Getting Noticed at Camp

This summer, I was “Noticed” by a fellow staff member for having a cheery attitude at camp. They handed me a blue rubber bracelet stamped with the words “I AM NOTICED.”

“Hey, I just wanted to give you this because I Noticed your good attitude, and I wanted you to know that it matters.”

“Thanks,” I said, still slightly confused, but grateful.

It had been a long week–the summer heat zapped everyone’s energy, and I had was working hard to keep a smile on my face. So I was tickled to be the recipient of an unexpected act of kindness and noticed for trying.

Although the bracelet didn’t match my style, it stayed on my desk all summer.

When I cleaned off my desk in early September, I wondered what being “Noticed” was all about.

What is I AM Noticed?
Summer  staff taking part  in "I AM Noticed" training
Summer staff taking part in “I AM Noticed” training

This summer, Jaime Lyon and Amy Johnson of I AM Noticed spent some very intentional time with our summer staff. Their goal was to foster positive camp culture at Wildwood.

“It was certainly time well spent,” explains Amy.  

I AM Noticed aims to create a sustainable positive culture for students, staff, and families. To do this, Amy and Jaime trained Wildwood summer staff to Notice positive traits and behaviors in themselves, their peers, and our campers.

The pair ground their work on the I AM Noticed Cycle, a cycle of practices that promote positivity. “When we trained counselors at Wildwood,” Jaime explains, “we engaged in art, Noticing, and great conversation that staff were able to then share with Wildwood campers.”

Jaime provides an “I AM” art experience that includes creativity and positivity. Amy then teaches a character education curriculum. Finally, the art and character education components come together to help camp staff Notice goodness in others and foster a positive camp culture.  

Why Does Noticing Matter at Camp?

“There is so much goodness to notice at Camp Wildwood!”

“The camp experience is so unique and magical and I AM Noticed helps add even more love and impact,” explains Jaime,”One of the most powerful things about getting Noticed at camp is that people can really focus on what is important. There are fewer distractions and the simplicity of knowing they matter comes to life.” 

What’s more, Noticing helps Wildwood deliver its third key learning experience to our campers–building community.

Summer staff  in  "I AM Noticed"  training
Summer staff in “I AM Noticed” training

So What Does Noticing a Camper Look Like?

Noticing a camper (or anyone) is simple. To Notice someone means that counselors are on the lookout for positive traits and behaviors, and when they Notice those bright spots, they verbalize it to campers.

For example, a counselor might say, “I Noticed you were so brave for trying zucchini at dinner, even though you’d never had it.” Campers light up when they’re Noticed. (Having been Noticed myself, it feels pretty great.)

“When camp staff are present and open at camp and noticing goodness,” explains Amy, “they help encourage campers’ confidence and resilience

Campers then take this experience and can bravely Notice the goodness around them.”

“Camp is the perfect setting for us to practice the I AM Noticed Cycle,” says Jaime. At Wildwood, Noticing can be “as simple as choosing to have a want-to attitude, using positive I AMs, Noticing the goodness in ourselves and others, receiving goodness when it comes are way, or choosing to accept the privilege and responsibility that we impact the world around us.”

Why Does It Matter?

I AM Noticed training matters beyond camp.

At its core, the I AM Noticed program encourages us all to be more confident and resilient humans. The program teaches vital communication and relationship building skills. Through training, “people of all ages learn practices that can be used throughout their lives to be more grateful for the good times, and more capable in the hard times.”

Wildwood camp counselor displaying her Noticed artwork.

“There is nothing like working with adults who choose to serve kids through the camp experience. Getting to work with the Wildwood team was no exception! Amazing people serving amazing kids!” -Amy Johnson and Jaime Lyon