Director Jud's Blog

Director Jud featured on Team Building Web Site - Teen Summer Camp

Posted by Jud Millar on Mon, Dec 15, 2014

An interview with SMA Teen Summer Camp Director Jud Millar is featured on a new website

Play video in audio format.

The first session of the Team Building With Teens (TBWT) podcast is finally ready!
Make sure you listen through to the end because in this interview you can find crazy team building activities ideas and crucial information on how to be a facilitator.Request a brochure

In this session of the Team Building With Teens Podcast,
I’m honored to interview Jud Millar, owner and director of Stone Mountain Adventures,
a teen summer camp (ages 12-16) located in central Pennsylvania.

Jud’s story is impressive. He started his journey as a camper at the age of 10 when his parents started Stone Mountain Adventures.
He’s been participating in the camp life for his entire life, gradually advancing to roles of major responsibility, until he became the director in 2001.


Jud Millar is now the Director & Owner of Stone Mountain Adventures (SMA) and  is a lover of working with teens, as he explains there’s always a balance between keeping kids safe, letting them have fun and guide them through a growth experience.

The role of a facilitator is to organize, participate and supervise the whole process, while creating the opportunity for more constructive fun.
This is something that takes a lot of time to be learned, but Jud has been devoted to working with teens and he has the numbers to give us his amazing advice about how to do it.

Why Choose SMA

And that’s exactly why I invited him on the show.
Now as you may know, I’m currently working on this site niche because I really want to help people who are looking for the best ideas for team building with groups of teens, and I want the ones who know how to do it to share their amazing skills and passion. I really love to interview someone like Jud who’s capable of conveying all of his passion
while  he’s offering marvelous suggestions for people that are looking for a specific team building game to try with a group.

As Jud says, there are a lot of opportunities to learn team building, from books to you tube,
but hands on is by far the best.
I hope that hosting team builders from around the world can offer the inspiration to try these activities
by yourself, and that’s exactly why I asked Jud for many tips on how to organize and implement the activity.
I can’t provide you a hands on experience on how to do team building on a blog, but I hope I can provide you the instruments and the inspiration to get it.

I have a feeling that podcasts might be the next resource for team builders, not just to get the ideas,
but also to get more inspiration to implement them. Hearing stories of success from other team builders
that organized the activity can be amazing for people that work in this area, or almost that’s my guess…
Let me know what you think in the comments!


So, what are you going to find in this session?
These are the questions answered during the interview:

[Introduce yourself] 5 min
1) What’s your job? -> 1:53
2) Since how many years you’ve been working in a summer camp? Tell me about your story. -> 1:10
3) How’s life in a summer camp? What’s the age of the teens you work with at your summer camp? -> 2:30
4) How many hours are you spending together with teens weekly? -> 3:00
5) Why do you exploit team building activities in your job and why are they important? -> 3:16
6) What’s the difference between a game and a team building activity? Is there any difference in your opinion? -> 4:20

[Team building activitities ideas - content for people looking in google "team building activities for teens"] 10-15 minutes
7) What’s your favourite team building activity/game? -> 6:06
8) Does it has a name? -> [6:07-11:03]
9) How does it work? -> [6:07-11:03]
10) How is it meant to be organized? -> [6:07-11:03]
11) Tell me about the success that you had with this activity? -> [6:07-11:03]
12) Why teens like it? -> [6:07-11:03]
13) Do you have any tips for team builder that would like to experiment it? -> [6:07-11:03]
14) Do you have any other favourite team building activity or game? -> [11:05, 12:46]
15) Would you like to talk about how does it work ecc.? -> [11:05, 12:46]
[interview questions] 5-10 minutes
16) What makes a good camp team building activity successful? -> 14:26
17) What is the difference between team building with children and team building with teens at an adventure teen camp? -> 16:43
18) Where do you get your ideas for team building activities? -> 17:58
19) What’s the significance of team building? -> 19:03
20) Do you think it’s important to have diversity when doing team building/working with teens? -> 20:48
21) What’s the hardest part of working with teens? -> 21:22
[shout to your summer camp]
-How do I book a week for my children in your summer camp ? -> 22:45
-Contact information -> 22:45

But there’s an extra question that Jud didn’t answered in the session and it’s just for those of you who read the article,
here it is:

“Do you think it’s important to have an ethic when doing team building/working with teens?”

And this is Jud’s answer:
<<I do think it is important to have a code of ethics when working with kids because of the awesome responsibility we have as facilitators. In any setting but especially in an overnight camp setting I am the camp director and we as camp counselors and facilitators are the surrogate parents and we have to take that responsibility seriously and make ethical decisions. We have to help give a voice to the quiet and empower the folks who feel powerless. We have to point out to the loud natural leaders that part of their role in the group dynamic is to “make space” for those who do not always speak up. All of this we must do to help people grow by challenging them in a positive way during team building activities>>

 A wrist with multiple wristband.

Personally I believe this kind of experience can be either very positive or very negative for a teen, I experienced both types in my life and usually a more regulated environment where adults have passionand ethic made the experience more enjoyable to me.

Bullying is also a reality at that age, the lack of a responsible figure to soften this problems can lead to very negative experiences like the one that happened to me. I believe the role of the facilitators is crucial in making the experience truly positive for every child.
If you are a parent, not every camp facility is good for your children.
My advice is aiming to send your sons where you know there’s a good staff in there who is aware of these problems.
Usually passion for coaching is a good sign to look for.
I strongly believe in the necessity of coaching and facilitators in camps,  some teens might feel lost, maybe because they are very quiet or
maybe because they are shy, they might get disturbed from others in a negative way.
Without someone that takes care of them they might end up having a negative experience instead of a growth experience.

As Jud explains keeping kids safe from the inside is something very important both to
to enhance the experience of the camper and to let team building and growth happen.
If you haven’t realized it yet, Jud Millar really knows what’s up in terms of team building with teens.
and mostly important, he knows in the flesh what activities work for letting team building happen.

A good perspective to look at camps and understand how crucial the experience can be for teens is thinking that friendships made here can last over years.
In my experience this is also true: during camps and similar journeys I met some of my biggest friends, and I think this happens because aggregation is much more likely to happen in an environment when change happens, for example when traveling.

These are the kind of the moments where you really make friends,
because you are sharing your life with others, you are facing challenges together,
and most important, you are in a new environment, and it really gets easier to get in touch with people around you.

About Director Jud's Blog

This blog will give you the "411" about everything that is Stone Mountain Adventures Teen Summer Camp!  Everything from "Summer Updates" to useful family and camp resources.  Check it out! 

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