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Dear Friends of Quest,
I hope that this monthly installment of our newsletter finds you happy and healthy! We are so excited because our Fall group will be starting September 21st!! There is an early bird registration of $50 off if you sign up by September 7th.
Fall Group Dates are:
September 21st- December 7th
Wednesday Evenings 5:30 to 7:30
at the Central Library in Huntington Beach
This issue of our newsletter is about the importance of resiliency for a happy, healthy life. At Quest, we are proud to provide an innovative treatment program through our therapeutic summer camp and school year therapy groups that have been proven to reduce problem behaviors not only at camp, but in school, at home, and in everyday life. We hope that our newsletter will be a source of support and applicable information to improve the lives of the amazing children and families in our community.
Jodie Knott, Ph.D.
Director and Licensed Psychologist
Quest Therapeutic Camps of Southern California
Developing Children Who Are Resilient
Helping children to become more resilient has become a key target area at Quest this past summer. While we have always focused on some of the key tenets that go into helping kids build resiliency, I have become extremely passionate about us as a program targeting this area for children in a more systematic way.
I think that this excitement has developed for a variety of reasons–seeing the research regarding social and emotional EQ, reports of the skills necessary to lead in the 21st century, the recent books I have read and talks I have attended regarding the high numbers of children not having the mastery necessary to transition to college and more independent living, and just intuitively feeling that this area is crucial for children to succeed.
Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg and Martha Jablow define resilience in their book,
Building resilience in children and teens: Giving kids roots and wings, as:
the capacity to rise above difficult circumstances, the trait that allows us to exist in this less-than-perfect world while moving forward with optimism and confidence.
- Resilience is commonly defined as an ability to recover from setbacks, the quality of bouncing back.
- Resiliency is similar to buoyancy…when pushed under, rise up to the top again.
- Resilience is a mind-set.
- Resilient people see challenges as opportunities. They do not seek problems, but they understand that they will ultimately be strengthened from them. Rather than engaging in self-doubt, catastrophic thinking, or victimization (Why me?), they seek solutions.
- Resilience is uneven. A person might be highly resilient in one aspect of life and need much higher levels of support in another.
- Resilience is not invulnerability, not perfection, not isolation from all risk.
- Resilience is not a trait of “perfect” people. Perfectionists fear making any mistakes. They perform well but don’t take chances to perform at their very best. Resilient people are more successful because they push their limits and learn from their mistakes.
- Resilience may be a core factor in determining not only who will adapt, but who will thrive.
Grinsburg and Jablow focus on the “Seven Crucial C’s of Resilience”
- Competence–ability to handle situations effectively
- Confidence–solid belief in one’s own abilities
- Connection–close ties to family, friends, school, and community
- Character–fundamental sense of right and wrong
- Contribution–realization that the world is a better place because they are in it
- Coping–learn to cope effectively with stress
- Control–realization that they can control outcomes of their decisions & actions
Children need to experience competence to gain confidence. They need connections with an adult to reinforce those points of competence. They need character to know what they should contribute to their families and the world, and character is forged through deep connection to others. Contribution builds character and further strengthens connections. Children who contribute to their communities gain confidence as they feel more and more competent.
All of this leads them to recognize that they can make a difference and change their environments, and this gives them a heightened sense of control. Children with a sense of control believe in their ability to solve problems so they will more tenaciously attack a problem until they find a solution. This newfound area of competence then enhances their confidence, which will be used the next time they need to reinforce their beliefs in their ability to control their environment.
When children know they can control their environment, they will more likely use healthy coping strategies because the need to deaden the senses or escape reality will be lessened. A key coping strategy is turning to people with whom you have strong connections. And so on. 
Another good resource, for anyone looking for a book with activities related to resiliency, I would recommend the Resilience Builder Program by Alvord, Zucker, and Grados. This program provides hands-on activities that emphasize six areas of protective factors found to positively increase the likelihood of a positive outcome despite experiencing adversity. These six protective factors are proactive orientation, self-regulation, connections and attachments, achievements and talents, community ties, and proactive parenting. 
At Quest, we don’t rely so much on these other activities since we are constantly creating are own, but I find these books have been incredibly helpful in further refining our program due to the research behind these concepts. For us, we stick with the areas that fit our wheel house and build these components into them.
At Quest, we specialize in teaching kids emotion regulation, “hidden” social rules, giving clear feedback to teach skills, and heavily rewarding new efforts to try on new behaviors and skills in a safe, supportive environment. Through this research on resiliency, we have started to add a lot of programming into Quest related to the idea of contribution listed above with several activities related to helping our kids understand how important they are to us, helping them to identify the strengths they already possess, and see how they can already positively impact others around them.
I have included a copy of two of our hidden rules below that involve resiliency to showcase how we talk to our campers about these concepts as well. We have found that even our youngest campers have a great capacity to grasp these concepts and be excited about ways to build skills and help those around them, which has been truly one of the best parts of this summer.
Quest “Hidden Rules” on Resiliency
In life there are going to be many unexpected things that do not go your way. When negative things happen you want to be resilient. Resilient people are able to become strong, healthy, and successful again after something bad happens. They accomplish this by:
- Using coping skills to deal with their feelings
- Having a positive attitude
- Being optimistic (by expecting good things to happen) and having hope
- Seeing setbacks of failures as learning opportunities and things to problem solve so they are able to keep trying
Trying new things can be outside our “comfort zone”. This means doing something unfamiliar or uncomfortable. It means not knowing what the outcome will be and that can be scary. But a lot of the time, when you try new things you may end up liking it, feel more confident and build more resiliency. Ginsburg, K. R., & Jablow, M. M. (2015). Building resilience in children and teens: Giving kids roots and wings, 3rd Edition. American Academy of Pediatrics. Elk Grove Village, IL, page 4.  Ginsburg, K. R., & Jablow, M. M. (2015). Building resilience in children and teens: Giving kids roots and wings, 3rd Edition. American Academy of Pediatrics. Elk Grove Village, IL, page 29.  Alvord, M.K., Zucker, B., & Grados, J.J. (2011). Resillience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents. Champaign, IL www.researchpress.com.
School Year Programming
School year therapy groups are ten-week afternoon therapeutic groups that are designed to provide therapy by specifically targeting individualized goals for our campers.
A minimum of one hour includes therapeutic activities that heavily target the development of social skills, emotion regulation, and positive behaviors, while the next hour focuses on further skill development by providing a variety of experiential activities as part of a group to create opportunities to observe the child in a natural setting and intervene to facilitate change. Some quarters provide a special emphasis to improve skills, while other quarters have a more general offering based on the campers’ interests and often include programming in areas such as video game making, drama, art, movie making, etc.
Winter Group Dates are:
January 4th – March 8th
Wednesday Evenings 5:30 to 7:30
at the Central Library in Huntington Beach
Quest’s intensive summer program offers 7 weeks of programming (6 weeks of day camp and 1 week of residential). The summer program includes individualized behavior plans, group therapy, occupational therapy, a social thinking curriculum, mindfulness activities, yoga, soccer, games in the park, and field trips (beach, boomers, rock climbing, ropes course, bowling, etc.) to create a fun and engaging, therapeutic camp experience for children.
Weekly parent meetings are also included. The summer program has been found across multiple studies to significantly reduce hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggression, and inattention, while improving peer relations, family relations, athletic competency, behavioral control and self-esteem. Quest has also been found to improve social awareness, social cognition, social communication, and social problems.
Summer Camp Dates are:
June 26 through August 10th