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Parents create a 'Common Sense Camp' to teach kids the life skills so many are lacking

Throughout human history, older people always complain that the younger generation lacks the common sense and life skills they learned growing up. Then, when the younger generation gets older they judge the one that came after them.

It's a dance that's been happening for centuries. However, this time the old folks may be right.

Studies show that younger Americans are incredibly tech-savvy and great at academics but aren't quite up to snuff when it comes to basic life skills. Studies show they are much more likely to order take out than to cook for themselves.


They also don't know how to check their tire pressure, sew, make basic home repairs or drive a manual transmission.

So they're stuck having to pay people to perform basic tasks that they should have learned at some point in their first twenty-some-odd years on Earth.

Parenting coach Oona Hanson and her husband Paul, have decided to reverse this trend in their family by sending their two children, daughter, Gwendolyn, 17, and son, Harris, 12, to Camp Common Sense.

Due to social distancing, the camp has two campers, two counselors and takes place in the Hanson's home.

The camp has eight themed weeks that include kitchen confidence, anti-racism, DIY, laundry and cleaning, safety and emergency preparedness, personal finance, city savvy, and social skills.

Oona says she teaches the topics to her kids through a mixture of "direct instruction, independent research, and hands-on practice." They also watch movies that support to the themes to further drive home the message.

The family uses Catherine Newman's book "How to Be a Person: 65 Hugely Useful, Super-Important Skills to Learn Before You've Grown Up" as a basic camp manual.

via Debbie Fong / Twitter

"I chose to use this book as a guideline because it's written and illustrated with charm and joy and infused with humor and empathy," Oona told Today. "It's not an adult talking down to kids; it's an adult inviting kids into the world and explaining how you function in daily life."

The Hansons saw quarantine as the perfect time to teach their kids the skills they always planned to "someday."

"It always seems like we're going to get around to teaching them these things 'someday,'" she said. "There's that fantasy that before they go to college, they're going to learn these thousand skills that actually take time to learn and practice. Right now, we have the time it never seems we have to do it."

Camp days aren't all work and no play though. The kids still get time for physical activity, arts and crafts, and a little screen time.

The Hansons hope the lessons they teach now will pay dividends over the long haul.

"I'm OK if the kids are rolling their eyes at us now if later they can look back and say, 'I'm so glad I know how to make pancakes for 12 people.' That will bring so much joy and connection," Oona said.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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