Sunshine and Smiles

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Have you read Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages? It’s a fantastic book that talks about how people receive love. Every person receives love in a different way, and in turn we all give love in a different way. Some of us love others how we want to be loved, but because it’s not the other person’s love language they don’t truly feel loved.

During staff training, we do a brief training on this idea on how to best love our campers. When you truly know someone, you prioritize showing them love in the way they receive it. The thing about kids is they will flat out tell you how they want to be loved if you hang around long enough. Just ask them… ”Can I give you a hug?” “No thanks.” (Physical touch may not be their love language.) “Hey, you want to go play basketball?” “No, thanks.” (Quality time may not be their love language.) “Can I help you make your bed?” “I would rather do it myself.” (Acts of service may not be their love language.) “I’m so impressed at how well you caught on at LAX today. You are a talented athlete.” “Not really.” (Words of affirmation may not be their love language. “I missed you on my day off today, so I brought you all a gift.” Eyes light up, a smile crosses their face, “Wow. Thanks so much!” (Gifts are very likely their love language.)

To me, smiles are the language of love at camp. A smile says, “I’m glad you’re here” or “I’m proud of you.” A smile can say “you’ve got this” or “don’t give up.” And most of all, a smile says “we love you” and “my day is brighter because you are a part of it.”

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Today we have shared A LOT of smiles. We woke up this morning to a slightly overcast sky, after a night of rain, that offered a chill in the air that had campers snuggling together at Reflect at the Rock. We were worried about rain, but the sun quickly warmed the mountain and beamed brightly for the rest of the day.

I loved watching the happiness of our campers on camp today. The sun was shining brightly, but it could not compete with the radiance of our campers! I loved seeing the big smiles on their faces today while they soaked up the sunshine on Old Forge. The smiles tell the story that we are writing here at camp this session. They show you the pride of hitting the target at archery, the joy of a dunk shot at pool basketball or the surprise from being blobbed high in the sky before hitting the cold water. They do not show you the events that led to these joyful moments. They don’t show you the struggle of missing the target completely from the first two arrows, or the previous airballs that left you feeling frustrated or the nerves that you fought for 30 minutes before finally getting the courage to jump. At camp we measure growth through the process and not the product. It’s the story you don’t see that makes it worth telling.

Some of our biggest smiles today were at cookout tonight! This simple tradition of a casual night of eating outside, playing frisbee and relaxing with friends sparks so much joy! I am happy to report that the smiles you see in photos only tell you part of the story, and these stories are truly worth a million words.

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Favorite Details of the Day

  • Reflect at the Rock: This morning Beth talked to us about how to be a good friend. Good friends listen more than they talk; they uplift instead of tear down; they remind us to laugh at ourselves and to see the good in every situation. A good friend loves at all times. She reminded us that in order to have a good friend, you must be a good friend to others.
  • Meals: For breakfast we had bagels and cream cheese, scrambled eggs, sausage patties and a fruit bar. For lunch we had fried chicken fingers, grilled tenders, french fries and a salad bar. For dinner we enjoyed one of Highlander’s oldest traditions…cookout on the field. Bryan makes a mean hamburger, and the hot dogs are a close second in my opinion. We had pesto pasta salad, potato chips, watermelon and chocolate chip cookies too! It was AWESOME!.
  • Weather: We had picture perfect weather today! It was amazing! Sunshine all day and all evening! Not a drop of rain. It was a hot day, but it was such a fun day in the sun!
  • EP: Tonight’s EP was Harry Potter Olympics. So I have to be honest, I am not a Harry Potter fan. I’ve never read the books, and I’ve only seen one movie, so I am not familiar with the Hogwarts houses or who is who. However, our campers were PUMPED about EP tonight and they had an absolute blast! I heard campers saying it was their favorite EP so far, and they haven’t laughed that hard in a long time! These words are the words I live for…the laughter of children is truly my greatest joy! Shoutout to our EP staff Riley and Jeff for truly knocking the ball out of the park with this one…maybe I should read the books and see what all the hype is about! By the way, for you Harry Potter fans, Slytherin house won tonight!