The “Dog Days” of summer are upon us. This is, of course, what Google defines as ”a period of particularly hot and humid weather occurring during the summer months of July and August in the Northern Hemisphere.” Every year, we mark the moment when camp suddenly feels hot. We turn on misting stations, drink more water, serve surprise ice-cold treats, and amend our EP locations to provide a more comfortable setting. At moments like this, we are tempted to complain about the heat and drift far from the “Great Day” attitude of Greystone. So as temperatures rise with the season (high of 88 yesterday), I encouraged the girls to maintain a sense of perspective about such things.
Last year at this time, the high temperature of the day was 94 degrees. The all-time high of 98 was set in the 1920s before we even had fans in the cabins. No matter how “bad” the weather might seem, chances are it could be a lot worse! Be thankful and look for the good in everything. Do what you can to make it less stressful (a wet washcloth over your face during rest hour, put fans in the windows instead of on floors to draw in cool air, drink lots of water), and maintain your positive attitude. Become an expert at spreading the Great Day attitude at camp, and you will be an expert for the rest of your life.
I learned this during summer practices on my high school football team. Those summer practices were very hard… and have provided my standard for difficult circumstances. No matter what I have done since nothing compares to how hard those summers were in the 80s! Never before or since have I worked harder, felt worse, or dreaded tasks more than those afternoon practices. Those difficult days proved to be a foundation for my perspective ever since, and my thoughts go back to those days when I hear complaints about “difficult” circumstances.
The fact is, we are uncommonly blessed and it is good for us to be grateful of that fact. An attitude of gratitude goes a long way to make every day a Great Day. It is not delusional; it is actual. Compared to the vast number of people living now or who lived in the past, the blessings of our daily lives are so abundant that it is hard to even compare them to anyone else.
Camp provides an opportunity to develop life-long skills, the chief of which is resiliency. We see these girls shine in this place and know they will continue to shine when away from camp. Their “Great Day” responses to routine circumstances are becoming habits that will be maintained long after they leave camp.
Tonight we will celebrate our camp experience with Council Fire. Many awards will be given to those who have passed levels in their classes, we will inspire the girls to make the most of the time remaining in camp, and we will enjoy the calm that arises from silence in a beautiful place with wonderful friends. Last week was a celebration of the “bigger and better” side of camp; tonight is a celebration of the fundamental simplicity of camp. Greystone was a transformative experience when it provided little more than a lake and mountain to entertain. The good of camp is not rooted in the programs or facilities (though programs and facilities do enhance the experience, they are not the foundation). This is why we encourage anyone to go to any camp. They are all wonderful in their own ways. We are having a wonderful time and your girls are growing in remarkable ways… just like Greystone Girls have done for a hundred years. Thank you for making it possible for this tradition to continue.