What is Reflection?

Reflection is a process and a learned skill which promotes the examination and interpretation of experience and the promotion of cognitive learning. Reflection has been a foundation of the Camp Fire experience and supported by current research including that of Dr. Richard Lerner of Tufts Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development supports this practice. This work highlights a number of indicators of “thriving” which establish a youth’s path to his or her full potential. Based on evaluation conducted since 2012, a number of these are fundamental to Camp Fire’s experience including Conflict Resolution, Social Skills, Life Skills, Purpose and Confidence.

Why is it Important?

While reflection is an established best practice, it is also as the pathway to exploring Sparks, adopting a Growth Mindset and Managing Goals.

Just as it’s important to model the activities conducted with program with your staff, it’s important to model how reflections should be conducted and continue that conversation over time. Most people think of reflection as simply sitting around and thinking, but there are multiple reflection strategies that get people moving, talking, creating, and analyzing. Using music, art, writing, videos, or other components to your reflection can help make it engaging and effective. No matter the method(s) of reflection you choose, make sure to model with program staff how you want youth reflections to go at the start of the program, so that they can see it in action. Here are some sample reflection questions:

1. Sparks Shields: When did you realize you had a Spark? Have you ever done an activity like the Spark shields? Has anyone ever asked you what your Spark is? How might asking a youth about their Spark affect their thinking, mood, or outlook?

2. Mindset Minefield: Describe how the Mindset Minefield game promotes Growth Mindset thinking. (Using “failure” to learn a new path; helping out one’s teammates by sharing your experience; going into an unknown situation with the attitude that you’re going to learn something new and get through the experience with more knowledge and skills, etc.)

3. Letter to Your Future Self: What emotions or feelings did you experience while writing a letter to your future self? Has it helped you focus on areas you’d like to work on for the duration of the program, or after?