The Healing Nature of Camp
Recently I took a long weekend to travel to Central Oregon and explore the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Units. I kept my itinerary simple, tent camping on Bureau of Land Management Properties, eating food I could carry in a backpack or pick up at small town restaurants. I slept in rain, snow, and wind that nearly blew my tent away with me in it. I waded into the John Day and Deschutes Rivers cooling my tired, blistered feet. I saw beautiful, inspiring landscapes. I learned about life that existed long before me. I challenged and pushed myself out of my comfort zone--not enough to feel terror--just the right amount to grow.
Even camp leaders who live camp life every day benefit from a camp experience of their own, adventuring to somewhere new, pushing comfort zones, finding moments of wonder, simplifying the complexities of regular life. I knew taking this time away would have a positive impact as I returned to this work preparing for campers to come to Magruder and have these experiences for themselves.
The immersion in nature, the slow down from our normal routines, the relaxation from being in an accepting community, the confidence emerging from stepping out of comfort zones--these virtues are so timely to the year we just went through. As we watch registrations grow each day, I realize we are preparing to give this great gift to lots of people who really need it. This is nothing new--we were doing this long before the pandemic. But, it carries extra weight now as we all slowly get back on our feet.
Over the next month, as we keep up with the evolving guidelines and train on important stuff old and new, it's never too far out my conscience that we are doing this to be part of a great healing process. Registration is open and growing each day. Families, children, and youth will soon be making the drive out to the coast. Will you be part of it? Have you had a chance to get away and heal? We are preparing for the adventure, the gathering of people, the rejuvenation. We think it will be a special one.
Registration is open now at gocamping.org/campsessions. Early bird registration discount is available until June 15. Scholarships are here to those who need it. Don't miss out. I imagine it will be good for all of us.
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