Being Marvelous

It’s pretty easy to spot kids being marvelous around here. It starts first thing in the morning and continues all day, long into the evening. While they bop here and there living their camp lives, being extraordinarily active, friendly, and joyful, they are a delight to encounter. They’re so positive and strong. They’re often talented, and always funny and chatty.

This morning for example, a group of girls and a couple of counselors appeared at the lake before breakfast, around 8am. Believe it or not, they were there to swim! An early morning swim like this we call a “polar bear.” The girls counted down— 3, 2, 1, “PolarBear!” —and jumped into the lake together screaming. With the air temperature about 60 degrees and the water not much warmer, it took real nerve to leap through the misty morning air and into the lake. But these girls were determined, and together they were all pulled along. Impressive!

It’s likewise wonderful to see campers figure things out while at camp. There are a lot of new things to encounter here. From the people they meet to the food they eat, what’s new becomes more familiar and often more easygoing as camp life unfolds. An activity that first feels frustrating, like learning to center a ball of clay on the wheel, can in time lead to a sense of accomplishment. It’s true for their relationships at camp too. With the passing days, the campers get to know each other more and trust each other more, knowing that the people here value who they really are. This makes it increasingly easy to make friends and grow deeper friendships. Especially for the older girls, there’s a “friendship-making muscle” that is happily exercised at camp. That is definitely marvelous.

Another example is how the campers inspire each other to be their best selves. Place kindness at the center of things, and wrap that in silly enthusiastic encouragement, and you’ll see an interesting sort of positivity. The girls are quick to laugh and be silly. They’re often singing together just because it feels good to do it. Even the 16-year-old girls will break out into song without prompting! Today during the surprise ice cream party— the Biltmore Train! —it wasn’t just eating ice cream; it was our entire community celebrating being at camp together. The party is “all you can eat” …as long as your single cone lasts. Eat the ice cream off your cone and head back for another scoop if you like. It’s sweet and messy, and good camp fun.

Finally, it’s marvelous how at this point in the session, the girls seem so comfortable. They’re now familiar with the rhythms of camp life, how to navigate the points of the day, how they like to spend their free time, and how camp feels really good. They simply know what to do and are happy to do it! They know the people and the places around camp better, and easily become part of it all, completely fitting in. Camp is their place, their special place.

As I wandered around on the hill after dinner (during our “twilight” free time), a 12-year-old camper came up to me, looked out across the hill where scores of girls were playing, and said, “Don’t you just love Rockbrook?” I had to stop, astonished by the comment, and look at her carefully before saying, “Yes. Yes, I do. There’s nothing quite like it.” She nodded, and strolled away soaking it all in. Truly marvelous.

camp kids hanging out


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