Today we had the opportunity to join camps across the country in Camp Kindness Day, a very special event highlighting the kind of intentional, thoughtful and powerful caring that is reflected in our camp values of Loyalty, Beauty, Merit, and Comradeship. Every division in camp participated in age-appropriate activities focused on nurturing, sharing, and spreading kindness both within our camp community and all year round.
In Junior Camp, our Manor House and Lodge campers talked about how to practice kindness by including others, standing up to bullying, and the way small acts of kindness can snowball into something wonderful. To practice recognizing and perpetuating those small acts of kindness, campers wrote notes to their counselors thanking them for the little things counselors do for them every day. They also drew pictures interpreting what kindness looks like.
Upper and Lower Junior campers spent the day talking about how to identify acts of kindness and how respect is tied to kindness. Recognizing that kindness is something that can sometimes be hard to tap into, our older juniors also spent time talking about and strategizing how to look past someone else’s negativity and set a loving example. Like the Manor House and Lodge, our Upper and Lower Juniors wrote anonymous notes to their counselors sharing their appreciation for their counselors’ hard work this summer.
Our Senior Campers came together to celebrate Camp Kindness Day by focusing on self love and positive affirmations, built around the mantra “I Accept Who I Am” — a message inspired by our summer theme, “This Is Me.”
We started by discussing the importance of kindness and where it all begins. Our seniors unanimously agreed that in order to be kind to others, we have to start by being kind to ourselves. Each of their Camp Kindness Day activities was designed to help build a foundation of kindness toward themselves so they are better able to share kindness with the world.
We started off with an activity called “World’s Biggest Fans,” in which campers took turns proclaiming “I’m really cool because…” and then sharing something they love about themselves. Each girl followed her declaration by running down an aisle formed by lines of her peers, all cheering her on (like the world’s biggest fans!). The sense of joy and togetherness was palpable — and it’s interesting to note that many campers shared qualities about themselves that that they used to dislike but have learned to love.
After this enthusiastic, energizing exercise, we moved into a guided meditation/mindfulness practice focusing on positive affirmation and releasing tension. The sense of calm and purpose provided a perfect starting point for the next exercise, in which each girl authored her own set of “I Am” statements, her own positive affirmations. We discussed the purpose of affirmations and how, while they can’t erase moments of sadness or doubt, they can promote a sense of balance and harmony that provides confidence and reassurance in tough times. Camper after camper read aloud powerful statements of self-affirmation: “I am strong,” “I am intelligent,” “I am courageous,” “I am creative,” “I am beautiful,” “I will find a solution to my problems,” and “I am me.”
Finally, we closed with a reflection during which campers wrote letters to themselves. They included messages that they may one day need to hear to get them through difficult times, to support themselves and give themselves strength, or even to make themselves laugh.
It’s hard to put into words the sense of strong, positive energy that permeated the room by the close of our Camp Kindness Day event! Campers and staff alike left feeling refreshed, revitalized, and grateful, thanking one another for what they had shared and experienced. It was wonderful to see our campers embrace and express the values of the Angel Code in such a special way.