Wyld Life – Physical Development

The beginning of the lumps and bumps and hair … becoming “unco” and becoming sexually aware. Looking different from EVERYONE because I’m not growing fast enough … or am growing way to fast … everything looks and feels different! And it’s hard to navigate!

Physical Development for early adolescence:

  • Experience rapid, irregular physical growth
  • Undergo bodily changes that may cause awkward, uncoordinated movements
  • Have varying maturity rates, with girls tending to mature one and one-half to two years earlier than boys
  • May be at a disadvantage because of varied rates of maturity that may require the understanding of caring adults
  • Experience restlessness and fatigue due to hormonal changes
  • Need daily physical activity because of increased energy
  • Develop sexual awareness that increases as secondary sex characteristics begin to appear
  • Are concerned with bodily changes that accompany sexual maturation and changes resulting in an increase in nose size, protruding ears, long arms, and awkward posture
  • Have preference for junk foods but need good nutrition
  • Often lack physical fitness, with poor levels of endurance, strength, and flexibility
  • Are physically vulnerable because they may adopt poor health habits or engage in risky experimentation with drugs and sex

Wyld Life – Social Development

Although adults are key, peers are becoming a stronger voice. Remember that they like to move in a crowd. This age group doesn’t do well with volunteering to be out the front for a skit (please don’t do this!), or needing to be singled out in a game. They become highly embarrassed quickly … and remember that this doesn’t become resolved quickly – they’ll think on embarrassing moments for hours / days / months / years.

In saying that, if you want to have a deeper conversation with this age group, it has to be done 1:1 (remembering child protection guidelines of course!). They are unlikely to speak up in cabin time, afraid of making a mistake.

Social Development for early adolescence:

  • Have a strong need to belong to a group, with peer approval becoming more important as adult approval decreases in importance
  • In their search for self, model behaviour after older, esteemed students or non-parent adults
  • May exhibit immature behaviour because their social skills frequently lag behind their mental and physical maturity
  • Experiment with new slang and behaviours as they search for a social position within their group, often discarding these “new identities” at a later date
  • Must adjust to the social acceptance of early maturing girls and the athletic successes of early maturing boys, especially if they themselves are maturing at a slower rate
  • Are dependent on parental beliefs and values but seek to make their own decisions
  • Are often intimidated and frightened by their first middle school level experience because of the large numbers of students

Wyld Life – Moral Development

Life is becoming less black and white … and more grey! This is confusing! Notice though where they look to guide them through … their parents and significant adults! This age group haven’t yet hit the stage where what their peers think is THE most important … it’s actually what ADULTS think … what a unique and pivotal point in their lives to influence! Get alongside these young people before they care about what their peers think of you … it’ll save hours and hours and hours of time in the future!

Moral Development for early adolescence:

  • Are generally idealistic, desiring to make the world a better place and to become socially useful
  • Are in transition from moral reasoning which focuses on “what’s in it for me” to that which considers the feelings and rights of others
  • Often show compassion for those who are downtrodden or suffering and have special concern for animals and the environmental problems that our world faces
  • Are moving from acceptance of adult moral judgments to development of their own personal values; nevertheless, they tend to embrace values consonant with those of their parents
  • Rely on parents and significant adults for advice when facing major decisions
  • Increasingly assess moral matters in shades of grey as opposed to viewing them in black and white terms characteristic of younger children
  • At times are quick to see flaws in others but slow to acknowledge their own faults
  • Owing to their lack of experience are often impatient with the pace of change, underestimating the difficulties in making desired social changes
  • Are capable of and value direct experience in participatory democracy
  • Greatly need and are influenced by adult role models who will listen to them and affirm their moral consciousness and actions as being trustworthy role models
  • Are increasingly aware of and concerned about inconsistencies between values exhibited by adults and the conditions they see in society

Wyld Life – Emotional / Psychological Development

Our Wyld Life friends emotions have high potential to be ALL over the shop! We need to be patient, kind and predictable. Also energy! So much energy! They love free time … not to sit and chat … but to run and run and run … WITH YOU!! And that is part of your job! To run with them! Remember the kind piece – this age group take criticism to heart. They can’t shake it off. Please be extra aware of your words and make sure they are seasoned with encouragement … LOTS of encouragement! Also, be aware that this age group are just starting to experience sexualised feelings. This is normal. And not to be made fun of!

Emotional / Psychological Development for early adolescence:

  • Experience mood swings often with peaks of intensity and unpredictability
  • Need to release energy, often resulting in sudden, apparently meaningless outbursts of activity
  • Seek to become increasingly independent, searching for adult identity and acceptance
  • Are increasingly concerned about peer acceptance
  • Tend to be self-conscious, lacking in self-esteem, and highly sensitive to personal criticism
  • Exhibit intense concern about physical growth and maturity as profound physical changes occur
  • Increasingly behave in ways associated with their sex as sex role identification strengthens
  • Are concerned with many major societal issues as personal value systems develop
  • Believe that personal problems, feelings, and experiences are unique to themselves
  • Are psychologically vulnerable, because at no other stage in development are they more likely to encounter so many differences between themselves and others.

Wyld Life – Intellectual Development

Having an understanding of the intellectual development of our teens friends is really helpful when thinking through things like games (they prefer to be in groups, not out the front), humour (don’t make fun of them!! and if they don’t understand a joke, be quick to explain without them feeling silly), discipline (they watch our every move, so modelling behaviour is extra important!) and engaging them in what we do (they may require extra EXTRA encouragement!).

Below are some things to remember.

Intellectual Development for early adolescence:

  • Display a wide range of individual, intellectual development
  • Are in a transition period from concrete thinking to abstract thinking
  • Are intensely curious and have a wide range of intellectual pursuits, few of which are sustained
  • Prefer active over passive learning experiences
  • Prefer interaction with peers during learning activities
  • Respond positively to opportunities to participate in real life situations
  • Are often preoccupied with self
  • Have a strong need for approval and may be easily discouraged
  • Develop an increasingly better understanding of personal abilities
  • Are inquisitive about adults, often challenging their authority, and always observing them
  • May show disinterest in conventional academic subjects but are intellectually curious about the world and themselves
  • Are developing a capacity to understand higher levels of humour

Wyld Life – Developmental Considerations

Wyld Life aged young people are unique!  This age group is FULL of firsts!  And we get the privilege of walking alongside them through these.

Please take the time to go through and consider each of the five developments that are occurring for this age group and the implications that this has on being effective in ministering to this age group.

There will be a short reflection required at the end of this section.

Camp Training

Camp Training

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned camp veteran, this training will ensure you’re ready to inspire and be inspired, making this summer a transformative season for both you and the campers.