Every day we offer about 45 different classes all day long. It takes a lot of planning, a big facility, truckloads of supplies, and a well-trained and motivated staff. It is not easy… but each one of you (fathers included) could easily do it. Every one of you would make GREAT camp counselors and are capable of running most of these classes right now, PROVIDING you wanted to do it.
I do not pretend to think any of you would choose to be a camp counselor next summer, but you might enjoy being a counselor to your daughter when she returns in a few weeks.
Counselors are a lot like parents. They pour themselves into serving the girls in a beautiful way every day as an act of love. They get them going in the morning (get out of bed, wash your face, brush your hair, put on the other shoes, don’t forget your bathing suit…). They bandage skinned knees, kiss bumped heads, cheer from the audience, stand nervously off stage during performances, and take lots of pictures. But mostly, counselors do fun things with campers ALL DAY LONG. Fun things never get old!
When was the last time you just had fun? If you are like me, it might have been a long time ago.
Margaret and I live in a glorious place for fun… we have a blob in our back yard, ARE YOU KIDDING ME… A BLOB! Campers assume that the Millers have fun 24/7. The alternative is inconceivable… yet the alternative is true. We do not take advantage of the potential because we allowed our grownup responsibilities to squeeze the fun from the day. Time passes quickly and in hindsight, we realize that the previous year was spent with a curious lack of playtime.
Apparently the Blog this week is going to have a lot of focus on this idea of “taking camp home”. You can easily do it by spending more time outside, being intentional with the time you have with your children… and having fun.
Fun attracts children of all ages like moths to light. Go outside and start shooting basketball before dinner… do it for fun, laughing and cheering yourself on… and see if others don’t eventually join the game. I mentioned Greystone’s 45 classes not to brag, but to give you a sense of the wide range of ways you can have fun with your children. Most of what we do at camp can be done at home with just a bit of preparation.
It starts with deciding what you are going to do… I love cooking, so assume I make make myself a cooking challenge just for fun… Sushi! None of our cooking counselors knew how to make sushi before camp, but one hour with Solveig turned them into experts. OK, not experts, but good enough for 10-year-olds to think they are experts! Good enough to make something that looked like sushi and tasted great! Good enough to have fun!
Voila, the cooking program is born! Pasta… no problem. Pizza… piece of cake. Crepes Suzette… simple. Anything you enjoy eating should be something you can enjoy making… something fun. Cooking is the most popular class we offer at camp, this is low-hanging fruit! If you assume they don’t want to help in the kitchen you are wrong. The kitchen can be SO much fun… all it takes is you.
We train the counselors to have fun. We have always encouraged counselors to play with the girls while teaching them new skills, but in this pandemic schedule, the play aspect became more important than ever. We were going to have a hard time teaching at an advanced level because of the composition of the classes and the number of times the girls would meet to learn new skills. We just needed to make it fun.
Something marvelous happened… camp became more fun. It was always fun, but less “carefree” than today. Looking around camp this week has been delightfully inspirational. The consequences of not having to prepare for HUGE productions at the end of the summer (our water show, senior play, junior play, big art projects, and horse shows were the focus of this week of camp in years past) are palpable. Camp is more relaxed, campers and counselors are less stressed and having more fun. Just what the doctor ordered after this very difficult year.
I think I might make fun a priority this year. Perhaps if I have more fun Margaret will have more fun too… in fact, I know that she will!
The lessons of camp are simple but worthy of consideration. Fun might be more important than we used to think!
One last thing Our Skip Year girls are coming to camp this afternoon! These are the Rising College Freshmen who chose not to attend camp this summer. We always offer these girls a chance to stop by camp and enjoy a little reunion, this year we will have record attendance. They have been hiking with one of our favorite Alums, Jennifer Pharr Davis, and will now have a little “Glamping” exclamation point ending at Greystone. They will socially distance while they are here, mostly just spending time together in a wonderful lake house next to camp. These friendships that were forged at camp remain strong and will endure the test of time. Camp friends are the best friends!