The Benefits of Being Silly
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
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