It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, and It’s Anything But Boring!

Dear Parent and Friends,

We’ve just wound down from our OLS Web of Life Campfire and it was the perfect night to get everyone into the Lodge, build a big fire in the fireplace, tell a few stories, sing a few songs and cozy up.  It has rained most of the day and even though it was wet, most programs were able to carry on.  The exception was late this afternoon when we got a little thunder and lightning.  Our creeks are all flowing swiftly and our local rivers were too high for tubing or even boating.  Mountainside had a day off today between mini adventures and held some sign-ups for campers which resembled aspects of Main Camp activities.  They enjoyed the change in programming and will continue their mini’s tomorrow.  Riverside returns on Friday from their climbing adventure in TN.

Bikers were able to bike this morning but stayed close to the Main Camp gravel and dirt trails.  It was a bit too muddy to venture out on any single track.  The horses loved the cooling rain and carried many campers throughout the day amid the gentle drizzle.  OLS took time to offer a little first aid training this morning as evidenced by the splinting that they learned.  They also were learning how to use a compass and did some simple drills with map and compass.  Those who weren’t satisfied by water falling from the sky snorkeled their way around the lake surprising a number of critters in the water and managed a complete circumnavigation of the waterfront – a feat that I don’t think has been done before.  The Mill continues to churn out ice cream of every conceivable flavor and we’ll sample it in the days ahead.  Of course those making it get a sample right after a batch is done.  Last session they made over 100 quarts of ice cream at the Mill.

There are so many activities available at camp and so many talents that children can realize once they’re here.  Everyone has talents–some obvious, some hidden. At camp, it’s easy to see who the athletes are, somewhat harder to see who the artists are, and almost impossible to see who the intellectuals are.  Because enhanced self-esteem is a cornerstone outcome of most camp programs, it is worth thinking about how our program identifies, cultivates, and showcases talents of all types.

Self-esteem, after all, is grounded in feelings of competence. And feeling good about at least one thing is essential for authentic happiness.

Most camps heavily emphasize physical prowess, whether it be traditional athletic events or adventure sports like paddling, climbing, biking etc.  We’re a non competitive program so we downplay this as much as possible.  We encourage the camper to better oneself and not at the expense of others.  I think some aspects of camp help to level the playing with non-traditional games and sports.  We also encourage activities that shine the spotlight on musicality, intellectual creativity, and artistic abilities.

The idea is to give every child a chance to improve skills they already have, develop competence in emerging skills, and (of course) sample a few things they have never tried before.

To accomplish this range, we as a staff have to think outside the box of the tired old talent show. Sure, it’s fun to see who is double-jointed and who can play the harmonica with their nose, but the real interest is in activities that require some skill, such as group mural painting, camper choirs, and short-story competitions.  We’re always trying to give thought to how we might juice up our existing program with some non-traditional activities that nurture talents and self-esteem in new and meaningful ways.

Our hope is that we’ll be helping campers cultivate the one talent set that we all come to camp for: interpersonal skills. We might even awaken a hidden desire in some of our campers to step up and join our staff when they are old enough.  And that friend’s is another great outcome.  Stay tuned!