The Magic of Dishland

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Boys and leader do dishes together

By Will Shelton

Miniwanca offers a lot of unique programs and activities that set us apart from other camps. We have amazing leadership programs; the National Leadership Conference, and the Michigan Middle School Leadership Initiative. We send campers into the wilderness for epic adventures via our 4-Trails trips. Our summer camps are some of the finest in the nation. We sail Stony Lake, climb to great heights, and make incredible works of art.

DishlandThere is one activity that happens every day that is foundational to making all of those other things possible, and Miniwanca is one of the few camps in the country that does it. We have every camper take a turn in Dishland! Dishland is a magical place that opens at the end of every meal to allow campers a chance to dance, play with bubbles, and provide a service to the camp community.

Upon entering Dishland, campers divide up to various tasks. Half the campers are tasked with preparing dirty dishes to go through the dishwasher. Some wipe plates, some stack cups, others rinse silverware.

The other half takes the newly cleaned dishes and puts them away. A really stellar group can do dishes for 120 people in fewer than 3 pop songs.

Dishes are a task that has to be completed. They won’t magically wash themselves. It is with this reality that we teach our campers and staff that they choose how to approach any task. It would be easy to grumble and complain your way through dishes following Taco Tuesday, but we present the idea that any task can be fun when done with a Positive Mental Attitude and a team supporting you.

With that as a foundation so much of camp becomes easier. Struggles become learning opportunities, mountains become mole hills, and teams become lasting families. And if we’ve done the work well, then the attitudes developed at camp carry into our life outside of camp.