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QUICK: Think of the three most transformative moments of your life. I guarantee two of them took place away from home. How do I know? Because human beings learn and grow most when we are apart from what’s familiar, like our homes, our cultures, our friends, and our families.

The problem is, we humans get awfully attached to what’s familiarand it can hurt when we’re separated. Homesickness, for example, can ruin a young person’s time at summer camp or boarding school by making it hard to focus, participate, make friends, and get a good night’s sleep.

The solution is Prep4. Membership to Prep4School and Prep4Camp gives students, campers, and their caregivers instant access to awesome videos and live webinars that promote success and happiness. Prep4 is what all adventurous young people need to prepare for their upcoming time away from home.

What about preparation for faculty, staff, and parents? Prep4Live provides the most engaging and energizing workshops your adult leaders have ever enjoyed! Choose from a wide range of popular topics related to safeguarding, leadership, supervision, mental health, behavior management, and personal excellence. Dates are limited, so book now.

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Prep4School makes boarding better. By watching Prep4School videos, students learn life skills and build a social-emotional foundation for success. Each of Prep4School’s multilingual animations teaches new and returning students the most effective strategies for managing time, preventing homesickness, adjusting to boarding culture, speaking up in class, communicating with advisers, coping with pressure, and more! Your annual membership to Prep4School is an affordable and effective way to support students’ mental health. Choose from an Individual Family Membership or an All-School Membership.

Prep4Camp makes Overnight Awesome! Your Prep4Camp membership includes access to Summer Camp Success, the revolutionary 25-minute video proven to create positive expectations, build confidence in coping skills, and lower the intensity of first-year campers’ homesickness by 50%, on average. In addition, members will enjoy additional videos, a Parent Podcast, a Camper Tip Sheet, and live webinars—all designed to soothe parental anxiety, make counselors’ jobs easier, and help young people get the most out of their camp experience.  Choose from an Individual Family Membership or an All-Camp Membership.

Prep4Live leads your team to new heights. Dr. Thurber has been invited to deliver inspirational keynotes and workshops for outstanding schools, camps, conferences, corporations, families, and individuals on five continents. Take your learning and leadership to the next level by booking an online or on-site live event today with Prep4Live. Start designing your bespoke program from the Master Topic List of Dr. Thurber’s most popular presentations.

Advanced bookings are essential…and easy to make. Whether it’s a half-hour phone consultation, a confidential one-on-one meeting, or a full day of training for your faculty or staff, please request your booking here, at no cost or obligation. Once we receive your request, Dr. Thurber will contact you to discuss your specific needs and proposed content. When you are ready to finalize your booking, a deposit will be required.

The Summer Camp Handbook is newly revised and updated. You may purchase it on Amazon as a paperback or a Kindle e-book.

The Summer Camp Handbook is also available directly from the publisher, Everything Summer Camp. Use discount code THURBER to apply special discounts to The Summer Camp Handbook and other great gear in your cart!


The Summer Camp Handbook

The Summer Camp Handbook is the only resource that tells families everything they need to know about camp, including how to decide when the time is right, how to find and evaluate different camps, how to prepare for the adventure, how to prevent homesickness, and much more.

The TODAY Show: Chatting with Al Roker about "The Summer Camp Handbook"

What People are Saying

  • Millbrook School

    Drew Casertano - Headmaster
    “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.”
  • Camp Pathfinder

    Mike Sladden - Director
    “Any organization dedicated to positive experiences for young people would be fortunate to count Chris Thurber among its advisors. Chris has taken the time to understand where Pathfinder comes from and where her leaders want to guide her. He has crafted such a supportive relationship with us; his counsel is valued by director and staff member alike. During staff training, Chris quickly won over our large, veteran crew. He used that trust to unlock shared values within the group, and offered real tools to cope with the demands of a camp season.”
  • Miss Porter’s School

    Dr. Katherine G. Windsor - Head of School
    “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. We are already looking forward to your return!”
  • American Camp Association

    Jalisa Danhoff - EPIC Conference Chair
    "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!"
  • Shady Side Academy

    Thomas M. Cangiano - President
    “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.”
  • The Harker School

    Jennifer Gargano - Assistant Head
    “Chris Thurber is energetic, upbeat, honest, humorous, and relates well to the teacher experience. As a educator currently working in schools, Chris quickly gained credibility from our faculty. Their response to his presentation on maintaining professional boundaries was overwhelmingly positive; it was immediately evident that he truly understands the psychology of parents and students in today’s society. Chris’s presentation was particularly successful since he took the time to learn about our school and our teachers and tailored the presentation accordingly.”
  • The Hill School

    Zack Lehman - Headmaster
    “Having seen Chris at different conferences, I was excited to have him speak to our faculty. Chris worked closely with our administration to identify relevant topics and tailor his presentation. Our faculty engaged with Chris for the day in discussions about student-teacher boundaries and interpreting student conversations. Chris was excellent in presenting practical information, helpful research, and case studies. 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.”
  • Indian Mountain School

    Jody Soja - Head of School
    "Our school benefited from having Dr. Thurber present at our opening faculty meetings. We most appreciated how directly he was able to speak to the challenges we face in boarding communities. He acknowledged that we endeavor to create caring, supportive, nurturing communities, but that we must always be aware of our professional boundaries and authority with students. He presented realistic case studies and opened up a dialogue that helped 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!"
  • Pomfret School

    Tim Richards - Headmaster
    “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.”
  • Camp Arrowhead

    Teri Valente - Director
    "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."