Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Knowing the Code - A Guide to Mental Awareness

Free Flow Academy works with thousands of youth each year, and what we have learned is that kids often need visuals in order to assist them with conceptual learning.  One of the things we are offering this year is our "Child Safety and Youth Achievement" summer camp.  This is an afternoon summer camp series that will teach kids the following principles in the realm of what it means to be mentally aware:

Our goal with this camp is to instill principles of situational awareness and develop skill sets such as threat analysis and risk calculation.  These concepts are useful in any scenario, including water safety, getting lost or separated from your group, fire and natural disasters, terrorist attacks, wild animal encounters, stranger danger, and more.

When it comes to "Stranger Danger", we've learned over the last 30 years, that "Stranger Danger" is not the most effective method of teaching kids about risks.  Statistics show that 93% of kids are victimized by people that they know.  39% of the time it is a family member.  We believe that empowering the kids, and teaching them to discern potential threats, as well as give them mental and physical tools, is the best way to keep our kids safe.

By playing games we can teach about the color code of mental awareness.  Having children as young as 5 be able to identify different colors and associate those colors with an emotion and mental state is a good way to instill principles of mental awareness.  Here is a brief summary of games we have developed and intend to use in our Child Safety and Youth Achievement Camp:

Game 1)  "Color Condition"

Objective:  To teach kids how to identify the "Color Conditions" and how that relates to mental awareness.  To teach how to quickly change your mental state in order to overcome any stressor that is introduced.  This is a fun and active game.

The Game:  This game is similar to "Red Light Green Light".  The kids line up and are taught that when "White" is called out, the kids drop to the ground and assume the "sleep" position.  When "Yellow" is called out, the kids stand up and are alert.  When "Orange" is called out they position themselves in the ready to run and hands up to defend position. When "Red" is called out, the kids sprint across the floor, until the next color is called out.  When "Black" is called out, the kids ball up and put their head down.

The goal is to associate "Condition Yellow" "Condition Orange" and "Condition Red" to be empowering states of being.  As the kids warm up to the association, we introduce "Stressors".

Stressor Variations:

A "Stressor" could be a coach dressed up in a Dinosaur suit, that hides and then jumps out to scare the kids during one of their Color Conditions.

Or it could be a a Coach armed with a foam noodle that intends to attack the kids, and if they get smacked with the foam noodle they have to do jump squats.

Another Stressor is that we will have the kids group up in teams, and the teams have to obtain a hidden object.  The ground rules are established ahead of time (such as, the team cannot separate and must stay together), but at some point the Coach will try to trick them and get them to separate or break the ground rules.  If  anyone breaks a ground rule, then the whole team has to do burpees.

Game 2) "Condition Yellow"

Objective:  To teach the kids the importance of staying in "Condition Yellow" as often as possible, as well as practice this mental awareness so that it will become an automated state of being. This is a fun and meditative game that brings lots of smiles and laughs.

The kids must sit in lotus position for 1 min - 4 min, depending on the age group.  The Coach has a foam noodle, and if a child falls out of condition yellow, the Coach "attacks" them with the noodle.  If the child blocks or dodges the noodle, then they don't have to do jump squats.  But if they are caught in condition white, and get smacked by the noodle, then they have to do jump squats.

There are lots of great programs online, books, and literature that give parents, teachers, and educators powerful tools to help keep their kids safe.  We have compiled some of those great resources below, for you to use and review.   Much of our programming is based on the resources we provide in this list.  If you have some other great resources you would like to share, please feel free to post in the comments!

Click the link to sign up for Free Flow Academy's Child Safety and Youth Achievement Camp, which takes place 6/20 - 6/24 & 7/18 - 7/22 from 12:30 - 3:30pm.

Child Safety Resources:









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