Archive for: March 2013

Spring Into Summer Camps

Specialty camps are something special!

By Allison Hodges, Director of Camp  Webb


The definition of summer camp has changed over the past two decades. The traditional six-week-overnight-camp-in-rustic-cabins- in-the-woods model still serves as the basis for camp, but the “Specialty Camp” has emerged as a growing trend in the nation’s summer camp experience. Specialty camps create a unique environment for campers both educationally and socially.
The specialty camp experience enhances the benefits that normally occur at traditional summer camp such as boosting self-confidence, learning teamwork and leadership, and making new friendships.
Friendships formed in specialty camps are especially strong, as campers share a common interest that not only creates social comfort, but also turns the “normal” social hierarchy on its head. That shared interest becomes the focal point of camper interaction, which increases the value of a camper’s natural ability rather than his/her popularity level. In this new social hierarchy, a camper is respected for his/her skills and talents, rather than outward appearance.
Fostering a young person’s natural talents in a socially safe environment can really heighten their interest in the subject matter. Children flourish when they have something that interests them and that they’re passionate about. Participation gives them an opportunity to learn what it feels like to succeed and enjoy the process of learning. Often this experience helps them in later life, as they develop who they are and how they will contribute to society.
So you’re saying to yourself, “Wait . . . I thought camp was just supposed to be fun!”
Well, isn’t learning fun? A place where kids can be comfortable while they’re learning is commonly disguised as fun. Think about enrolling your children into a camp program with a specific interest.  They may discover something new about themselves they didn’t expect – just by having fun at camp!


Allison Hodges lives here in Knoxville and has been the Director of Camp Webb at Webb School of Knoxville for 12 years.  She grew up attending camp and has been in the industry professionally since 1997.  She is passionate about what camps can do for children of all ages and encourages everyone to spend some time at a summer camp.

How the Classical Guitar Changed My Life

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.


I always wanted to play the guitar but I was afraid. I was scared that I did not have the skill to play an instrument, and I was petrified of performing in front of others. I never learned to play a musical instrument as a child. My few attempts at playing the guitar as a teenager were disastrous, filled with anxiety. But I continued to harbor dreams of playing wonderful melodies before enraptured audiences. Read more →

Enjoy the sun safely

Because sunburns can cause health problems

By Ryan Redman, M.D.


Whether it’s playing ball, swimming or riding a bike, your child will probably spend a lot of time outside this summer. That’s why it’s important for him to be protected from the sun. Read more →

Summer fun = math?

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville
Photo courtesy Edward Foley Photography


When I think of summer, I think of going to the pool or the lake, playing baseball, riding bicycles, and running about the neighborhood playing games of sport or imagination.  But if it’s only these things, next school year will be tougher than it needs to be.  Read more →

Promoting positive sibling relationships

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.

When my sister and I were children, we rarely got along. Our parents seemed to accept that ours was a “typical” sibling relationship—namely, one characterized by rivalry, jealousy, name calling, and constant bickering. Both of my parents grew up in large families, each with four siblings. Read more →

Dear Knox County School’s Families

By Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools

Dear Knox County Schools’ Families,

As you are making summer plans, Knox County Schools is preparing for fiscal year 2014, which will begin on July 1, 2013 and run through June 30, 2014.

At the second annual State of the Schools Address last month, I shared four priority areas that we will specifically focus on for the fiscal year 2014 budget which include: Read more →

Discover “America’s Secret City”

By Wendy Bishop. Photo courtesy Oak Ridge Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.


Are you always on the lookout for fun and interesting places to take your children during spring break or summertime? While some families plan long trips over several days, others choose to stay closer to home. If your family is looking for a “staycation,” Oak Ridge is a convenient and educational city that offers kid-friendly attractions and historical sites, all within a 20-minute drive of Knoxville. There are inexpensive and even free activities your family can participate in while learning about the Secret City at the same time. Read more →

Summer activities to boost college applications

Article and photo by Liz Stucke, owner of LS Admissions Prep


Recently, I have been listening to podcasts from the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series.  It is inspiring to hear how people think up new ideas and implement plans to create new products and services.  These successful leaders start with an idea, try it out, fail sometimes, but always try again.  A common theme with these leaders is their drive to accomplish their goals and make life better for people. Read more →

Corrective feedback: Helping you help your child

by Barry Van Over, Premier Martial Arts


One can liken raising a child to landing a person on the moon- seldom is “spaceship kid” on track 100% and thus requires constant course correction until touchdown. When a child is not behaving in a respectful way at home or school, it is important as a parent or teacher to offer corrective feedback. Here are some suggestions for giving corrective feedback, so that the message is transmitted effectively and harmoniously. Read more →