1. Try it.
Camp is all about trying new things. At camp I was inspired to try tons of new activities for the very first time! This past summer I learned so much about myself just by stepping outside my comfort zone and doing something that I had never done before. Sometimes I found that I had a skill I never even knew about and sometimes I wasn’t so great at that new skill. But this taught me something too…
2. It’s okay to not be good at something.
When you try new things you realize just how bad you are at some stuff… and that’s okay! Being not so great at something the first time you try it, is what makes it fun. It is what makes it challenging, and makes you want to try it again and again to keep getting better. Enjoy the time when you are not so good at something. Let yourself be a learner and appreciate that you are building a new skill. The first time I tried bracelets I had a knot so big it took me the entire activity block just to untangle the mess I had made! But I kept at it. I can now make tons of different bracelets.
3. Knots can be undone.
No matter how big the problem is, or how tricky your knot is to untie, we can work together to fix it. Sometimes life can get pretty hectic and it is hard to see past the big tangled mess that we are in. But camp taught me that we can find solutions to every problem, sometimes it just takes some creative thinking, hard work, and teamwork.
4. Help your friends.
When things get tricky it’s important to help out your friends. Having friends by your side can make every problem seem more manageable. Sometimes things are going so great for you it’s hard to remember that other people aren’t doing so well. Make sure to take a look around every once in a while to check in with the people around you and see what you can do to help.
5. It’s good to ask for help.
When you need help, ask. Sometimes it is our turn to help, and sometimes it is our turn to need help. Enjoy both these times. When you are the one receiving help, appreciate the wonderful people around you that are there to support you and help you out.
6. Get out there and enjoy the outdoors.
With all the incredible pictures that we can view from our smart phones, sometimes it’s hard to remember that nothing beats the real thing. I live a short drive from some of the most photographed areas in the Pacific North West, yet sometimes I forget to appreciate the view right in my backyard. I think all these incredible images are great if they inspire you to get outside and check them out but they should not be a substitute. Trout (Zach Lepard) wrote a great blog post “Natures Rx” that explains all the benefits of the outdoors. We know it’s true because of science, but we also know its true by the feeling we get just by taking in a deep breath of fresh air and taking a look around.
7. Take time to look at the sunset.
At camp, and in life things can get pretty busy. It seems like such a short summer to have so much fun. Life can be like this too. We get so caught up in the daily grind that we think we are too busy to just take a moment. This year I have learned that taking a moment to look at the sunset (or any beautiful view) is immeasurably valuable. Try it today. Put the screens away and just look at the incredible world that we exist on. It’s a pretty neat place.
8. Sing along with the music.
At camp, there is no sweeter sound than singing with your friends. It might be singing morning inspiration, singing at campfire, (especially during blackout night) or just spontaneously breaking out in song! So go for it! I sing because of the feeling it gives my soul and the way it makes me feel connected to the people around me. Life Lesson #2 taught us it’s okay to not be good at something… singing is one of those things for me and I’m okay with that. When I’m singing at camp, in my car, or when I’m walking down the street I’m not thinking about how I sound, I’m thinking about how great it feels to join in and be apart of something bigger than you in that moment. So join in. Whatever it is, if you want to be a part of it, go for it.
9. Get messy.
Life can get messier than the stage on double dare night. And that’s okay. Enjoy the mess when it is there; embrace the challenges that you face. Before you know it, the hoses will come out, the stage will get washed off, and in the morning, the sun will rise. When you look down at the amphitheater the next morning the only reminder that the mess was ever there will be the spot of slime left on your shoe. So enjoy the messy bits, and know that they won’t last forever.
10. Be yourself.
The most important lesson I think camp taught me it to be myself. Although we hear these words all the time in life, I find camp one of the few places where they are actually enforced! At camp I can truly be me.
I can’t wait to see you all again next summer!
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!
-Canada (Monika Zischka) Program Director at Camp Ocean Pines