I can’t add anything about “seasons in the sun” as we have definitely received a lot of rain this session, but I love how joy and fun truly describe this session of campers! We love ending the summer with our two-week August girls. They are an end-of-the-season bright spot for us. These campers have been waiting all summer to get here, and when they finally arrive, they are excited about everything that happens at camp. Yes, they are on average a little younger than our other sessions, and yes, more of them are first year campers, but they very quickly assimilate into an amazingly energetic and enthusiastic group. Their curiosity is endless, and with the limited time they are here, everything seems new and fresh. These girls derive pleasure from the simplest of things; shaving cream and washable paint bring out the best in all of us! It is such an inspiring way to finish out the summer camp season.
This group of girls allows us to focus on the joy and the fun of camp. We have long been aware that each session has their own distinct personality. By nature of their length, the longer sessions possess an intensity in our relationships with the girls. The campers come in with specific goals in mind, and they are here long enough to really stretch themselves, both physically and emotionally. With this group, we focus on celebrating the pleasures of camp and the pure joy of childhood: trying something for the first time, advancing our skills in different activities, meeting new friends from all over the world, and hanging out with great counselors who take the time to really get to know their campers. The relationships at camp are a constant give and take: the campers learn from the staff, and we learn from them. In fact, one California camper was kind enough to help me with today’s slang as we made our salads side by side in the dining hall. In reading Kamp Key Sunday night, I had been unfamiliar with the phrase “lit.” Not only did she help with that word, but she also made sure I knew how to “dab” and “nae nae.” As she said, “I just want to take care of you, Page.”
Camp is caring for one another. It is investing of yourself in another person’s success. It is taking time to find the common ground we share. It is building a community of support that encourages every girl to be her best self. It is thinking about who you want to be and how you want others to see you. It is being conscious of how you make others feel with your words and your actions. We want to build a camp community where we care for each other with love, respect and encouragement. This relationship is one we nurture each day. One outstanding sign of success in reaching this goal come from seeing our girls who struggled with homesickness at the beginning of the session overcome that challenge. Another way we realize success is in hearing a child say, “Camp is the BEST!” This statement reinforces our goal of creating an opportunity for that girl to feel welcome, included, successful and happy.
Too often, we try to quantify to success in objective ways with titles, things or money. Camp lets us realize success with people and within ourselves. At our most basic level we want to be included, cared for and loved. Allow me to quote Marianne Williamson, “Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” That is the gift of camp.
We had joy. We had fun. Thank you for sharing your daughters with us. We hope they received as much from camp as we received from them.