We’ve spent some time on the blog this year helping connect the dots between Camp Fire’s long legacy of leadership and the movements happening in the wider youth development world. You may remember our post about how Positive Youth Development research has backed up Camp Fire’s kid-first approach. Today, we’re looking at another trending term in the education and nonprofit circles: Social-Emotional Learning, or SEL.

Social-Emotional Learning recognizes that critical life skills extend beyond the traditional reading, writing and arithmetic. We know (both intuitively and through evidence-based studies) that kids thrive when they are taught how to identify and manage their emotions, build healthy relationships and make great decisions.

Our Thrive{ology} framework is founded on SEL principles, which we formalized in 2012 and have since integrated into all of our programs nationwide. Camp Fire focuses on the “whole child’ skills of identifying sparks, developing a growth mindset, learning goal management and reflecting. These are social and emotional tools that kids will use their entire lives, no matter what vocations they choose or challenges they face.

We also use Social-Emotional Learning touchpoints to measure Camp Fire’s impact. Sure, it’s cool to know how many kids are learning hard skills like archery, water safety or better after-school study habits in our programs. But we’re more interested in whether they are learning how to live. So twice a year, we conduct surveys to find out how Camp Fire’s 180,000+ participants are progressing in social skills, life skills, conflict resolution, confidence, purpose and appreciate of nature.

Camp Fire Wilani

These thriving indicators are the reason we do everything we do! And we’re psyched that they way we’ve done things for 100+ years is now being backed up by Social-Emotional Learning research and embraced by schools and youth organizations across the globe.

We’ll be celebrating Social-Emotional Learning all month on the blog and our social media accounts. Join in the conversation by posting below or finding us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter!  

All-in on Social-Emotional Learning? We need you! Camp Fire is always looking for volunteers who want to make a lasting difference in young people’s lives. Find out how to get involved today!