July 31, 2022
I know you are home, but I want to share a few reflections on the session that just ended.
Susie Ma’am and I have been doing camp since 1993. There is some mileage on us, though I look more like it than she does. Nevertheless, we have seen a wide variety of summers.
The last few days were particularly joyful. Our final torchlights were the loudest and happiest I have ever seen. Of course, it helps that we had a full camp, but we also had full hearts.
I have tried to discern why the session was so effusive. I have a two-part theory.
First, we are still rediscovering joy after all the disruptions of Covid. Also, we have had a lot of social and political rancor lately. Of course, most campers are not on Twitter or directly aware of political division. But they sense when adults are more on edge. We also have economic uncertainty that adds to adult concerns. I am guessing that our children have become used to an ambient level of tension and they are somewhat more anxious themselves. But at camp, life is more simple and happy. Jokes, games of ga-ga and relaxed conversations fill the day and lighten the moods of everyone.
Second, being “tech free and happy” is such a gift. When phones started to become more prominent 10 years ago, campers wanted to have them more. Last week, a group of teens told me that they were “dreading scrolling through all the Instagram stories from their friends” and wish they could “just hang out with friends rather than deal with the phones all the time.” The phones have become almost a chore. In addition, young people are also dealing with the social comparison and FOMO (fear of missing out) of social media. Camp has none of that as well.
Our modern culture, with its anxiousness and technology, transform moments that would have seemed pleasant to you or me into powerful memories for our children. To put it more simply, time spent “just playing” or looking at the stars with friends really stand out for them.
In short, these kiddos seem to appreciate camp a bit more than campers in the past.
This thought brings me great happiness.
So two nights ago, after the fireworks were over and the campers had retreated to their cabins, I took a moment to breathe it in. The evening had been raucous when it needed to be and solemn when appropriate. It was then quiet and still. The wind blew lightly and the stars seemed a tad closer and more friendly.
Thank you again for sharing your camper(s) with us. We hope they have the best fall ever. I especially hope that they bring some of the confidence, social acumen and courage that they fostered at camp into their schools.
After all, our schools need more Champions!