Camp News & Blog

Thank You, Dr. King

This weekend, we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. If you are reading this, you most likely weren’t alive when Dr. King studied and wrote and talked and walked. But, because of what he did with his time on Earth, our country and our world are a better place.

Dr. King was beaten, maligned, and marginalized. He came from poverty. He dealt with different water fountains, back seats on the bus, and discrimination at the lunch counter. Through all of this:

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

That’s a challenging, difficult thing. You’ve spent so much of your life being told you are less by word and deed. And, not just you but your family and friends around you as well. It would be so easy to fill your heart with hate. But, from all his study and all his education, this is what he came to believe:

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

“Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. This is why psychiatrists say, “Love or perish.”

We are living in a time people seem pretty divided. If you read the headlines, they are full of division. Neither side of the argument is rarely right. The answer is normally somewhere in the middle. But yet these headlines instill contempt or hatred for the other.

As Dr. King says above, hate is not a good answer. We truly are all in this together.

At that time in our nation’s history, there were awful, intentional injustices pointed at humans with more melanin than others. That was the accepted principle of the time. Dr. King and many others took a different path.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

Thank You

His promotion of love, of equality, of nonviolence were not popular at the time. Thank goodness he listened to his conscience and took a stand for that which was right. It continues to be right today. May we all have the courage to follow in his words and example.

Thank you, Dr. King.

The Balance

Happy first Friday of 2022! It doesn’t feel possible that we are already in a new year – I feel like you all just left camp from last summer! We can’t wait to get you back and for all of our new found friends to join us around the campfire soon.

Many of you may have spent some time in the last week thinking about how you spent 2021. (And, if you didn’t a little re-examining is useful.) When I was going through my 2021, I kept coming up with phrases starting with or including ‘should have.’

I Should Have…

I should have eaten less fast food on the road… been better about returning calls…written more ‘thank you’ notes… stretched more… listened more and spoken less.

The ‘should have’ phrase is important. It allows us to look back on past behaviors and decisions and reassess the situation. We can make a lot of good plans for the future by looking at our past mistakes and planning how we’ll do things differently in the future. (You can learn from other’s mistakes, too!)

And, if we aren’t careful, the ‘should haves’ can drown everything else out. Too many of these can make you think ‘Wow, I really stink.’ But we know that is not the case. So, you’ve got to balance the ‘should haves’ with a different, just as important sentence starter.

Thank Goodness For…

Thank goodness we planned for extra time to install the new water park… for all those incredible staff members… everyone who lifts another’s spirits… the campers who were so brave to jump back into ‘the soup’ of camp last summer (and the parents who let them!)

How would you complete ‘thank goodness for…?’ Take a moment and think about your 2021. Write out at least five ‘thank goodness for’ starters and fill them in. It’ll take you five minutes. (Don’t worry – the tiktok video will still be there!)

There’s a lot of research showing the expression of gratitude makes you calmer, happier, and more fulfilled. But, you don’t need scientific research to tell you what a 30 second mental exercise will let you feel.

The Balance

Now, too much of ‘thank goodness for’ without some ‘I should haves’ can be detrimental, too. The idea is to continue to grow as a person, no matter how old you are or how much you know. By balancing the ‘should have’ with the ‘thank goodness’ phrases, you’ll learn a lot and keep yourself motivated to keep the learning and growing going.

And that, I think would be a great start to the year. Happy New Year, Weequahic!

Campfire People

Listening to a podcast on artificial intelligence the other day, I was surprised to hear Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, state: “We humans are designed for the campfire, not the online space.”

It stopped me in my tracks. Very few people on earth can say they had more sway, more influence (or profited more) on the online world than Mr. Schmidt.

And yet, here he is claiming we humans are not designed for Facebook or Snap or Tik Tok, etc. Instead, we are made for that small, flickering circle of light around a campfire.

In talking so, Mr. Schmidt takes up the vein of thought shared by Mother Teresa:

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten than we belong to one another.

The benefits of the internet are incredible: world-wide communication capabilities, the flow of instantaneous information, among many others. And, there is another edge to that sword. These same tools can prey on our insecurities and drive us further and further apart.

Those Who Know It & Those Who Don’t

Regardless of what we believe, who we love, or how we worship, we are all a great deal more alike than different. And yet, even with all these amazing tools and abilities, it seems we find ourselves part of small groups floating further and further apart.

If Mother Teresa is correct (and I think she is), then the biggest difference between our family members on earth isn’t who is a member of the family and who isn’t but rather those who know it and those who don’t.

Weequahic, at the end of a tumultuous, challenging year, let’s be the people who know it and act accordingly. The same sun shines on us all. The same earth provides us a home. The more we start acting like a loving family, the more grace we extend to each other, the brighter our future will be.

For those celebrating, Merry Christmas. We can’t wait to get everyone back around the campfire soon.