Think back to the last time you tried to pry a meaningful conversation from an adolescent. Painful to recall, right?
Well, at Rocky Mountain Kid C.L.U.B.S. (RMKC) adolescents willingly participate in meaningful conversations, and eloquently articulate their feelings to overcome the more challenging aspects of growing up — relatively pain-free.
For Maureen Thompson, M.Ed. and Lindsay Selig, M.A., RMKC has been years in the making. After a chance meeting at the local playground, Thompson and Selig quickly bonded over a mutual desire to help all children learn crucial life skills in an unforgiving and constantly changing society.
Having over 30 years of combined experience working with children, Thompson and Selig knew they were ready to embark on this next venture. Within months, RMKC was founded, offering children a safe and enriching environment for community, learning, understanding, and behavior skills (hence the acronym C.L.U.B.S.).
According to Selig, research consistently shows that children with strong social-emotional skills are more likely to have better overall wellness and positive self-esteem, thus promoting fulfilling lives and healthy relationships.
Backed with research, RMKC launched their flagship program Social Emotional Wellness Group (SEW).
At SEW, children learn every day life skills like communication, mindfulness, and empathy to resolve friendship drama, overcome perceived failure, and be flexible when the unexpected occurs.
Since the unexpected is inevitable, one of the first skills RMKC students learn is “getting unstuck” when “Plan A” goes awry. RMKC student Aaden said that everyone — even adults -— has a difficult time managing stress. “If you’re stuck on something,” Aaden said. “One thing you can do is go to ‘Plan B’ and figure out something else you can do.”
Useful skills such as adaptation help children like Aaden navigate the challenging adult years that await.
The silver lining
In 2006, Thompson was faced with one of the greatest tragedies a person could experience: her husband committed suicide.
“I felt powerless after my husband died,” Thompson said. “As an adult, I didn’t have the skills to deal with it. I think about kids in today’s society and everything they have to deal with. How do they manage?”
For Thompson, her husband’s death had one silver lining: she was able to use the skills she gained from her tragic situation and create a spectrum of wellness programs for children of all abilities.
“Everybody has struggles, anxiety, and disappointments,” Thompson said. “Nobody wears a sign that says, ‘Help me, I’m struggling.’ With the kids, we share honestly about our days. It helps us create stronger bonds and show that yes, even adults have trouble sometimes.”
Between mass shootings, bullying and desensitization to violence through video games, and now a pandemic that is derailing everyday life, Thompson and Selig believe that kids need to learn how to talk about these difficult experiences in order to grow into healthy adults.
This summer, RMKC has a variety of programs that kids can enjoy that focus on developmental growth, but also traditional summer fun. Due to COVID-19, programs have very limited space and RMKC will be following a strict health protocol to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We are so proud that our programs have a 100% retention rate,” Thompson said. “It’s not because they are required to come, it’s because the kids like it and it’s fun. They see a difference in the choices they make and how they feel about themselves.”
Enrollment is now open for all Rocky Mountain Kid C.L.U.B.S. programs. Visit www.rockymtnkidclubs.org or email email@example.com to register or learn more about COVID-19 protocol.
RMKC Summer Programming
Adventures in Summer: Kids have the chance to safely get outside and enjoy the summer sun with a traditional summer camp experience. This two-week program will focus on social developmental along with activities such as easy hikes and nature crafts. Group size is limited to four kids per session, and friends are encouraged to sign up together.
Dates: June 22 – July 3, July 6 – 17, July 20 – 31, Aug. 10 – 14
FabHERlous: Fifth to eighth grade girls build lasting relationships through conversation and exciting hands-on activities. Using “brave talk” the girls build confidence and self-esteem and ultimately become better friends and bold bystanders.
Dates: Aug. 10 – 14
Social Emotional Wellness Group: At SEW, pre-K through eighth graders learn emotional regulation and cognitive flexibility through guided conversation and engaging activities. Children ultimately learn how to cope with everyday struggles and anxieties, and have fun along the way.