The world is a wild and crazy place that seems to be moving at a breakneck speed. It was not that long ago, if you can believe it, that we only had a landline phone in our houses, our computers were glorified typewriters with Minesweeper, Solitaire, and the epic upgrade of Spider Solitaire. It was a time when you had to use a map and rely on street signs to get yourself from point A to B, and you had to wait until the evening news to learn the events of the day. Now, we have combined phones and computers in our pockets, with an unlimited ability to get almost any information at our fingertips. We are more connected socially through digital platforms, and communication is now instant and constant.
Though there are fantastic benefits from today's modern age, there are also some negatives that come with it. For instance, we see increased stress, and social pressure from people we know, and those we have never met who suddenly have knowledge of our private lives via the internet. We see constant access to information, facts and opinions flying at us from all directions, and while it is great to be informed, it can also cause some serious mental strain.
However, it is because of all the craziness that I find myself reflecting more and more on how grateful I am for the opportunities I have had in my life. I was blessed to have a great family, to have had the opportunity to work for a couple of wonderful Catholic Schools, and learn from some amazing administrators. Now, I am blessed to have the opportunity to take all that experience and share it here with the camp family. Camp is such a blessing, because it is truly a reprieve from the high speed world we live in, and a chance to unplug, slow down, and reconnect.
I believe that one of the most important things we can do in this fast paced world is to ensure we are handling our underlying stress levels. I love to follow one of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People created by Steven Covey. Though all the habits he teaches have their own benefits, I love the final habit, Sharpen the Saw. This habit is all about ensuring that you are constantly developing toward the best version of yourself. This is also an essential part of camp and is infused into the experiences we seek to provide!
One way we keep ourselves sharp is through physical aspects. Seeking out ways to care for ourselves through exercise, nutrition, and our physical environment. I love to spend time outdoors and have the opportunity to enjoy the fresh air, and see the beauty of the world around me. It is so important to get out of the house and just be in nature, and away from all of our devices to see the beauty of what we have been gifted with. Not only that, it helps us to slow down and take a break from the stress we are constantly bombarded with. Camp is the perfect place to do this, the quiet setting offers a place of reprieve, and having the ability to hike and explore is an ideal way to focus on physical health!
Socially and Emotionally
Another way to keep ourselves sharp is through social interactions, real live ones, not just the “like” button. Though we are currently in a time where we need to keep our distance in the social realm, it is still important to maintain those emotional and social interactions. Many of us are spending more time at home, and with our families during this time. Though sometimes it may add a little stress, we must focus on enjoying that extra time to truly get to know and appreciate those that are closest to us. I love that camp is able to provide this as well. Being in the outdoors and in wide open spaces we are able to safely gather and share our experiences together. We have so many opportunities to connect with family and friends in our beautiful outdoor space to learn, explore, and just enjoy each other’s company.
Staying sharp mentally is extremely important. We should always be learning new skills. Personally I love to be constantly learning or improving something in my life. I am always challenging myself to pick up new skills and develop new interests. I am a music lover and already play several instruments, but have recently picked up the violin. It is truly one of the most challenging instruments I have tried, but I love it because it pushes me to practice, to learn, and to focus. I always have a new hobby or interest that I am working on. I know that I will likely never perform, or may never even get past a good rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I just like to learn, I like to experience new things and develop new skills. Camp supports that as well. We love when those who come push themselves to learn new skills and have new experiences with us. We seek to help others challenge themselves to reach new heights, learn and develop new skills and interests, and generally have a wonderful experience.
The last area is the most important, staying sharp spiritually, or rather not allowing your spiritual life to dull; this is essential. Oftentimes we find ourselves drifting away from our prayer lives, becoming distracted in prayer, or just forgetting to focus on it at all. It is important to maintain that relationship with God, and to find new and compelling ways to connect and keep our prayer lives fresh and engaging for ourselves. I love to spend some quiet time outside and read the Bible, or to take a long walk with myself and my thoughts and prayers. It is refreshing to spend some time with the Lord in the beauty that He created. Camp offers opportunities for this spiritual renewal as well. A chance to get out there, relax, reflect, and reconnect with ourselves, and our Lord is a beautiful way to stay energized in our faith journeys.
So check out our fall offerings for camp, and come enjoy some needed time away from the hustle and bustle to relax, refocus, and revive yourself with us!
Asst. Program Director
In 2012 I left Idaho to accept a position as Program Staff at CYO Camp Rancho Framasa. It seemed to be a perfect fit as I received my degree in Outdoor Education from Idaho State University just a year earlier. During my time in the outdoor and camp industry I have held many positions including Program Staff, Counselor Manager, Program Coordinator and now I am currently the School Year Program Director.
Working in the camping industry I have had the opportunity to learn new skills, to work and live in a beautiful area, and to get to know some really great people. I have fallen in love with so many areas of the job, but one of the most enjoyable pieces is the schedule. I have found that I love a busy and hectic schedule. I truly enjoy the long days, short nights, and busy weeks. It helps keep me motivated and excited.
In December of 2019, there were a few news stories about an outbreak of a new virus overseas. Most of the articles I quickly moved past or tuned out. In March of 2020, as we all know, the virus SARS CoV 2 was here in the country in full force. Almost overnight it seemed restaurants closed, store shelves were emptying, millions were losing their jobs, and many of us were under stay at home orders. The world had completely changed in a matter of months.
At camp, our entire spring season was upended with the news that schools were moving to a distance learning model for the rest of the year, which meant all groups had to cancel. Many of the things that I loved, including the energy of the schedule, were put on hold. The other camp leaders and I hit the brakes and shifted into working from home mode. Our primary task became figuring out how to move forward using zoom, text, and email.
What was that? A light at the end of the tunnel?
In early June, it seemed we would be able to open camp in July with a few sessions of summer camp. We took a deep breath and plunged in. We developed COVID related guidelines, reimagined how camp would look, and created new infrastructure to adhere to health guidelines all while staying optimistic. However, just as quickly as we saw the light, it was switched off again. Out of an abundance of caution, the very tough decision to close for the summer was made.
Personally, I felt defeated. We worked so hard to get everything ready for camp to operate, and then it was over. The worst part was that it was not going to happen for all the kids who were looking forward to coming to camp this summer. The camp experience is one of the most incredible, positive, and uplifting experiences for so many young people. It is not uncommon to hear that a young person finds the confidence to be themselves, finds a new friend, or simply releases some energy from being home all day every day during the summer. This summer was those things were lost for our campers.
Where is the light?
This entire experience will go down in world history books. Our children will learn about in school for decades to come. It has been hard, but there is light. Personally, I have gained a new appreciation for those around me. My wife and I got an opportunity to spend a lot of time together with our young daughter. Our campers were likely able to spend time with their families and maybe find strength and new confidence in themselves as a result. Perhaps they were able to spend intentional time outdoors in their backyards, or around their neighborhood or in a park. Also, with the slower days just maybe they improved their relationship with Christ and were able to reinvigorate their prayer lives.
Yes, there is light. It is hard to see some days because we have our eyes closed to what can be as we cling to what was. Maybe all we can do is open our eyes or change our focus to see the light.
Where this will all end?
No one knows. We do know what is right in front of us: our families and friends, the love of Christ, slower days, time outside, and the many other blessings of just being alive.
Changing our view and noticing the light can uplift us during these tough times. I wish you well.
School Year Program Director
What a ride summer 2020 was! I have lost count of how many times I expressed, “Well, that is not what I expected.” Each time we had a plan in place to put on a bit of summer camp we were thwarted by COVID-19. Clearly, summer camp 2020 was not supposed to happen at least in the way that many folks (especially our campers) would have preferred. We were able to squeeze out one week and camp joy was had by all who attended. That was definitely a bright spot.
Truth be told I am not a fan of roller coasters. Some people just love them, but not me. I am not a fan of the anticipation of the drop or the drop. I feel quite nauseous just thinking about it. I had that feeling often as we moved through the summer. Maybe others did as well. At any rate, I feel fairly confident that no one enjoyed the summer roller coaster ride of 2020.
The saving grace for me was hanging on tight to the highs becuase in spite of the disappointments we had quite a few sweet moments.
Here is a glimpse...
This was not the summer any of us planned and at times it felt quite hard but staying open and connected to the good stuff and being hopeful about camp's future keeps us going.
Currently, we are excited for fall. It is looking brighter! With COVID-19 safe practices in place (including masks, distancing, sanitizing, and daily staff screenings), we feel good about safely hosting people at camp. We are ready to have some fun! Stay tuned to our social media and emails (newsletter coming soon) for ways that you can connect at camp.
Good stuff is on its way!
Angi K Sulivan
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!
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