Monday, September 29, 2014

Because of Camp I...

It is with a mixture of emotions that we announce the departure of Amy Wood, who has served as the Program Services Director for Camp Magruder since February 1, 2010.  Amy tendered her resignation on September 25th and is leaving camp to pursue new opportunities.  During her years at camp, first as a camper, then as a counselor, a seasonal employee, and finally as a full-time employee, Amy touched the lives of thousands of campers through song, games (especially Sprout Ball), and laughter.  Her presence in camp will certainly be missed by those who came to know and love her.
This summer at Camp Magruder on Thursdays of week-long camps, we passed out paper and markers and gave campers time to reflect on their experiences. Then we invited campers to complete the sentence "Because of camp I..."

As Amy Wood’s time at Camp Magruder comes to a close, she leads us in some reflections based upon her own camp experiences.

Because of camp I...

  1. Learned to appreciate nature. One time the Program Director of the day led an ecology activity for the elementary school campers. We created "hiking trails" and used magnifying glasses to "hike" our trail. Do you remember the first time you looked so closely at nature and realized the inter-connectivity of it and how amazing even the smallest things are?  Remember signs above light switches all over camp, "Be a crusader and do the earth right; when you leave the room, please turn out the light." Do you take action as you leave a room? How about learning the processes of farm to table on a camp scale with composting and the garden? Perhaps most importantly, we’ve learned the value of being in nature with fewer distractions, and simply being still.

2.  Learned to challenge fears and be courageous. Sometimes it takes multiple visits to camp before mustering up the courage to ride on the big swing! Later you wonder what the big deal was. Many have learned to speak in front of groups in a clear way that doesn't cause sweaty palms. Beyond public speaking, sometimes we’re called to lead and sing at the top of our lungs in front of a group. We’re challenged by countless situations where one needs to think things through, step up and take courage to make decisions for the camp community.

3. Learned to respect others. Do you remember the phrase from “Don’t Laugh at Me” – the anti-bullying training we use at camp? "For every put-down you give someone, you owe them three put-ups." It’s an approachable way to learn that we are all children of God and what we say can be incredibly hurtful. We learn that each person has joys, struggles, and a story that we may never know, but we are to meet them where they are, listen to what they have to share, and love them unconditionally. No matter what, everyone deserves respect.

4. Learned about leadership and to be a positive leader. At camp we learn how to actively listen to understand someone's needs. That leadership takes selflessness. Often leaders take more than their share of the blame and less than their share of the credit. Leadership requires goal setting, hard work, passion, and direction, being intentional with words and actions.

5. Learned about myself. At camp, we learn to be genuine in conversation and action. To let the community call out our gifts, and to be confident and trust because we often are more capable than we know. We learn to respect personal limits because we can't help others if we are worn and ragged. We learn to not take ourselves too seriously; smiling is more fun. In the end, because of camp, we learn that we are worthy of love and acceptance and that who we become matters to the world.

Friday, September 19, 2014

International Day of Peace

September 21st marks the 32nd annual International Day of Peace (also known as World Peace Day). This day is dedicated to world peace, but specifically the absence of war and violence. This day serves as a ceasefire to personal and political issues around the world. 

This summer we worked to celebrate peace at Camp Magruder and in our greater world. We purchased a peace pole, created a peace time capsule, and planted our peace pole in the camp garden at the start of the summer. Each week of camp we had campers and staff create their own peace prayer flags by writing poems, prayers, and symbols in their wish for peace and harmony in the world. These flags are also hung in the garden where the wind disperses their messages. When our flags fade and fray, we will burn them to release the last of their prayers and then we will replace them with new renewed wishes. 


What will you do to work toward peace in your life, community, and the world? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Summer Review

It's been a long time coming but here are some highlights from this summer at Camp Magruder. 

Campfires were a lot of fun. This summer we had a shared opening night campfire with all the program camps. We ended each week with a closing campfire that parents and families were invited to attend. These changes and additions were well received and have become a new tradition at Camp Magruder.  

We hiked to the tide pools and saw lots of creatures. We didn't as many sea stars that were alive as usual due to Sea Star Wasting Syndrome. We were successful in finding a few that were alive on each trip.  

We facilitated team building with our youth camps as well as several high school and college leadership groups.


We played greased watermelon, polar bear swam, and jumped on the water trampoline. People enjoyed themselves on the boats as well. 


We participated in arts and crafts that included friendship bracelet making, pottery, tie-dye, painting, candle making, and beading. 

We learned facts about Malaria, made mosquitoes and buttons, played games, and talked about how we could help raise awareness and money for Imagine No Malaria back home. Each group of program camps opted to give up lunch time cookies or hot chocolate in order to donate that money. Additionally, many campers decided to donate money from their camp store account as well. We raised $790 this summer which will save 79 lives in Africa. 

We had an all camp talent/variety show each week of program camps. Campers played musical instruments, sang, danced, performed skits and comedy routines, and generally impressed us with their talents. 

Each week of program camps we played an all camp game called Life and Death in the Forest. Campers became herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores that were sent out into the forest in search of food and water. If they were tagged they lost a life. When they ran out of lives they died. Once the game was called off we gathered up to talk about life being hard in the food chain and everything being interconnected.  

We had a lot of fun on the beach this summer. We built sand castles for competitions, played games, and went wave jumping.

We saw old friends and made new friends this summer. 

We learned to play music and made lots of joyful noise. 

We found adventure on the archery range and sand dune.

We planted a peace pole and made peace prayer flags during each program camp that now wave in our garden.

And, we learned a lot about the power of camp in our lives. 

A special thank you goes out to our summer staff and volunteer deans and counselors for working tirelessly to create and lead quality programs at Camp Magruder this summer. We couldn't have done it without you.