Kindness Practiced at Camp
As a child I remember wonderful summers with my Aunt Char. She simply did not believe in boredom. Our days were filled with trips to the library, afternoons at a community pool, visits to museums, and long drives to rural Pennsylvania to see whatever historic site rested in a certain town. As a child, I enjoyed these trips. They were fun and I liked learning and seeing new things. As an adult, I look back on these treks as the classroom of my self-hood. I figured out the things I loved on these adventures – books, the outdoors, animals. But I also figured out how to talk to new people, how to be polite, how to be patient and wait my turn, how to deal with people who were not treating me fairly, and how to express myself in all these different scenarios. While Aunt Char was keeping us busy, she was also teaching us how to be kind people.
I thought of my Aunt Char often over the course of camp. Sure, badminton is a fun game, but figuring out who should hit the ball first, that’s where the learning starts. Kids had to wait their turns for arts and crafts supplies, switch sport stations even when they didn’t want to, and help their team in capture the flag even when they really wanted a break. Every morning we would sit in a circle and either talk about an aspect of kindness or review the day before. Did everyone feel like they had been kind all day? Did anyone want to thank someone for their kindness? Even these conversations were learning grounds. Kids were vulnerable and they supported the vulnerability of those around them. Camp is great because it is fun and it gives our kids a common experience, but it is more important than that. We have already seen some of the learning from camp take effect, but also we hope that seeds were planted during camp that will bloom over the course of our children’s time at Bethany Hill Place and beyond. Here’s to being kind.
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