On Monday, Tues. and Wed. of this week four of us attended the Southeast American Camping Assoc. Conference in Hilton Head, SC. It was hard to stay focused on the meeting content in such a tough venue but the three days were packed with speakers and sessions that provided fodder for the future here at camp. It was also a reaffirming time for our year round staff as we found that our work is right on target with the goals of our national organization as well as the industry at large. Andy, our assistant director brought us the “Fish philosophy” last summer and also invited the Fish folks to be represented at the conference to present one of the keynotes as well as a conference session. If you’re not familiar with the “Fish philosophy” it’s simply: Choose Your Attitude; Play; Make Their Day; and Be Present. Through those four interconnected practices, a staff member can certainly make a huge difference in a child’s experience here at camp. I won’t go into a lot of detail but if you’re interested in learning more about the “Fish philosophy” go to www.charthouse.com “to catch the energy and release the potential”. The energy and potential is certainly a match for the camp environment.
As a director and one who in totally invested in camp experiences for children, we are doing so much more that just having children come to experience Gwynn Valley for a session. I believe we are truly in the business of youth development. A camp experience can be a transformational experience for a child in our environment. I don’t however, think that transformation takes place here. I think it takes place back home after a child has had some time to reflect on the camp experience. It was once said that the experience alone is not the teacher, but rather it’s the reflection of the experience.
One of our speakers talked about how there’s so much that bombards children these days and through his work with kids it’s hard for them to focus and just get into the flow of life as one of his students described. My mind went to that wonderful scene in “Finding Nemo” where Nemo was invited to join with the turtles and ride the flow or current and just enjoy the simple aspects of that ride; much like enjoying the simple joys here at Gwynn Valley. It’s coming to an environment that is unplugged where you feel the response of the boat from the paddle by doing that forward sweep stroke. It’s clasping your hands around a turning ball of clay to form and shape it by slight simple movements of your hands. Most of all, it is knowing that your counselor is there and present with you to guide you through the camp experience.
I hope that many of you have had some time to reflect on your camp experiences and share them with your siblings, parents and friends. Speaking of sharing, we will soon be sharing our message of Gwynn Valley by hitting the recruitment trail. Look for our promo schedule under this news page soon, as we travel to a town near you. Stay tuned!