Monday, November 29, 2010

A great place for stories

So I was looking online for some great summer camp stories (whenever I need a pick me up I look for good stories) and I found this:

It is awesome and I can't really put into words what I think about all the stories. They just make me happy to be involved with such a great thing.


Friday, November 19, 2010

What was it about camp?

I have been an extremely errant camp blogger recently, with only myself and unforeseen circumstances to blame. It has been a reflective month for me, this November. Not the least because of camp.

How do any of us end up at camp?

The answer is probably fairly straightforward for those "legacy" campers I know, who attend camp because that's just what their family has always done and their summer vacation fate was set in stone from the cradle.

For the rest of us, the answers are probably pretty multifaceted. Me? My best friend in the world swore that Girl Scout camp was the greatest thing ever invented, and had my parents and I convinced the summer I was 12. With only ten days of memories, I had only a faint warm fuzzy camp feeling in my heart. It took a midterm college English paper about my experiences working for the Park Service to recall the inherent goodness of outdoor, community living and the joys of sharing a room with a half dozen other girls. So I applied. I picked the camp that would most impress my working cowboy peers at school (despite it being boys' only) and my life changed forever with the signing of a little two-month contract.

Where did you find that initial pull to come to camp, or send your child? Somehow, I think almost all humans share some personalized but intrinsic need to share a place and a purpose. Camp fills that void and then lends us just the right amount of freedom to create ourselves more fully. I hope more people stumble upon the spark that brings them back outside.

Location:Flaming Arrow Rd S,Hunt,United States

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Blue Rag

Blue Rag begins with a focus on God, Country and becoming one's best self. What are your blue rag goals? Have you achieved them and if so, do you revisit them to make sure you are still on the right track? Even if you have moved forward to other Rags, have you stayed true to ALL your goals?

Searching within yourself and setting goals to better yourself in no easy task. As you begin the Blue Rag journey, you embark on life changing events. First, you find that it okay to examine your faults and search for betterment. You learn that you can trust others and you find a group with a common mission. You also learn to stop and listen to quiet voice around you, with in you.

One of my favorite quotes from the ceremony is: “Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift. There is nothing small in it. For the greatest things grow by God’s Law out of the smallest. But to live your life to the fullest, you must discipline it. Make your thoughts, your acts, all work to the same end, and not self, but God.” To learn to become selfless is not easy or quick. This is a life learned skill that your will master and fail many times. The key is to recognize each time you fall back and to take that step forward again.

No one can ask more of you than for you to live not for yourself but for God and for others. Consider this: “There are two ways of living; a man may be casual and simply exit, or constructive and deliberately try to do something with his life. The constructive idea implies constructiveness not only about one’s own life, but about that of society, and the future possibilities of humanity.” (Sir Julian Huxley from “Essays of a Biologist.”)

So ask yourself: Am I living for my own gain or am I living a constructive, life striving for betterment?

There is so much to gain in life and you have to be willing to sacrifice your own wants for the needs of others and the will of God. Learn to be reflective, to take moments to listen to the world around you and find peace. Set your goals high, get back on the horse when life knocks you down and keep moving forward.

Remember-Youth Empowerment Retreat (click and look for tan box) is coming up December 10, 2010! Sign up today and take this time to renew your Rag goals at camp.

Hey Hey CFA-register today!

In the Spirit of Camp

Y 182?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing Letters

I found this article from late this summer in USA Today. It is really interesting. It explains that summer camp is a reason why to get the pen and pencil out instead of the computer and how that is important. I really like and if you have time, take a few minutes and read it. 

Can summer camps revive the lost art of letter writing?

Just another reason why summer camp is really important to the growth of kids. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Would Look Up...

The final line of the Ragger's Creed is: I would look up and laugh and lift and love.

Let's break this down. First, it states "I would look up." What does this mean to you? Obviously, there is the physical part of turning your face towards the sky and looking up. But there is a much deeper, philosophical meaning to this. I believe it means to look up to God, our Father. The Rag program is center on living a Christian way of life (more on this next week), so why wouldn't it mean to look up to Him? And I know personally that when a day has been hard or I am faced with a challange or want to share a join, I turn my face to the sky to pray to or thank our Father. For me, I have always found time spent in prayer while in nature to be more healing and allowed me to feel closer to God. So get outside, find a quiet place and talk to Him, He listens.

Secondly, the lines states "Laugh." Laughter truly is the best medicine. It helps you release stress and angst and share moments with friends. Laughter can help break tensions or heal broken spirits. I think it also means being able to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes.

Third, the line states "lift". By lifting, this speaks to lifting others, supporting others and being a champion for someone. The entire essence of the Rag program is to serve others and by doing so, you can help lift others to higher place in life.

And last, the line simply states "Love". For those of you who have been at CFA the last few summers, you know about our I.L.L. movement. "Is it loving" has become our motto and a way of life for those of us that work year round at camp. In all you do in life, is it done with a loving heart? Are you working hard to step out of your comfort zones and offer a hand to others? Love can be expressed in so many ways - what have you done today to show others you care?

If we could all live by this last line, imagine how simple and giving our lives would be. By reaching out to God, to others and allowing ourselves to laugh and be loved should be so simple. Yet we put pressure on ourselves to fit in and be like others, when truly, we should set our goals and be who we are - a caring, goal oriented, loving person.

Remember-Youth Empowerment Retreat (click and look for tan box) is coming up December 10, 2010! Sign up today and take this time to renew your Rag goals at camp. Hey Hey CFA-stay pure, stay true, stay strong, stay brave, be a friend, give each day, be humble, love who you are and stay CFA.

I would be true, for there are those that trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

I would be a friend to all, the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving and forget the gift,
I would be humble for I know my weakness;
I would look up and laugh and love and lift.

In the Spirit of Camp,

Allison, Y182?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Counselor Interview: Lacie

Lacie is returning this summer to be a counselor and she sat down for an interview with me to talk about camp. She is super excited about coming back and can't wait for the summer to start.

1. What was your favorite memory from last summer?

I was a counselor in Farrow and we decided to get up early and go to the back gate to see the sun rise. It was really cloudy and not much chance to see the sun. The girls were so positive the whole time though. They just kept saying "Lets keep going. It will clear up." Sadly, it never did but the trip made us bond as group and it was so much fun. The campers were all so close that week and it made it a great week. 

2. What are you looking forward to the most about next summer?

I love seeing all the kids come back and see how they have changed. I have been going for 7 years so it is always fun seeing kids come back and grow. I also like seeing friends reunite. It starts the camp atmosphere right away.

3. What is your favorite camp song and why?

I really like the Donkey song. The reason why is because a counselor named Reggie taught me it up in the dining hall. He was banging on the table and singing it. It was really cool.

4. What is your favorite camp skit and why?

It would be Boogie Bears. I still remember the first time I saw it. I remember who was in it and how it was done. It is the best.

5. What is your favorite place at camp?

It would have to be the porch at the dining hall. I had my very first ragger talk there and now I do all my ragger talks there.

6. Since you went to camp as a kid. What is your advice to a first time camper?

Don't be intimidated by the counselors who are singing and dancing. Just join in at campfire on the first night and you will have a great time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Would be Humble...

The seventh line of the Ragger's Creed is I would be humble, for I know my weakness.

Wow, what powerful statement. To be able to self exam and realize your areas of weakness is a powerful tool. The Rag program is a great tool to force you to take a look in the mirror, to see your flaws and to set goals to better yourself.

Humble: Marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or prideful. Weakness: The quality or state of being weak; want of strength or firmness; lack of vigor; want of resolution or of moral strength; feebleness

In this line of the Creed, weakness does not refer to physical strength, but rather mental and character strength. Things like attitude, self image, and how your treat others. do you believe in yourself? Do you take initiative in life or hang back and wait for things to happen? Are you a person of high moral standing or are you a bully, a gossip or in a tight clique ignoring or shunning others?

How does one work to become more humble? I think the first thing is what the line refers to - to look inside and know your weaknesses. Then, you work hard to over come them and become a stronger person. Another way is to not be boastful about your strengths and to recognize that we all have struggles in life, that no one is perfect. The core values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility and Faith are great examples of ways to be humble. In life, set your daily goals to reflect the values towards other, towards your family and to your self.

Today I challenge you to take a look in the mirror. Now I don't mean stand there and worry about your hair, or your skin or the color of your eyes, but look into your soul. Do you like what you find? If not, how can you work to better yourself? Know you are a precious gift and worth being the best person you can be. Exam your life, your morals and your values and set your goals to be humble.

Remember-Youth Empowerment Retreat (click and look for tan box) is coming up December 10, 2010! Sign up today and take this time to renew your Rag goals at camp. Hey Hey CFA-stay pure, stay true, stay strong, stay brave, be a friend, give each day, be humble and stay CFA.

I would be true, for there are those that trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

I would be a friend to all, the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving and forget the gift,
I would be humble for I know my weakness...

In the Spirit of Camp,

Allison, Y182?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What is a camp counselor?

It is the time of year when I start to get applications to be a summer camp counselor and to be a CIT. Every time someone asks me what the job entails I think of this poem. If you were wanting to know we have a lot of returning staff this upcoming summer.

What is a Camp Counselor---A Poem
Somewhere between adolescence and adulthood there occurs in human development an age which is physically and psychologically impossible. It is that unfathomable stage known as "Camp Counselor", a creature undefined by psychologists, misunderstood by camp directors, either admired or doubted by parents, and unheard of by the rest of society.

A camp counselor is a rare combination of doctor, lawyer and Indian Chief. They are competent child psychologists, paid baby sitters with neither television nor refrigerator. They are strict disciplinarians with a twinkle in their eye: a minister to all faiths with questions about their own. They are referees, coaches, teachers, and advisors. They are the example of grown-ups in worn out tennis shoes, a sweat shirt 2 sizes to large and a hat 2 sizes to small. They are humorists in a crisis, a doctor in an emergency, a song leader, an entertainer, a play director. Counselors are idols with their head in a cloud of wood smoke and their feet in mud. They are comforters in a leaky tent on a cold night and a pal who has just loaned someone their last pair of dry socks. They are teachers of the out-of-doors, knee deep in poison ivy.

Counselors dislike the wake-up bell, waiting in line, cabin clean-up, and rainy days. They are fond of sun bathing, exploring, teaching new games, and days off. They are handy for patching up broken friendships, bloody knees, and torn jeans. they are good at locating lost bathing suits, playing guitar, and catching fish. They are poor at crawling out on rainy mornings, and getting to bed early. A counselor is a dynamo on a day off, and exhausted the next day, but recuperates for the next day off.

Who but a counselor can cure homesickness, air out wet bedding, whistle"Dixie" through their fingers, and sing 37 verses of " oh you can't get to heaven".

A counselor is expected to repair 10 years of damage to Becky in 10 days, turn Terri in to a woman, rehabilitate Matt allow Joan to be an individual, and help Pat adjust to the group. They are expected to lead the most prized possession of adults much older than themselves. They are expected to lead them in fun and adventure in the North-woods, even though they spend 9 months a year in cities like Chicago, New York or Los Angles; to teach ingenious activities-then they can't even spell it; to guide them into social adjustment-when they haven't found it; to ensure safety and health- with a sunburned nose, a band aid on their thumb, and a blister on their heal. For all this, they are paid enough to buy the second text in psychology, some aspirin, some new socks and some tennis shoes. You wonder how they can stand the pace and the pressure. You wonder if they really know how much they are worth, and somehow, you realize you can never pay them enough when, they leave in August, and they wave good-by and says, "See' ya next summer!

"From "What is a Camp Counselor", Camping Magazine March 1965, P.M. Ford