Light the Fire: Tell Young People How They Inspire

By Melanie Lockwood Herman

Advising nonprofit management and governing teams is a labor of love for the NRMC team. We are constantly inspired by the missions of the nonprofits whose leaders invite us into their worlds to provide risk coaching, create risk assessment frameworks, revamp policies, and deliver training. Our inspiration doesn’t end when the sun sets on our workday: each of us is inspired by our volunteer service experiences and the organizations we personally support with time, talents, and treasure. One of the organizations I support is Camp Fire. During the 1970s, my younger sister and I joined a local Camp Fire club and Mum signed on as an adult volunteer. Recently, while paging through a family scrapbook, I found a childhood note I wrote to my dad asking if our group could visit the factory where he worked. Finding the note brought back wonderful memories of my Camp Fire experience.

My childhood note asking Dad to host my Camp Fire group at his workplace: Parker Brothers (game & toy manufacturer).

One Camp Fire program that didn’t exist in my day is Absolutely Incredible Kid Day® (AIKD), a national holiday that lifts up the kids and teens in our lives. Founded by Camp Fire in 1997, thousands of adults encourage young people across the country by sending notes, emails, letters, texts, videos (you choose!) on the third Thursday of March. This year’s AIKD is March 15, 2018. An adult’s words are powerful and can change a young person’s life. The medium doesn’t matter, but the message does: “You’re incredible, and here’s why…” The NRMC team is proud to partner with Camp Fire on this incredible day in honor of youth everywhere. Will you join us? Pledge your voice and learn more.

Spark a Growth Mindset

One of the important values that truly permeates the culture in Camp Fire is that “mistakes aren’t failures; they are an important part of how we grow.” To learn more about applying a growth mindset to key disciplines in your nonprofit, see the NRMC article “Ready, Mindset, Go!”

We recently praised an NRMC Affiliate Member organization for applying growth mindset internally. This national nonprofit team strives to cultivate a “mastery climate,” in which team members and young program participants are allowed to make messes and mistakes, but are expected to learn from them. See the shout-out in our article “Risk Management Leaders Must Be Unstoppably Optimistic.”

To learn more about the growth mindset, read “Growth Mindset: Your Key to Thriving”, a Blog Post from Camp Fire.

Writing a note for Absolutely Incredible Kid Day with my colleague, Kay Nakamura.

Find Your Flame

Many of my peers joined the nonprofit sector after nurturing embers of empathy, compassion, and community service in their young lives. Each day presents an opportunity for sector veterans to help rising nonprofit leaders find and foster the same flame. Absolutely Incredible Kid Day® offers another chance to encourage emerging leaders to forge the paths that lead to their hopes and dreams—and to a better world.

Take a few minutes from your day to write an encouraging note or letter to a kid in your life. Need inspiration? Explore these helpful resources from Camp Fire:

Writing a note for Absolutely Incredible Kid Day with my colleague, Erin Gloeckner.


My mother writing a letter on Absolutely Incredible Kid Day.

Melanie Lockwood Herman is the Executive Director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. Melanie is a former member of the National Board of Trustees at Camp Fire. Melanie welcomes your stories about how you uplift incredible youth in the nonprofit sector. Melanie can be reached at or 703.777.3504.