around, your workshop was a homerun. Thanks so much for helping us on the thorny and often uncomfortable topic of Preserving Professional Teacher-Student Boundaries. With gratitude.
Temba Maqubela Headmaster, Groton School
“Dear Chris, I always look forward to your print articles and blog posts. I also enjoy perusing CampSpirit.com and have sent many parents to your resource-filled pages.
Your most recent article on NOT documenting kids’ experiences really resonated with me. Before a recent school trip to DC, I watched as two parents had a very public disagreement because one of them had forgotten the video camera. While this was going on, their son disappeared onto the bus. As the buses drove off, the parents were still arguing. They didn’t even wave at him! The parents totally missed the experience of saying good-bye to their son because they were so focused on saving the experience. The boy also felt like his actual experience was secondary to the recording and probable posting on Facebook. My own son is going to be a first-time camper at Camp Lawrence and I am so excited to see him arrive on the island as a camper. Your article reminded me to be present in the moment for him and not be worried about documenting his every breath. I too helped train his staff, and I know I am leaving him in good hands.”
Lauren Romanauskas, RN BSN Camp Nurse, Camp Lawrence
“Chris, I’ve heard nothing but positive comments from faculty members following your workshop on Monday. Thank you so much for taking the time to come all this way. Your presentation was perfect (and that’s saying something–as you know, boarding school teachers, especially teachers who’ve been in the profession for many years, can be a skeptical audience!).
A couple of things stand out to me as making the workshop particularly successful. One is the fact that you are a boarding school teacher yourself, and able to “speak the language.” Another is the fact that while you included examples of times when teachers violated sexual boundaries with students, you didn’t focus on those. Instead you provided a number of examples of more nuanced boundary violations, then invited the audience to discern those violations for themselves. You also have a wonderful and very engaging way of connecting with your audience. The workshop was informative, authentic, and thought-provoking. I know our faculty will continue to discuss the cases you presented and the ones you left with us.”
Nancy Starmer Head of School, George School
“Chris Thurber’s expertise about kids in the camp environment is a highlight of staff orientation; his knowledge and insights around the phenomenon of homesickness are an invaluable part of our staff training. In fact, everyone at camp–from the counselors to our leadership team–draws on his advice throughout the summer. Chris’s style is approachable, and he is a true advocate for the camp experience who works hard to give staff the tools they need to do their job well.”
Marla Coleman ACA President Emerita, Coleman Camps
“Who better to give invaluable advice on working with youth than Chris? He is a true professional: always prepared, prompt, positive, energetic, flexible, consistent and courteous. Chris has tremendous academic credentials, as well as clout within ACA, but in our staff’s eyes-and in mine-his most important credential is that he also works at a camp, practicing what he preaches. Chris has a unique way of communicating with all staffing levels and making sense of complex information about child development and leadership. He has always been accommodating and receptive in tailoring his workshops to meet our staff training needs. The tools Chris gives our staff are priceless and certainly our camping program has reached higher standards since we have been working with Chris.”
Scott Hilary Camp Manager, Dorothy P. Flint 4H Camp
“Chris has been an integral part our staff training for twelve years running. Each winter, Chris and the camp directors discuss the current staff population and together develop training that is relevant to both the age group and Arcadia’s mission. We make sure Chris covers his specialty, homesickness, as well as a variety of topics such as team building, dynamic leadership, supporting all campers, transitioning from camper to counselor, asking for help, and even Internet socializing. Chris’s training is interactive, interesting, fun, thought provoking and human–a wonderful enrichment program for all camp leaders.”
Louise Fritts Johnson Director, Camp Arcadia
“Chris has worked with our supervisory staff team for the past six years and the resulting benefits for our camp operation have been extraordinary! Chris provided information, based upon research and experience, related to a range of concerns that we had regarding trends in youth behaviors-sexual aggression, cutting, eating disorders, aggressive behavior, the influence of the online lifestyle-to name a few. The resulting guidelines and policies that we established, along with changes in our supervisory staff training and the orientation of our full staff, have enabled us to be a better camp… offering campers and staff a great camp experience!”
Jani Brokaw Williams Director, Campus Kids Minisink
“Chris, thank you for a fabulous keynote at ASSCSI. What a treat for everyone involved! There was quite a wonderful buzz after the workshop. You gave us such good information and you were entertaining as well. Your shared wisdom will make a difference in the lives of the students counseled by our participants. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Debra Shaver Director of Admissions, Smith College
“We have invited Chris Thurber to work with our staff for the past 8 years and will continue to have him back for many summers to come. He instills the confidence, knowledge and practicality in our staff that is imperative when caring for children. Chris’s techniques are down to earth, easily applied, and thought-provoking. The feedback from our staff each summer reflects the positive environment Chris creates. Our staff encourages us to invite him back each summer, recognizing the great impact he has on their camp experiences, as well as the experiences of the campers. As the directors, we know that our staff orientation would not be as powerful without Chris’s input.”
Brad and Kathryn Finkelstein Campus Kids Connecticut
“When Chris speaks, my staff listens. His work with my staff adds a degree of professionalism that inspires my staff the entire summer! When we open staff training with Chris, the counselors suddenly realize that this is not just about the fun and games, but also about their role as youth development professionals. Chris instills a high degree of pride in the work we all do and makes our job as camp directors easier. A great day of training with Chris means a great summer to follow.”
Susan Hooks Director, Riverview Camp for Girls
“Thanks, Chris, for our workshop today. It was VERY well received. You were lively, the nuances and complexities of a fascinating topic were heard, and folks felt it was a more than worthwhile morning–actually important. Thank you! You helped get our faculty off on the right foot, and that gets the year off on the right foot, kids and parents all.”
Jay S. Stroud Headmaster, Tabor Academy
“Through a natural infusion of humor, wisdom, and personal stories, Chris engaged the staff in a very genuine, personal way from the moment he arrived at Congressional Day Camp. The staff and the campers felt comfortable speaking with Chris as he walked around the camp and observed by participating in our activities. Thank you, Chris, for the time you spent with our administrative team at the end of your visit. Your candid observations and questions challenged us in a positive way. You left us all with tangible points of departure for future discussions and directions in which to explore and grow.”
Jennafer Curran Director, Congressional Day Camp
“Dear Chris, I really enjoyed your workshop on preserving professional teacher-student boundaries. The other faculty and I found your perspective as a mental health professional who works at an independent school extremely helpful. Thank you!”
Kate B. Jones, MSW, LCSW Director of Counseling, Lake Forest Academy
“Dr. Thurber’s presentation was dynamic, thought provoking, and highly relevant to anyone working with students. The session provided opportunities for deep reflection and interesting discussion around the topic of professional boundaries. Chris is a master at delivering a balance of humor and seriousness in a package from which even the most seasoned veteran can draw significant benefits. The pace was perfect and the presentation was lively; before we knew it four hours had passed and we were wiser and better prepared than ever to work with our students in a positive way.”=
Tim Richards Headmaster, Pomfret School
“Many faculty have come up to me and expressed very positive reactions to your presentation, including: “one of the best we have ever had…a vital topic well presented” and “very informative…Chris was well spoken and made a potentially awkward presentation engaging, appropriately serious, and humorous at times” and “one of the best presenters we have had in my now 10 years at WMA. His pace and sense of timing was excellent, and it was obvious that he understood our school.”
Donald Kelly Dean of Faculty, Wilbraham & Monson Academy
“Dear Chris, Thank you for spending a day with us this past week. You presented the materail on Preserving Professional Teacher-Student Boundaries so very well. I appreciate the thought you’ve put into developing it. Your workshop was by far the most earnest and intellectually stimulating presentation that I’ve experienced at Brooks.”
The Reverend Bob Flanagan Brooks School
“Without a doubt, Chris’s workshop was well-received by all faculty, ranging from lower school core teachers to 9th grade dorm heads. Frankly, it was the most positive feedback we received about an in-service day in many years. Drawing on his personal and professional experiences, Chris’s easy going style encouraged our faculty to open up and reveal their worries and challenges in a way that benefitted our entire group. His stimulating sessions helped to energize and empower faculty as the headed back into the trenches. I highly recommend Chris Thurber!”
Mark A. Devey Head of School, Indian Mountain School
“Dr. Thurber, I just wanted to thank you again for the wonderful presentations you gave at the ACA New England Conference. I wasn’t planning on attending all of your sessions but ended up doing so! The session on appropriate boundaries was especially helpful for my staff. It is my first year at my new camp and it was great to have an expert confirm some of the changes we will need to make. After attending your sessions, some of our key staff for this summer started to ask how we can strive for professionalism in all that we do without any prompting from me!”
James Cleland Ministry & Program Coordinator, Lakeside Christian Camp and Conference Center
“Chris, we greatly appreciated your work with our faculty. Even the most veteran of teachers/coaches/mentors benefits from an airing of the professional closet, so to speak, and I appreciated that your presentation was smart, engaging, respectful and direct. The workshop was funny—caused some squirming at times—and overall really quite masterful.
You met our faculty with their good energy and intentions and helped them think about the responsibilities that we have to our students as fiduciaries. That’s a big word and an important concept, not one that often finds its way into our daily school vernacular; using the concept and phrase adds to our consideration of ourselves as responsible experts and professionals. Your presentation and the related materials offered us the opportunity to listen to each other on point and develop, in the room, a renewed sense of our faculty ethos that we can agree and build upon as a professional standard in which to take pride.”
Kathleen C. Giles Head of School, Middlesex School
“Chris, it was really great having you at our staff training day. In our difficult work, a person who can deliver an upbeat message and at the same time hold the staff’s attention is really very valuable…Many of the students we serve have multiple psychiatric diagnoses, trauma-related symptoms, learning disabilities, are several years behind in school and in their physical, social and emotional development, have a history of failed interventions and an average of two psychiatric hospitalizations…
Therefore, our staff experience a great deal of pressure from all sides as they go about their daily work. Your message…made them feel it is worthwhile because children grow and thrive from their effort. They are doing something at which others have failed. There is something to say about making people feel good and still understand what they need to do to improve and grow in their life. I felt your message left people thinking that life is good if you work at it. I am 83 and I still keep this idea in mind…I hope we will see you soon again.”
Dr. Samuel Ross Managing Director, Friends of Green Chimneys; Founder, Green Chimneys
“Dr. Chris Thurber made his presentation relevant to all members of our community and participants complimented him both for both content and style. The way in which Chris used a variety of approaches including case studies, video, and humor created engagement and encouraged participation in the discussions. Said one faculty member, ‘I was impressed by his broad approach to a layered subject and the space to ask our own questions and formulate answers. I left actually feeling empowered and comfortable.’ Another said ‘I feel that I gained a lot of valuable knowledge and insight that will contribute to my immediate growth as a coach, residential faculty member, and teacher. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise and making it fun and exciting but also real and relevant.’”
Thomas Mueller Dean of Academics and Faculty, Saint Mary’s School
“Given the wide range of developmental challenges inherent in working with children between 4 and 14, The Pike School’s leadership was concerned that it would be difficult for one presenter to provide meaningful professional development on the topic of teacher-student boundaries. I’m happy to report that Chris provided an engaging and interactive presentation that was universally well received. The conversations that have taken place since his workshop have helped us to better serve our students.”
John “Muddy” Waters Head, The Pike School
“Dear Chris: Thank you for coming to Shady Side! Administrators and faculty were equally impressed and appreciative of your presentation on preserving professional teacher-student boundaries. You have such a great demeanor when talking with people individually or addressing a big group from the stage. Your presentation genuinely triggered meaningful follow-up conversations with many of our faculty. Thanks for being such an effective catalyst! Thanks as well for your great work and continued support of our counseling team. They were so happy to have spent time with you.”
Thomas M. Cangiano President, Shady Side Academy
“Thank you so very much for the time you spent with us. You struck just the right balance of humor, enthusiasm and seriousness about the topic. The case studies were quite relevant and you approached the topic in a way that was uplifting and insightful while not being insulting to the experience and expertise of our faculty. It is particularly valuable and meaningful to have a consultant who brings both the professional training of a clinical psychologist and personal experience as a teacher and youth leader to his work. There is increased credibility and passion that comes from the fact that you too have been a teacher and a coach and are a member of a school community. From the perspective of your audience, “you get it!” We are already looking forward to your return!”
Dr. Katherine G. Windsor, Head of School, Miss Porter’s School Ms. Carol Santos, Dean of Faculty, Miss Porter’s School
“Having seen Chris at a number of different conferences, I was excited to have him speak to our faculty in my first year as headmaster. Chris worked closely with our administration to identify relevant topics, plan his visit, and tailor his presentation. Our faculty gathered for the day and engaged with Chris in discussions about student-teacher boundaries and interpreting student conversations. Chris did an excellent job presenting practical information, helpful research, and case studies. Our faculty especially enjoyed his use of video clips from well-known movies to illustrate his points and elicit questions. Chris kept the energy level high throughout the day and our faculty has already asked me when he might return to share other presentations. The Hill School Faculty is more prepared, thoughtful, and enthusiastic after spending a day with Chris Thurber.”
Zack Lehman Headmaster, The Hill School
“With true professionalism, expertise, profound wisdom, and good humor, Chris has an uncanny ability to lead a group of educators who are in various stages of their careers through complex dialog. The fact that he is “one of us” helps build his credibility and enables him to connect with all kinds of teachers. We succeeding in booking him last January, and my colleagues raved about his presentation on “Preserving Professional Teacher-Student Boundaries.” Many wished that he could come every year. Through his use of video clips, case studies, and open and relaxed discourse, Chris’s session inspired us all to grow professionally, and left us with so much more to consider. The final stamp of approval came from our Head of School at the end of the day when he said about Chris, “He’s good. Really good. He just gets it.” I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for coming to Chatham Hall, Chris!”
Emily Johns Dean of Students, Chatham Hall
“Chris, the time with you flew by! It was exciting and inspiring to think of all that our Community Connections Committee could do for our students, equipped as they are now with the tools and strategies you’ve provided. I really and truly enjoyed every minute you were with us. Thank you!”
Amie Creagh Dean of Students, Deerfield Academy
“We always look forward to Dr. Chris Thurber working with us during our Staff Training Week. After several years with Chris, it’s as if he’s part of our camp family and we now refer to the day of his visit as ‘Thurber Thursday!’ He not only brings knowledge and expertise, but his personal approach is comforting and has all of us–from the Senior Administration to first year counselors–eager to learn and work with him!”
Suzi Pierce Assistant Director, Camp Agawak for Girls
“Dear Chris: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for your work with our faculty yesterday! We loved your workshops on multicultural intelligence, collaborative problem solving, and positive psychology. It was a great day and I think many enjoyed it. I got a text from a faculty member before you even left thanking me for helping bring you to the school!.”
James J. Greenwood Associate Dean of Multicultural Education, Northfield Mount Hermon
“At Camps Kenwood & Evergreen, we refer to Chris Thurber as the “Counselor’s Counselor.” His expertise in youth development and his vast camp experience are incredible assets to our community. Each summer, we ask Chris to spend several days with us, speaking with staff members and campers alike. He is an incredible additional support to staff who are working with challenging campers and a wonderful resource for our kids, offering support and advice. When we are faced with a difficult issue-such as whether a camper should be asked to leave camp before the term is completed-I always look to Chris for objective expert advice. He is also a wonderful resource for our community of parents and has conducted seminars for them to help prepare their children for a great camper experience. I sleep better at night knowing that Chris is part of our camp community.”
Scott Brody Director, Camps Kenwood & Evergreen
“Dear Chris: Marisa and I, and the entire Falling Creek team, were thrilled to have you here as part of the staff orientation and training! Lots of positive feedback indeed. Your topics and teachings were on-target and created much constructive conversation. We send our best to you and your family.”
C. Yates Pharr Director, Falling Creek Camp
“Dear Chris: Just wanted to drop you a quick note of thanks for your presentation on “6 Ways New Staff Get Drunk”. It is nice to know that we are in touch with our young staff and that their training is going in the right direction to help them grow into the people that are bubbling just under the surface. Thank you for your time and energy that you put into each and every program you present!”
Terry Cohen Owner/Director, Camp Marimeta, Camp Marimeta
“Wow!!! and Thank You!!! What a great presentation! Great content and so relevant for the staff of any youth program. Your webinar was incredibly powerful and I’m sure those participating not only enjoyed the presentation but also walked away with a tremendous feeling of having acquired some fantastic tools for staff training. I sincerely hope that all camps, parks & rec departments, and summer schools incorporate a session like this in their staff training because none of us has enough experience “cracking kids’ code” and really understanding how to listen and interpret what kids are communicating. Such a pleasure working with and learning from you, Chris!”
Ian C. Garner Director, Camp & Youth Organization Relations, Markel Specialty
“What a dynamic, engaging presentation that you provided the JBSA! I love how you tune in to who your audience is and make every effort to customize your message to their needs and experience. The new teachers / dorm parents / coaches left yesterday with great insight and some newfound confidence. You have a great presentation style and you always make sure that every question gets answered. Chris, I can’t thank you enough for making the time to be with us yesterday.”
Kenneth Howe Director of Residential Life, The Fessenden School
“Dear Chris, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about your time with us. Anne and Kathy chose well in inviting you to present; they planned well in including faculty and staff; and you exceeded all expectations. Colleagues have specifically mentioned your blending your obvious knowledge and expertise with useful props and your wonderfully engaging style to make for a thoroughly effective presentation. Many thanks for coming to Millbrook. I wish you all the best for a successful and satisfying year.”
Drew Casertano Headmaster, Millbrook School
“Dear Chris: Thank you for such energizing and invaluable seminars yesterday! I know I speak for all 70+ professionals in the room that your focus on courageous ignorance and participant safety was time very well spent. I look forward to the next time we can all be together. As you might have expected, yesterday’s content lends itself perfectly to a fresh look at both of these critical areas for our staff. And your infectious enthusiasm is what camp means to so many. Keep it coming!”
David G. Smith Camp Manager, Lair of the Golden Bear
“Chris’ most powerful message for the students was that they were in control of their emotional destiny. They realized that their frame of mind regarding happiness could actually generate authentic happiness. One of the great benefits of this realization is that is that the students no longer put “good” and “bad” upon others, but rather see their own responsibility and ownership for “good” and “bad” days. The students themselves have now taken ownership for creating a positive school environment.”
Matthew P. Heard Head of Upper School, Fay School
“Thank you for flying down for our EPIC (Emerging Professionals in Camping) weekend. I always enjoy your sessions! Your passion, energy, and intimate style create a space where people are comfortable having open discussions and asking candid questions. You always take the time to explore answers, which makes us all love learning and feel empowered.”
Krista Rose White Program Director, Eagle’s Next Camp
“Chris is a dynamic and well-versed speaker who sheds light on all the ways we can have impact in our daily interactions with peers and students alike. He was warm, engaging, and had the room role playing, telling stories, and experiencing the power of positive psychology. Chris should be on everyone’s must-see list!”
Kristen Kaschub Director of Admissions and Summer Programs, The Besant Hill School
“Dr. Chris is a legend! Inspirational, engaging, and full of incredibly useful leadership techniques. A lot of speakers make a few jokes, give a few tips, and it’s all totally forgettable. Dr. Chris actually understands the ups and downs of working with kids, as well as the intricacies of how staff work together. Memorable, practical, and very American (that’s a compliment!). Thank you, Dr. Chris!”
Alex Read Counselor, Oxford Royale Academy
“Chris, it was great to have you here with us at Winchendon School. Our faculty found your presentation style ‘engaging’ and ‘dynamic’ and they experienced your ‘soulful engagement and connection’ as ‘truly one of the most worthwhile professional development days’ ever. Your personal anecdotes, professional experience, and interaction with our faculty around relevant case studies was something that faculty found ‘worthwhile,’ ‘relevant,’ and truly ‘important.’ Thank you for a great day!”
Lauren Lambert Associate Head, The Winchendon School
“Dear Chris: I cannot thank you enough for sharing your knowledge, passion, humor, expertise, talent, genius, knack, and GIFT with all of us! We will serve 3,500 children this summer, and each child will benefit from your time with us. On behalf of each of those 3,500, THANK YOU!”
Dan Matthews Director of Camping Services, Camp Twin Lakes
“Chris has worked with our faculty at Cardigan Mountain School for the past two years. His professional development is accessible, relevant, and engaging. Chris was able to tailor his workshops to specific areas of school life that resonated for us as a junior boarding school for boys. He is a dynamic presenter who is attuned to making sure that his workshops provide each participant with tangible take-aways that encourage putting theory into practice. In very short amounts of time with our faculty, Chris has helped us to move important work forward at Cardigan and we look forward to inviting him back.”
David Irwin Director of Student Life, Cardigan Mountain School
“We’ve had many “guest trainers” at Timberlane over the 30 years of my directorship, including lots of the big names we all see at conferences and whose articles we read in magazines. Chris has proven to be our *most effective* trainer, probably because he connects so incredibly well with the staff. They like him and they see his legitimacy because he also works as a camp waterfront director. So they listen to him. If you’ve never had a guest trainer added to your staff training before, I understand. Many years ago I used to see it as an expense that I could easily and competently avoid by handling our training myself and with my admin team. And we do a great job with that, just as I’m sure you do. However, I am 100% convinced that a top-tier guest trainer makes a big difference for the staff, and ultimately for the campers. You invest in a lot in camp each summer. Enhancing your staff training with an investment like this is an idea I highly recommend you consider, and Chris is–in my opinion–as good as it gets.”
Mike Cohen Director, Camp Timberlane
“Dear Chris: Once again I am so very thankful for the opportunity to attend your fabulous presentations. Not only did you inspire me to take stock in my innate talents, but your work also inspired insights, resolutions and future plans for camp. Your succinct, easy-going style is so entertaining, approachable and packed with fantastic information. You are an immensely valuable resource in this industry. I credit you with the best training work with my staff. And, as my husband said, ‘He is a stud! So smart and in-shape!’ He aspires. As do I.”
Rachel Bredemus Director, Camp Birchwood
“Dear Chris: Thank you for your stimulating, relevant, captivating and so ‘right on’ talk on Preserving Professional Teacher-Student Boundaries. I’ve thought so much about your workshop over the past several weeks. You have a wonderful way of approaching this awkward topic with openness and insight so that no one feels defensive or on-the-spot. I can’t really pinpoint how you do it. In my eyes, it remains a magical, clever, thoughtful combination that works. Every time. You are an awesome teacher-presenter and I am so glad you came I hope we get to cross paths again, Chris. It’s terrific working with you. See you soon at TABS or NAIS!”
Wendy Skinner Director of Residential Life, Shady Side Academy
“Chris Thurber delivers practical wisdom about the struggles that girls and boys encounter as they learn and grow in schools and camps. Our faculty appreciated hearing from someone who knows first-hand what it’s like to be in the classroom and who brings the insight of a highly trained psychologist to teaching and learning. Chris’s wonderfully precise vocabulary, humor and casual manner earned him a lot of big fans at Avenues!”
Ty Tingley Co-Founder, Avenues, The World School
Dr. Chris provides workshops to school, camps and other youth-serving organizations.
Featured In Conferences For
Dr. Thurber is a favorite presenter at conferences such as TABS (The Association of Boarding Schools), NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools), BSA ([British] Boarding Schools Association), and ABSA (Australian Boarding Schools Association) as well as at individual schools on five continents. Each year, his workshops on boundaries, mental health, communication, leadership, residential life, and acculturation are in high demand.
Conversations online and off have focused recently on stopping violence and conflict. From Ferguson to France, people have discussed, debated, and demonstrated more passionately than ever. When human rights are in question, we speak of “ridding,” “routing,” “crushing,” and “eliminating”
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Solitary time is missing from our daily schedules. Those restorative, reflective moments when we can appreciate, take stock, problem-solve, meditate, or pray have been eclipsed by smart phones, shared calendars (that others shoehorn appointments into for us) and a general
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