Archive for April, 2016

Going on a Hike… More than Just Good Exercise!

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 9.05.13 AMWhen you hear the words “summer camp,” you probably think of three things right away: campfires, friendship — and nature.

Without any of these essential elements, camp just wouldn’t be the same. Spending much-needed “digital detox” time in the woods is what brings many of us back year after year, so it’s no surprise that hiking in the natural areas around Camp Weequahic is one of the most popular activities each summer!

There’s nothing like fresh mountain air to remind us of the things that matter in life.

The healing power of nature

Hiking is a serious workout, but it isn’t just about “building character.” Life on the trail has many proven emotional and health benefits that make it a wonderful way for campers and counselors alike to pass the afternoon.

For example: did you know the average person only walks half as much as doctors recommend for a healthy lifestyle?

This is particularly unfortunate for kids, many of whom aren’t spending nearly enough time outside. Aside from missing out on the emotional benefits of sunshine and endorphins, it’s no mystery to parents that time spent in front of iPads and Playstations is rarely time well-spent.

Needless to say, everyone gets in plenty of exercise out of an afternoon in the woods!

Connecting with the natural world

But it isn’t the health benefits of hiking that get campers excited about getting out on the trail. Quite the opposite: in the high-energy world of camp sports and games, hiking is a perfect slow-down time.

New friends can use the time to talk and get to know one another, and others can use the time to “zen out” with the forest and enjoy the experience of being out in the wild.

With so many campers coming from urban and suburban areas, time spent hiking around Camp Weequahic may be a first-time experience with the peace and quiet of the woodlands!

The journey is the destination

Like all the activities at summer camp, hiking contains many lessons that strike to the core of what the camp experience is all about.

Most importantly, campers are reminded that the journey is as important as the destination. The summit may be spectacular, but the best part of hiking come from the camaraderie and togetherness of tackling the trail — and the pure value of experiencing the great outdoors.

Life is like a trail, and every journey begins with a single step. Whatever your dream may be, it’s waiting for you at the top of the mountain. The journey may be long… but there’s no reason to make it alone! Stick with your camp friends and you’ll be there before you know it!

Lights! Camera! Action!

Monday, April 4th, 2016

 

jbI could hear my heart pounding in my chest and I felt like I was going to throw up. I could hear the whispers of my fellow campers just behind the curtain, and I became absolutely certain that this was a very very bad idea. And then, like slow motion, the curtain lifted and I saw the entire audience looking at me. And the music that was all so familiar from practice started, and my feet started moving and my lips started talking and I was doing it! I was preforming in front of a huge crowd and to my surprise, I was LOVING it. It was so much fun pretending to be someone else, and I lost myself in the character I was playing. I had never been in a play before, and never thought as myself as the “in the spotlight” kind of kid, but I felt right at home on stage.

One of the reasons I felt so confident on my big night was because we had so many opportunities to practice. Every day, almost from the first day at camp, we would all get together and practice our lines, our movements and we got a lot of guidance from our counselors, some of whom had been in dozens of plays in high school and college! They were so helpful in making us feel comfortable and confident, and sometimes we forgot we were “working” because we were having so much fun.

Some of my cast mates were from preforming arts schools, and had a lot of theatre experience under their belt. We all really learned a lot from them, and were lucky to have them on our team. But no matter if we had done 10 plays or this was our first one, everyone was treated like a very valuable part of the production. I loved the feeling of being part of a team (since sports have never really been my thing) and feeling valued, wanted and appreciated. When I got nervous, I just had to look out of the corner of my eye to my friend Jake who would give me an encouraging nod or wink, and I suddenly found my confidence. When someone else got tripped up on their lines or forgot their mark, I was able to mouth the words or improvise so that the show flowed smoothly.

Since I was in the play at camp, public speaking at school has been much easier. I even tried out for the play at school, and although I didn’t get the role I auditioned for, I’m having a great time being part of the production. That is another thing that being in the camp play helped me with; understanding that you don’t always get the starring role, but that without the supporting roles, the play can’t go on! Everyone has such an important role, no matter how small, and I love that about being in theatre.

After the play, everyone clapped and cheered, and for the rest of my time at camp, people I didn’t even know came up and told me how funny I was and what a good job I did. It was so nice to get that encouragement from my fellow campers. Some even said that they’re going to try out next time!

Being in the camp play was one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking, and amazing things I’ve ever done, and I learned so much!