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Light the fire within
A Teenager's Thoughts on Thrive
By Jakob, Kansas City area youth

As a not-so-usual high school senior, I was given an introduction to Thrive training during the National Youth Advisory Cabinet (YAC) Face-to-Face in October. I did not know what Thrive meant at all. The Thrive method is a different way of talking and directing youth to be the best that they can be.

Youth in cabin bunks

There are some great ideas in Thrive that I want to learn more about, like sparks. A spark is a passion, something that makes a person light up, something that makes you want to be challenged.

Growing up in a household that only paid attention to school grades, I think that finding your spark is the best idea ever. I wish that someone would have been there when I was a child to help me find and master my spark. Identifying my spark at a younger age would have made my childhood much more enjoyable. For me, a spark is music. Knowing that making music and discovering new things is what made me happy would have led to a childhood that was full of experimentation and growth. Just knowing my spark would have made my childhood more engaging and entertaining.

Thrive's method also focuses on reflection. I love the idea of reflecting on what you have just done. Most of the time in my childhood, I would get a grade on an assignment and then just move on to the next idea; I would never stop and think about what I had just done and how I could make it better. This mindset of making what you just did better is something that would have made school so much easier if I had known about it earlier. This is why Thrive's work has to be done with youth professionals! We all need to take time to reflect to be able to learn and improve. Not because you got it wrong, but because you want the challenge!

Although there are many ideas that I love about Thrive, there are some ideas that I still do not understand about growth and fixed mindsets. A growth mindset is when you believe you can do anything that you want with your life. On the other hand, sometimes we have a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is when a person believes that the talents that they have are set in stone and are unchangeable. I want to know what type of speech I need to avoid so that I do not set a child up for a fixed mindset. I can now understand how the use of the phrase "good job" would give children a fixed mindset, because it's evaluating their work. I want to know more phrases and ways to talk to children that would help them adopt a growth mindset.

Personally, I feel that I have an overall growth mindset. I want to do more, and I always want to learn more. Although I have an overall growth mindset, I still have a fixed mindset in some other areas of school. For me, when it came to English, I had come to accept that I was bad at it and not going to get any better. If it had not been for Camp Fire, I would not have pushed myself to try and sharpen my writing skills and eventually publish my writing. Having said what I would like to learn, I can't wait to read the book Mindset to help me understand Thrive more completely and to help me help other people that I may influence.

NOTE: As background on this inspirational story, Camp Fire Heartland provided Jakob a scholarship to attend the Best Buy Geek Squad Summer Academy and the National YAC meeting this past summer in Minnesota. Part of the scholarship agreement was for him to visit three different program sites and write a story about his experiences. Jennifer Smith, Program Manager, Heartland, has been coaching him through this whole process, from editing to helping him grasp Camp Fire perspectives other than his own. Jakob is second generation Camp Fire, and his family has had a long history with Heartland through both club and camp. According to Tara Markley, Director, Camp Fire Heartland, "This is a true testament to Jennifer's work as a youth professional by advocating and encouraging Jakob through this process."

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