I distinctly remember donning a wild costume dug out of Cabin F, bursting out of the Canteen door to parade across the pavilion all while doing a goofy dance, to a crowd of smiling and overjoyed faces. To then run away into the woods only to be chased by, and chase children who were gathering the most precious of material...foam blocks. We were hot, sweaty, often covered in dirt, bug spray, sunscreen, and creek paint, yet it was the most marvelous time of my life.
One of the most important features of the camp setting is the willingness of everyone to let go of the expectations from the outside world and just be silly. There is an openness of heart and mind that sets us apart, and allows us to create the magic that is a visit to camp. There is something powerful in the simple joy of allowing yourself to be silly and live fully in the moment. That is what camp is all about!
But can the silliness we develop and enjoy here in the “camp bubble” have benefits outside of this space? Can it really help or be an asset to us in “real life”? My answer is ABSOLUTELY!
Laughter, Comfort, and Joy
Laughter is just uncontainable joy that has to come out! Being silly helps kids and adults alike to feel the simple joy of life. Think back to the last true belly laugh you experienced, the feeling that it emotes from us is incredible. As adults, it is so important for us to role model for children to show them how joyous and happy life can be.
Having the ability to cut down on our stress levels is incredibly important for both
adults and children especially in today’s fast paced world. Being silly and having a light hearted attitude helps us to cope with stress, and be able to laugh at ourselves and break our habits of taking ourselves too seriously. There is always a time and place to buckle down and get the job done, but we must find those outlets to release that pressure in a positive way especially when the observant eyes of children are upon us.
Building that Bond
One huge aspect of camp is the development of positive relationships between campers and counselors. The light hearted playful approach is a huge guiding principle in our approach to the camper centered atmosphere we create. It is all about the kids! Getting on their level, and experiencing things through their eyes allows us to grow in relationship and provide an experience that is unlike any other! This approach is a fantastic way to connect with, and grow the relationship with the children in our own lives. Whether you are a parent, relative, teacher, coach, or a trusted adult it is in the building of those loving relationships that provides children with a safe place to come and the knowledge that they are loved and supported. Getting down and entering into their world, opens the door and allows that loving bond to grow.
Learning to be silly allows you to open your mind to creativity! The fear of peer pressure and expectation can put a muzzle on creativity. Modeling for children ways to think creatively and outside the box allows them to be more open, and better problem solvers. That sense of creativity can open unexpected doors and opportunities that make life richer and add excitement!
Our Role Model
There is no better example of the benefits of silliness and playfulness in working with children than St. John Bosco. He believed deeply in reaching children, most had been deemed unreachable, though a sense of playfulness. He did magic tricks, told jokes, and interacted with children in a way that no one else would. He responded to the need he saw before him, by getting down on the level of these children to draw them closer to God. He showed that he was truly present for them, showing that he was there with them, and that they were exceedingly important. He said “ It is not enough to live the young; they must know that they are loved.” And what better way can we show our love for the young people in our lives than to break from our “adulting” and truly engage in their world for a while.
So today don’t be afraid to take a break and just be a little silly!
Assistant Program Director
Summer 1978, I was ten years old and for the first time I attended summer camp at CYO Camp Rancho Framasa and from that time forward, it has been an essential part of my life. I barely remember summers without camp. From camper, to staff member, to co-director, the essence of summer camp has been the foundation of how I experience summer. In addition, it has been a significant contributor to who I am as a person and I know I am not alone when I share the sentiment that a summer without camp is just not summer.
However, the priority this summer has shifted and it has become the collective physical health of our communities and that changes everything about how we can interact, live, eat, play, and socialize at camp. For me, it is important to not get stuck in what summer will not be but rather focus on what summer can be and the exciting opportunity that we each have to create a little bit of summer camp magic for ourselves. So, yes, we will sacrifice a typical summer camp experience this summer and while we cannot replace its inherent camp-ness, I believe we can create some camp in our everyday lives.
Before we get to that, let me say…some activities will be happening on camp property this summer. In June, we will be making improvements to our facility and will be doing A LOT of cleaning as we prepare for some unique programs in July. We are wild with our brainstorming efforts and will be sharing those opportunities soon. We cannot wait!
In the meantime, we will continue to provide some camp joy for all ages via the internet. This is where you will find some inspiration to make your very own camp like experiences. At the very least we are sure that many of our posts will bring you a smile BUT will also bring you some ideas on how to explore your faith, explore outside, help others, and to always, always, always HAVE FUN! (because that is exactly what we do at camp).
Here are some ways to create some camp at home--
1. Check out our virtual fun to help you get going...we post daily on Facebook and Instagram. Our weekly themes beginning, today, June 1:
2. Join us for morning faith reflections on Tuesdays and Thursdays (also on Facebook & Instagram).
3. Read our blog posts. They come out every other Monday and you can subscribe on our blog page: https://www.campranchoframasa.org/blog
Summer 2020 is not how any of us at camp have imagined it to be nor would we choose it to be this way. We would much rather be welcoming in campers to live the experience that is summer camp at CYO Camp Rancho Framasa. But for now, we will do our best to provide a different kind of camp experience with our hearts and minds focused on the pieces of camp we can share.
By the way, we also cannot wait until Summer Camp 2021!
Until we are together again,
Angi K Sullivan
CYO Camp Co-director
Camp is such an unique experience! Our staff take turns sharing their perspectives of the experience that is CYO Camp Rancho Framasa!
Hot off the press…
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