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Marking Milestones

 
Celebrating goal attainment is a healthy practice for both kids and adults.  Taking the time to recognize achievements is important on many levels.  It teaches one that completing a goal can be exciting and meaningful.  It makes one take the time to reflect on how past performances compare to the present skill level.  Celebrating gives a person satisfaction – a personal reward for a job well done.  If we move right along from meeting one goal to the next, we rob ourselves of the pleasure completion brings; we train ourselves that only the next target or benchmark is the one that matters, not the other challenges we have overcome in the past.  It is easy to burn out along the way if we only take time to reward ourselves for major feats.  Children especially need time to celebrate their accomplishments.  Doing so can inspire them to set their sights on a new target while reminding them that each milestone matters along the way.
 
Beyond Graduation
 
Graduations are not the only milestones worthy of a celebration this summer.  Students participating in summer camps and enrichment programs will have reasons to celebrate too.  Mark their milestones with something special so that their accomplishments will not go unnoticed.
Mark the Occasion
 
Holding a ceremony for participants and their families is one great way to celebrate a student’s performance at summer camp or participation in an enrichment program.  Ceremonies are best for the kinds of activities that take place over an extended period.  At summer sports camps, drama camps, band camps, and art camps, students’ skills are often tracked for measuring growth.  Kids attend camps like these as well as science and math camps because they want to improve at something.  A ceremony recognizes those achievements, and this kind of celebration can boost the self-esteem of not only the child-participant, but also that of the family.  Ceremonies, even those held for the youngest students, are a major event.  It is not every day that a child hears his or her name announced with an audience watching.  During a ceremony, certificates for participation and awards for outstanding achievements are often bestowed on students.  Plaques, medals and medallions handed out to well-deserving individuals can become keepsakes treasured for a lifetime.  These can serve as mementos of a job well done, inspiring the recipient to move forth with setting personal goals a bit higher in the future.
 
Depending on the type of camp or program, students may be able to demonstrate what they have learned in a performance for the audience.  Musicians and singers can perform concerts just as dancers have recitals and aspiring actors put on a play.  Artists may display their creations for friends and relatives to see while athletes who’ve improved their physical abilities may play a game or compete with one another to demonstrate their newly improved skills to spectators.  Those filling the crowd will be proud to see how their children have benefitted from their hard work at summer camp.
 
Make it Special
 
Throwing a special party for a child who has met an important goal is a great way to celebrate, too.  Fill it with the child’s favorite foods at home or hold it at a popular restaurant, the skating rink, or a movie theater.  Invite friends and family to join the celebration.  The party is not only for the child; it can be a symbolic way to thank all of those who have helped the child meet the goal.  Teachers, coaches, and counselors have had positive impacts on your child, but so have those who’ve helped by providing transportation to the camp, practicing the skills with the child at home, and financing the cost of tuition and supplies needed for the summer program.  A party is for celebrating the child’s accomplishments and the help that made it possible.
 
Celebrating the milestones kids reach at a day camp or through the library’s summer reading program are just as important as the goals kids attain throughout a camp that lasts for weeks.  Taking your child on a special outing or giving a gift is a perfect way to mark a milestone.  It shows children that what they did for personal enrichment matters a great deal.  Either way, you’re helping the child to build a significant memory about how it feels to reach a goal.  They will note how happy and proud you are for them.  In turn, they will be taking the time to feel that for themselves too.  Praising oneself is a powerful part of making one’s dreams come true!
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