We play a little game around the dinner table: everyone answers the question “what was your high and low of the day?”. No day is going to be perfect, so admitting the imperfections is healthy… but apointing out the good parts of a day is equally (or more) important. Too often we only focus on the negative, so we work to find the good. That is what my father taught me and it has proven to be true.
Warning: Today’s blog is TOO LONG. DON”T FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO READ IT ALL!!! Just read what interests you!
I will begin with the “regular” overview of camp, then transition to the subject of Homesickness. Most of you will not need to read about homesickness, for your girls are doing great… but some of you might read a sad letter very soon (we have scanned hand written letters written yesterday by your daughters. They can be found in your account). Most of these letters are happy, a few are sad. If a sad letter freaks you out, read the bottom section!
Breakfast Club this week focuses on the subject of friends: how to make them, how to keep them. We call it Social Growth and it is one of the skills we learn at camp. Greystone provides an ideal setting to grow socially… friendships flourish in such a setting.
Only at camp will a 10 year old girl approach a 56 year old man and tell him a joke (not weird at all at camp… admittedly kind of odd in the real world!). Only at camp will a “cool” 13 year old girl chat with a clinging 8 year old. We make surprising friendships every day!
Our social skills develop quickly at camp. We learn to clearly communicate and work as a team (try having 10 girls take showers and get ready for bed before lights out blows). We learn to initiate conversations: discovering interesting facts and surprising connections with any person we meet. We are drawn into deep conversations concerning real subjects of substance. Close friendships are certainly the best part about camp and we delight in knowing that these friendships are being formed every day.
We hope you will find that your girls are more comfortable in social settings after spending a few weeks at camp. That they have have developed confidence from the simple routines of camp life. This confidence remains long after they leave this place and enhances life.
The campers will be taking many classes for the first time on this second day of classes. This is because we run an every other day program this session, giving the girls a total of 14 possible classes in their schedule. While some classes meet for two class periods and some classes meet every day, no matter what the schedule your girls enjoy a huge variety of really interesting classes
Some highlights of the program this year that I have noticed so far:
The weather today is glorious and a repeat from yesterday: slightly overcast, low humidity, light breeze, and perfect temperatures (80 degrees).
Tonight we will enjoy the Cabin Lip Syncs (Bungalow 4-Cabin 12) and we will delight in seeing our older campers performing acts they have practiced since Opening Day. The Pavilion Stage is a remarkable venue for a young performer… bright lights, special effects, microphones, speakers, and an adoring audience of almost 700 screaming fans. It is a magical moment for the cabin groups and a great time for us all.
Thank you for sharing your girls. They are doing very well adjusting to camp and I hope you enjoy reading some really wonderful letters. Please take time to write them too! I always included little drawings in my letters, often showing scenes of what I imagined them to be doing at camp. Mail is delivered after lunch each day and the girls love to read letters as they settle into rest hour. Emails sent by noon will always make the lunch delivery.
One last thing… today we had our first morning assembly and Sam Taafe (our minister this session) was amazing. He is insightful, funny, has a beautiful family (4 young children, great wife), and is a long time RUF minister at UK (Kentucky). The campers and counselors love him and we are thrilled to have him with us.
THE HOMESICKNESS SECTION
Homesickness CAN be a bad experience, but homesickness at camp is usually a very positive growth experience… it builds resilience (what I consider the most useful character trait in life).
We all know that circumstances change (sometimes drastically). When change occurs, we draw upon coping skills learned in our youth. A person who has successfully adapted to a difficult feeling is resilient: equipped to live a life of contentment. Camp is a great place to build this character trait.
At Greystone, we welcome that uncomfortable feeling that comes when we think of home in a wistful way. When we have a sad thought, experience a sad feeling, we work through it (often by writing a letter home) and move to the the next fun thing in the day. This process of “adjustment” is a part of most camp experiences.
I bring it up because of the dreaded homesick letters that some of you (perhaps many of you) will get (maybe even this afternoon!). If you want to check out our take on the homesick theme, read this blog on Resilience from 2016. It more fully fleshes out what homesickness looks like at camp and explains how we determine what course of action to follow.
There are only a few girls who will get homesick this year, so don’t get too worried… know that we will call if your daughter is not adjusting to camp in a healthy way. Also know that we are happy to look into things if you have a concern (our Group Leaders are amazing!).
This group of girls is particularly good mannered and kind (always saying please and thank you, helping each other find classes, obeying rules with a happy heart). There is a feeling of joy that is evident in every corner of camp. We couldn’t be more pleased.