In Portsmouth: Building the leaders of today — and tomorrow

Teen camp at Glen Farm July 27-31 will focus on emotional intelligence

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PORTSMOUTH — Steve Sebolt says the teen summer camp he’s bringing to Glen Farm is not only ideal for kids who experience the same uneasiness he once did, it’s also the perfect time to confront such issues.

“I suffered from anxiety,” said Mr. Sebolt, a Portsmouth resident who owns Fearless Performances, a company aimed at helping people build mental toughness and emotional resilience through a mindful approach called Find Your Inner (FYI) Strength.

“It’s ideal for those who are looking for a wellness program or for a program to help them perform under stress. It’s kind of ideal for this climate,” he said, referring to the pandemic. “We focus on how to keep yourself well and building up your immunity — not only mental wellbeing but physical wellbeing."

Mr. Sebolt has been working with Recreation Department Director Wendy Bulk to bring the weeklong FYIStrength Leadership Academy Camp to Glen Farm, which starts Monday, July 27, at The Brown House. (See box for more information on how to register.)

FYIStrength is an interactive program designed to teach teenagers to elevate their performance, build effective leadership skills, strengthen collaboration and increase their overall wellbeing, according to its website. It focuses on five areas of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills and leadership skills — combined with mindfulness practice, neuroscience and leadership applications.

“The concept behind the leadership academy is the Island School in the Bahamas, and some of the Portsmouth High School students have gone to that school,” he said, referring to the school that offers a semester abroad for sophomores and juniors who are taught how to live sustainably while earning high school credit.

Mr. Sebolt, who played three years of football at the University of Rhode Island before graduating in 1992, is also involved in two programs founded by retired Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine: SEALFIT and Unbeatable Mind, the tenants of which he also brings to his leadership academy.

“SEALFIT started off for kids who wanted to become Navy SEALS and what it takes besides the physical piece to do that. Mark had kind of cracked the code with his program and started SEALFIT as an introductory program into SEAL training,” he said. 

Unbeatable Mind focuses more on mental toughness and improving confidence, both which are components of the FYI Strength Program, he said.

Typical day at camp

Mr. Sebolt said due to the current COVID-19 guidelines on public gatherings, the program is limited to 14 campers, and is intended for teens going into high school up to age 18. 

“If they’re in middle school, they probably wouldn’t get the concept as much,” he said.

The program will be centered at the Brown House, where there will be presentations and lectures, with guests brought in virtually using the Zoom application. Parts of the camp will also be held outdoors.

“We’ll start the day with breath work to manage your fear response and your ability to clear you mind and how to be self aware of your emotions — what’s going on inside of you,” Mr. Sebolt said.

After that, about 20 minutes will be spent on talking about mindfulness. “Then we do a skill, which will usually outdoors. We’ll take a walk down the Glen property and back up; it teaches you about getting out to nature.” 

Campers will break for lunch (bring your own) at noon. There will be more lectures in the afternoon. 

“I have the Navy SEAL instructors who went through my program, so they may come in and talk about some of these techniques,” said Mr. Sebolt, adding he may also bring in an officer at the Naval War College who trains officers on leadership, as well as people involved in athletics.

There will also be meditation, “visualization work” and instruction on the importance of journaling and goal-setting. “My first goal is to get up in the morning. My second goal is not to look at social media right off the bat,” he gave as an example.

Mr Sebolt said he hopes his leadership academy will grow and spark collaborations on other projects with local wellness groups and nonprofit organizations such as Be Great for Nate.

For more information about Mr. Sebolt’s Fearless Performances, visit www.fearlessperformances.com.

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