Teen volunteering – accidental inspiration

New York families, Lion's Heart is coming your way

It’s early July and soon camp season will soon peak. By early August you may even witness a little camp fatigue, particularly among seasoned camp-goers. Developmentally, tweens and teens are ready to guide their own growth opportunities. They are restless, inspired, and have too much time on their hands. In other words they are the…

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Pack it in this summer – opportunities for students


l Summer is a time of endless possibilities! But, it’s easy to squander this time away and before you know it, “back to school” is everywhere. Take time to play and relax this summer, but also take advantage of this uninterrupted time to do or learn something new. l We’ve found that you can easily…

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Your kids’ success begins with one small thing


It was only one small thing. Yet from that one small thing, stemmed entry into a national competition, interviews with dozens of media outlets, TEDx talks, and lots of other benefits. That one small thing seemed completely irrelevant to me; it was just a mundane activity that my classroom had to do, yet four years…

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What do you get the kid who has everything? [+giveaway]

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What do you get the kid who has everything? [+giveaway]


Seriously. Between tech gadgets, LEGOs, video games, and clothing, what do you get the kid who has everything?

Or a better question may be... do kids really need more stuff?

I'm not saying don't give any gifts. I'm saying consider the fact that our kids might not need more stuff just for stuff's sake. For a minute, consider incorporating a new kind of gift: an experience.

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You know what they say... Give a toy, play for a day; Give an experience, make a memory that lasts a lifetime.

OK so I just made that up. But it's true, right? My daughter will not be able to list the number of dolls she's outgrown since she was younger. But she will most definitely be able to describe every piece of clothing she created in her Fashion Design camp last summer. My son only wears one of the five pairs of sneakers he owns, but he can recall every pitch he threw to help bring his baseball team to the playoffs last year. Of course they enjoyed the dolls and the sneakers at the time, so it's not like I'd go back in time and deprive them, but I'm just thinking about how all the experiences they've had are the things that have really settled into their hearts. I want to give them more of those.

But... what if those two things could come together in perfect harmony?

This year we are doing something different. The kids' "big" gifts are going to be activities. My daughter wants to take an immersion Spanish course this summer, my son wants to do some kind of outdoor adventure, and my youngest daughter - well she wants to do everything under the sun :)

I use Thrively to get recommendations for them. Thrively is a strength-based activity finder for kids. It helps me find unique and highly rated activities, plus filters for what's going to be a good fit for both their strengths and interests. I entered "Backpacking" as an interest for him, and "Spanish" as an interest for her. Thrively then scans the thousands of activities in the directory to find the ones that match those interests as well as their strengths from their Strength Profile.

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Here's the recommendation that popped up for my son (umm can I go too?):

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Perfect. Now don't tell my kid. Here's where the "stuff" comes in. I went to and found:

The "stuff" here is not the experience in itself; but it facilitates the experience. My son may not remember the shoes themselves when he gets older. But he will remember the way they stood up to mud, he'll remember cinching them tight at the start of a long day on the trail, and he'll remember taking them off after a week of exploring the outdoors and looking at stars.

I plan to print a little framed card of the camp and tie it with a ribbon to his new boots. I can't wait until he opens it :)

Join us on this adventure. 

Sign up for and find that perfect adventure for your kids, whether it's a class or a camp. Then enter to win one of eight $50 Gift Cards from, so you can get the right gear to match the perfect activity you find through Thrively.

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Fine print: giveaway ends 12/14 at 11:59pm. Open to United States residents only, age 13 or up. No purchase necessary. 

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Lessons from Malala


Malala Yousafzai is a breathtaking example of what we look for as inspiration. When you read her story or hear her speak, you’re reminded of the great social change figures of the last century – Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. It feels like we’re witnessing history, a greatness that is so…

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Harrison’s dad

Photo of lake with a house on it

From where I’m sitting at the lifeguard station they start out as a dot, growing larger and taking shape as they slowly paddle across the pond. There he is, sitting straight and proud, for being 5 foot nothing, his barrel chest straining his yellow life jacket and his tiny son in his little orange life jacket,…

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If your child asks you permission to build a life size lego car so he can drive it, say yes.


We often forget that each individual is the center of his own world, a world with its own magnetic field, so naturally everybody has a compass that points in a different direction – a different North.

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Kids can follow their bliss armed with more than just hope

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…That’s when I met Bradlee, a smaller boy for his age, outgoing, with a bright look in his eye. It turns out Bradlee was not the kid most teachers would jump to have in their class, as he could be overly energetic, rambunctious, even disruptive. He was also fearless and immune to getting into trouble. I learned he was no stranger to the principal’s office. This day though, he was going to win huge high fives from his peers, Ms. Starkey, and even another teacher, who had been across the hall after hours, wrapping up her work in her own room, nothing to do with the culturebooster class.

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If you aren’t as stoked as these people, you’re doing something wrong


Team Thrively just made a new friend. is exactly what they sound like: super excited to bridge the opportunity gap that affects underserved youth. And they do it all through a trifecta of badass action sports: surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. And that is why I love them. Skiing was a staple sport for me…

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Superkids: A passionate writer, jumping in headfirst


The real value of having a passion is that we are not afraid to jump in headfirst—we can’t let fear or intimidations stop us from living our wildest dreams. The real only way to discover this is to let go of preconceptions and go into everything with an open mind, and most importantly to try everything.

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