Girls, Interrupted

05f1d949 211b 4e59 bc1c a1c392e0900d.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1

How I wish we could have shared this day with you! As many of you may know, the final Thursday in a session is spent in team games. The team captains are up early armed with body paint to help their teammates wear their colors from head to toe. There is enthusiastic cheering and non-stop activity leading all the way into the banquet and our campfire this evening.

Our Aide group will be decorating the Pavilion this afternoon. When we leave flag lowering this evening, we will be walking into a fantasy world created by these girls. For many, it is a true highlight of their session. The Aides have also planned our menu and will help in serving the cabin tables. It really fills our Aides with great pride and a true sense of accomplishment to give this gift to the rest of camp.

Today is my day to wrap up our experiences of these past three weeks; what we learned about ourselves and each other. There is no doubt Covid interrupted our lives these past 15 months. Although life is moving back to a more normal environment, Covid continues to hang over our heads. Thanks to all of your pre-camp monitoring and testing, this session has had no documented cases of Covid. Summer colds have definitely returned, though. We have taken reasonable precautions all session, and we hope that there is no incidence of Covid in the first 14 days post-camp. No one is exactly sure what school and college may look like this fall, but we all know we want to spend a lot less time on screens!

41c42f7c 1f74 48b7 af5d 78ced180a4cf.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1

These past few weeks at camp have given our girls great gifts. We have missed a lot of substance in our relationships over these past 15 months. In person meetings and conversations have been so limited, but here at camp, we have immersed ourselves in these face to face times. For most, the preferred way of spending free-time was to sit in crazy creeks or swing in side by side hammocks and talk. The conversations were deep, caring and intentional.

These intentional, in-person relationships are such a contrast to what has been available during Covid. We should seize upon having our girls unplugged and keep it going. As much good as has occurred in connecting online, I also believe that social media is doing harm. Likes on Instagram and TikTok are fleeting. The postings to get noticed require more and more from the posters. A sense of self becomes defined by likes and followers, not by what we have accomplished for ourselves or for others.

The uncertainties of school and college add to the anxiety and stress we have seen in our girls. Some worry they won’t fit in with their old friends. They are afraid of being alone and left out. Some have experienced significant body changes in 15 months away from peers. I was surprised to read today that 60% of college students suffer with a sense of loneliness during their collegiate careers. At my alma mater, Duke University, that number is 80%.

5dde0a33 f5c6 454e 9352 566734320a4c.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Going back to school is necessary to begin resuming our new normal, but it might be hard. We have heard from so many that they are overwhelmed. We need to help our girls identify their concerns and make plans to handle them. Ask them to write down 3 things each day they feel they did well. This can help remind them how much good they do for themselves and others. Restore their sense of purpose and control. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said,

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

Thank goodness for three weeks at camp! We have been able to find ourselves. We have been able to do some hard things, and we have experienced positive outcomes. Our take away is that hard things are survivable. Doing hard things makes us better able to handle the next hard thing. We have experienced accomplishment. We have reengaged with old friends and made new friends. We have achieved both physically and emotionally. Challenges have been met, new skills learned and fears vanquished. So many levels have been passed in activities and awards have been won. Those who suffered initial homesickness have risen up with a new sense of purpose being at camp. The girl you get back tomorrow will be different from the girl you dropped off three weeks ago. She has learned about herself, and she will want to share what she has learned with you.

42e64b8b 2d08 4932 a894 1cce665de71b.jpeg?ixlib=rails 2.1

We are grateful to our camp parents for sharing your daughters with us for this brief window in time. In response to my last blog, one of our camp parents shared Ariana Huffington’s recent posting on resilience. My favorite phrase was actually the subtitle, “[Resilience is] what allows us not just to bounce back, but to bounce forward.” We are moving forward…

All the best, Page