My Own Self, At My Very Best, All the Time – A Messy and Marvelous Opportunity.

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It is hard to believe we said goodbye to our 2 week campers last night. The Grand Council ceremony was beautiful, with campers leading us in songs and parents doing an excellent job in keeping up with 60’s Party and the Moose Song. Kris ended the evening with reminders of the challenges the campers faced and worked through, and the joy they created when they shared their own self, at their best, with the camp community. He challenged our campers to bring their own, best self back home and seek to lead with joy and love as they work to make a positive difference in their homes and communities.

Today we welcomed our 3 week Pioneer and Trailblazer campers back from their two and three day trips. Tomorrow they begin the Four Fold Tournament final week of camp. The events are always memorable, complete with water carnival, Melbourne Cup, Camp Conquest and the all camp Four Fold relay. Needless to say there is a lot of face paint and laughter as well as friendly competition. It has also been a treat to have all four Explorer groups here the last couple days, as they prepare for their final trips of the session. Before we know it, our Pioneer and Trailblazer campers will be welcoming all 11 Four Trails groups back to camp.

As I look backward at the first two weeks of camp, and look ahead to our final week of the session, I am taken by both the messiness and marvelousness of this camp community. Living in community with hundreds of unique individuals can be messy – literally and socially! Over the last few weeks, we have invited campers to discover, develop and be their own self.  And then we ask these hundreds of young people to explore what their own self, at their very best, looks and sounds like. And finally we fill each day with fun activities and challenges and shared cabins and shared responsibilities.

As I’m sure you can imagine, sometimes everything is smooth sailing and fun and marvelous. And sometimes things get messy – frustrations, miscommunications, hurt feelings and disagreements arise.  The latter is where the All the Time part of the motto becomes so important. That’s where campers really get to learn more about what it takes to be their own, best self! It involves listening and leaning in to hard conversations, it means taking responsibility & apologizing, it means speaking up when we see someone who’s feeling hurt, it means trying even when we are not sure we can succeed.

We tell our campers and staff, that how we move through the messy moments is where we learn the most about our own, best self. It’s not about trying to be perfect, or expecting others to be perfect. It’s about learning more about who we are, and what we are capable of – especially when it’s hard.

When we bring our own, best self to the messy moments of community is when they become marvelous moments of learning! I can’t wait to see what messy and marvelous moments lay ahead in this final week of Session A.