There are a lot of “firsts” that happen at Arowhon. For many it’s the first time they will ride a horse, windsurf across the lake, skipper a sailboat, catch a frog, or get to the top of the high ropes course. These “firsts” are powerful learning experiences. To do something new brings tremendous growth. To push yourself out of your comfort zone and do something that scared you at first is one of the most powerful things we can do to build our confidence. This is the essence of Arowhon activities. Ask any Arowhon instructor why they are here and they will tell you “to grow young people, both ourselves and others”.
Now “firsts” at the activities are certainly important, and for many people they are the reason that they come to camp, but there are many other different kind of first experiences that we have here and they can be even more profound. The past 24 hours have been a great showcase of this. To outline one, last night we had a wonderful campfire. Now all of our campfires are pretty special, but this one had some particularly special elements. We watched so many campers stand up in front of 500 people (our entire community) and perform a wonderful array of acts. We had hilarious skits, rowdy sing alongs, and beautifully sung songs with guitar accompaniment. For many this was their first time performing in front of anyone, let alone a huge crowd. Imagine the growth there! It is these special things that for many they only get the chance to do at camp. This is just one of the many reasons we see campers leave this place different people. People with a new outlook on challenges; people ready to face adversity, resilient people who can take on anything new with an open mind.