Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Carry it Home

"What you do in here, fill the streets out there." - The Song "Madly"

While that is a religious song that was sung at chapel time at my previous camp I worked at, those lyrics always stuck with me. If is so hard to take we do at camp and apply it to the outside world. The lessons learned like how to care for others, being responsible, etc... I find myself taking something different home with me every year to fill the streets of me life. My first year at CFA was to work hard and set high expectations not only for others, but for myself. The second year was to love blindly. Now this year I am trying to take home the ability to let others (besides my family) love me. It is something that I learned and saw at camp, letting others love me for who I am.

Now you had to learn something while you at camp. Maybe you learned a lot. Its hard to take a lot home with you and sometimes when you try to take so much you end up carrying more than you can handle and you end up dropping everything. If you can carry everything home that is great, but if could choose one thing that you take home what would it be? The confidence you gained? The feeling of knowing that you are loved? The satisfaction of helping someone else? The ability to be yourself?

Once you make it part of your life people will see the difference in you. You won't even have to tell them about it. I tell the counselors if they complete a whole summer it will change them forever and that people will be able to tell that they are different in a good way. They have done something not many people in the world are capable of. It changes them. Camp changes them.

So what is the thing or things that camp changed in you this year?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Filling Up Your Cup

I was talking to some other camp professionals yesterday and we had a discussion about how do you prepare you campers and staff to go back into the life outside of camp. It was an interesting question. I talked mainly about what we do with staff since most have been at camp for at least 9 weeks.

What we do is we have personal conversations with all of them about how their summer went and if there is anything they need help with outside of camp once camp is over. Most tell me no that they don't need any help after camp but some do and we try to be as helpful and supportive as possible. Whether it be rides to the airport or just advice on what is happening in their life. We want them to know that they are part of family that will be there for them as long as they keep making the right choices.

We also throw a staff party where we take them all out to dinner and we watch the staff video. They also get a staff picture, a staff gift (a picture frame this year) and a summer staff blue bead. We hope that this gives them closure to what they have experienced and accomplished.

What we hope to prepare our staff and campers for whenever they leave is how to fill the emotional cup or bucket or whatever else you want to fill. We emphasize the core values at CFA and we hope both staff and campers learn those and realize how good it makes you feel in Spirit, Mind and Body when you follow those core values.

A lot of campers and staff go home and lose that camp fire of just feeling good inside. They lose that sense of community and real friendship. I know I did whenever I was a camper and staff member. I finally figured out what to do about it. I went out and searched for my own community to make a difference in. In high school I joined a youth group and in college I started writing for my college newspaper. So go out and find a community where you can use the skills and values you learned at camp in. It will help you keep your cup full and a smile on your face.

Here are some other things that might interest you in keeping that cup full:

Join Habitat for Humanity
Serve food at a homeless shelter
Volunteer in a organization that you are passionate about
Do more chores than you are required to around your house
Talk to people that you don't normally do at school
Start a new hobby

Do you have any ideas for how to keep your cup full?

Remember to live, laugh, Love and look up


Monday, August 8, 2011

Miss you already, summer. (With videos galore!)

What a brilliant summer we had at CFA. Most staff have moved on; a few remain to throw their hearts into retreats for the next two weeks. The Magical Back Room in Strong Hall has been tidied and organized and the millions of fun things in there all await Summer 2012, to emerge for theme nights and dances and fairs. The horses are enjoying a brief respite for the month of September. Our staff shirts are washed and folded, to be worn on days other than those which they were intended for— the red "Caring" shirt on a Tuesday!? Sacrilegious!

As we gather our thoughts and lives together from the bustle of summer, enjoy the eight session videos, produced almost entirely by our wonderful "Video Guy," Stephen Salas. Even as the voices of summer fade from the kickball fields and the triangle, we can relive some of the fun thanks to YouTube.

See you soon, friends & family!