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Camp is a Wonderful Thing

June 11, 2013

Tonight was the Hidden Acres Annual Chicken BBQ fundraiser.  Along with the Mennonite Relief Sale, this is another important spring tradition for me.  Hidden Acres is a Mennonite Camp and Retreat Centre located just outside New Hamburg Ontario.

Hidden Acres played a huge role in shaping the person I am today.  I attended for a few years as a camper, but it was the summers I spent there during in my late teens that had the greatest impact.  Camp is a wonderful thing.  In my experience it’s the place to try new things and meet new people.  It’s an experience during which you laugh, cry, sing, dance, play, pray, learn, grow, and a million more things.   Years later, I still say that it was at camp that I learned what being part of a team is all about.  As camp counselors, we all had assigned roles and responsibilities; we also all had the same job.  And so within those weekly specific responsibilities, there was lots of opportunity to support one another.   When you were feeling a bit exhausted or overwhelmed, you could ask another staff to cover your table at dinner while you helped in the kitchen; or another staff would offer to support the more challenging camper for a few minutes while you worked with the rest of group of kids.  But mostly, you could count on people to offer an encouraging word, a supportive hug, or a smile across the dining hall.  One summer we had beaded necklaces or bracelets with 4 different coloured beads – one for each letter in TEAM.  They were to help us remember that Together Everyone Achieves More.  It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s something I haven’t forgotten.

Camp is special when you are a camper, focused on having fun, getting dirty, singing silly songs, and staying up late with your friends.  But camp is also special when you are youth needing a place to belong, where you feel safe to try new things, where life long friendships are formed, and where you learn valuable life lessons (like what being part of a team is all about).  So when people talk about sending their kids to camp, I’m always supportive.  It is about so much more than one might initially think.  And I say everyone should have a chance to experience it, both as a camper and a counselor.

Sky Report at 10:00 – mostly overcast with the odd tiny spot of blue sky

Yarn Strands: grey and white

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