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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bug Juice: My Adventures at Camp is a Disney reality series reboot that's filmed at a kids' summer camp, chronicling the residents' experiences. The show can be emotional in moments when viewers see campers wrestle with feelings about not fitting in, being afraid of a particular activity, or feeling homesick. But those same moments often inspire the best in others, as peers and counselors step in to encourage, show compassion, befriend, and otherwise model positive behavior. Campers' experiences may remind viewers of the benefits of being part of a community, as well as the often surprising results of stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Expect the show to make the summer camp experience -- and Camp Waziyatah in particular -- look very appealing to kids.
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What's the story?
BUG JUICE: MY ADVENTURES AT CAMP is a reality series that follows campers as they build friendships, explore nature, and spread their wings at Camp Waziyatah in Maine. From the moment they arrive at the sprawling adventure venue to the last campfire ring, cameras capture the highs and lows of residential camp for these 10- to 12-year-old campers. As they try activities like archery and rock climbing, test their resolve atop the Blob tower, and forge new relationships through shared experiences, Waziyatah campers grow in self-confidence surrounded by new friends.
Is it any good?
This series is an effective promotional device for the summer camp experience (and Camp Waziyatah in particular), but its broader messages about personal growth and community are what really stick with you. It doesn't take long before you're emotionally invested in several of the characters, and you share their ups and downs as they adjust to being away from home -- some for the first time -- and extending themselves beyond their comfort zone. For some the challenge lies in tackling a difficult or intimidating physical task; for others, the mere act of making new friends within a new community is a sticking point. The campers' honesty about their feelings throughout gives the show an authenticity that's sometimes lacking in "reality" TV.
That very authenticity is what makes Bug Juice: My Adventures at Camp a worthwhile title for families, as it gives insight into how kids respond to pressures of group dynamics and taking on new challenges. As the campers face down their fears and revel in their accomplishments, families can relate their experiences to similar ones in their kids' lives. This enjoyable series invites conversations about courage, self-confidence, compassion, teamwork, and many other themes that arise as part of the campers' time at Camp Waziyatah.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why new experiences like summer camp can be scary. Is it a fear of something specific or the general fear of the unknown that bothers you? How easily are you able to overcome your worries? Who can you talk to about your feelings or the difficulties you face? How do the kids in Bug Juice: My Adventures at Camp get over their fears and worries?
Kids: Identify some instances in which campers or counselors show compassion or otherwise model positive character traits. How does it feel to help someone who is struggling with a task or an emotion? How can a small act like kindness to one person inspire change on a bigger stage?
Does this series make going to summer camp seem like fun? How differently do you think you would react to the kinds of situations the campers experience? What activities would you like to try? In what areas would you need some encouragement from friends? How might the experience change you?
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