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.