Some days it feels like I only see the hard things that happen at camp… people come to me with the problems they can’t solve themselves, and although I love the challenge and satisfaction of being able to help (when I can), it can feel like all that’s happening at camp is problems. On these days when I sit down to blog I have to think really hard or ask someone for help thinking of the positive, special things that happened that day (which are always there – sometimes I just don’t see them because I am too focussed on the problems).
Other days, the heart-warming moments that remind me why we do the work we do here are front row centre, and yesterday was one of those days. It started at 7am with the 8 boys and girls who are training for the Brent push trip asking me to run a morning yoga session for them. I was equally impressed with their commitment to their goal and their impeccable manners (they were so appreciative of my time). At Rest Hour the conditions were so perfect I couldn’t resist hopping on a windsurfer to join the Senior Boys in their inter-camp qualifying race and had a similar experience: they were so encouraging to me and made me feel great about my admittedly mediocre surfing skills… and AWED me with theirs. Staff hour was a Senior Girl’s Arowhon A test (one of the most prestigious awards given at Arowhon requiring near perfection in style swimming and diving). Again my mind was blown by the dedication this girl had shown, getting up every morning before breakfast to practice and spending every general at the dock, not to mention the staff who had volunteered their spare time to coach and guard her. The flawless test was a thing of beauty to watch, but the real magic in the experience for me was seeing the transformation in her skills and confidence from the beginning of the summer – a true testament to how hard she and the staff had worked.
My day was capped off with supervising a first class archery test after dinner involving a series of theory and practical skills, culminating shooting at a target 40 meters away. As the boy loaded his bow, I thought there was no way any of the arrows could possibly hit the target at that range, yet every single one of them did! I now not only know about the intricacies of Mongolian horseback archery, but also that there is no limit to what kids can accomplish when they have adults who challenge them, believe in them, and put in the time and energy to help them achieve their goals.
The cherry on top of my inspiring day was the reactions of the other campers (and their counsellors) upon seeing their friends achieve these awards they had been working so hard on. The pure pride and joy in their peers’ accomplishments melted my heart. Watching the staff literally cry with pride as they delivered the high class speeches was a true testament to the profundity of the work that we do here. Now I dare you to ask a camp staff when they are going to get a “real” job.