Category: Campfire Conversation

Be Prepared

Speaking with a number of our new camp families through a Facebook Live event the other day has me thinking about being prepared. A wonderful coincidence, then, that one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books comes back to the movie theaters today:

“Be prepared to appreciate what you meet.”

Fremen proverb, Dune

Everything – literally everything – can be instructive, can be helpful. For example, a few weeks ago, I slipped while stepping onto a small bridge. My right shin caught the brunt of the impact, sliding along the rough edge of the wooden bridge.

Now, why the heck should I appreciate that moment? Because it will remind me – for a long time – to take better stock of my surroundings. The bridge was in perpetual shade. It had been a damp morning. I was not wearing good shoes for wood which would obviously be slippery. And, I was in a rush… for no good reason.

So, I appreciate the lesson. (I didn’t at the moment – it hurt like crazy!) I simply wasn’t prepared to appreciate it at the time. Which made the accident hurt more than it should have.

Prepared the First… and Second Time

So many of our first time campers go through very natural missing-home-feelings during their first summer with us. These campers – and their families – are prepared for their feelings and appreciate them for what they are: a reminder that they are doing something new (and awesome) away from something they know, trust and love.

The real surprise comes when our campers meet those same feelings of missing home in their second summer.

“What a second – I thought I LOVED camp?” these kiddos think. Because many of second-summer campers aren’t prepared to meet (the still very natural) missing-home-feelings, the experience throws them for a loop and makes them question their desire to be at camp… even though they don’t want to leave on the last day!

Appreciate All of It

Campers, you need to prepare yourself to appreciate all that you encounter at camp: a TON of fun experiences, a bunk full of new friends from all over, fantastic mentors, coaches and teachers… and the feelings of missing home and a gaga knuckle or two and a bunk full of new friends. The great food and the every now and then ‘meh’ food. The sunshine and the rain. The wins and the learning moments.

Be prepare to appreciate what you meet. Come to camp with that plan in place and you’ll have a blast. See you soon!

No Words….

I’ve been trying to put all of the feelings and concerns and thoughts about this past week in Israel and Gaza into words. For the first time in a long while, I don’t think I can do it in a way that would communicate the heartbreak I’ve felt this week.

So, I’ll say this:

We have a number of friends and families who have been directly affected by all that has gone on during this past week. We stand with y’all and will support you however we can.

For our campers who are frightened and confused by this violence and all the news coming out of Israel and Gaza, I’ll pass along one bit of wisdom introduced to me by Munner, my grandmother. One of her favorite verses from the Old Testament adorns more than a few Temples and schools I’ve visited. It seems appropriate to remember and put into action now.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

  And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

  And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Love y’all. If we can help, let us know.


For a long time, I’ve had these little mirrors on my desk. They are about the size a quarter and fit easily (and safely) in a pocket. Kate got them for me a long while ago after we’d heard a story from a teacher we both admire.

A long time ago in a war-torn land, a young man was found walking around with a small piece of broken mirror in his hand. He’d use it to look underneath over-turned tanks, under rubble-strewn building lots and other hard to see into places. When war comes through your land, it’s good to be resourceful and look everywhere for something useful.

One day, some sunlight had reflected off his little mirror and shown right into someone else’s eyes. (Can you imagine how startling that would be?!?) These people had been trapped in a fallen building and the boy’s mirror woke them up. The young man was able to find help to get what turned out to be a family out of the wreckage, all safe.

That young man went on to become a teacher and would hand out little mirrors to his students, reminding to always let their light shine into the dark places around them.

Star Stuff

There are a number of song lyrics and quotes and stories about ‘letting your light shine.’ In fact, the famous astronomer, Carl Sagan, once said ‘We are made of star stuff.” (Which, when you look at what makes up a human body, it’s true!)

So, you were made to shine. And you were made different than me, your parents, your friends, the barista at your favorite coffee shop, that dude who never quite gets things right on the game, etc. This is not just a good thing – it’s a GREAT thing. Your light, when you truly shine, will be different from everyone else’s. You’ll stand out.

Two Big Ideas

Here are two ‘big thoughts’ when thinking about shining:

“The longer I live, the more deeply I learn that love is the work of mirroring and magnifying each other’s light. Gentle work. Steadfast work. Life-saving work in those moments when life and shame and sorrow occlude our own light from our view, but there is still a clear-eyed loving person to beam it back. In our best moments, we are that person for another.”

Maria Popova

Maria is one of the great readers and thinkers of our time. She focuses on ideas which have not changed, things that speak to our human nature. The importance of shining and reflecting light to those we love is hugely important. It’s hard to know what someone is struggling through. But, when you let that good light of yours shine on them, it’ll help move the gloom, even just a little bit.

The second thought is shorter and may seem a little scary… at first.

What gives light must endure burning.

Viktor Frankl

Now, I’ve spoken about Dr. Frankl often in these pages. He wrote one of the more influential books in my life and went to generously think and donate his time and knowledge for many, many years.

You are made of the star-stuff. You were made to shine. AND… you were made to withstand that shining. It’s not always easy to let yourself shine forth. There will be some (a small, probably vocal few) who would like to dampen your light or tell you something is wrong with it. If you are to ‘give light’, you’ve got to be strong enough to keep shining.


Want to know how to rekindle your light when it starts to gutter? A friend, shining their light upon you will help. Some time with a loved one with rekindle the spark. Thinking gratefully on the blessings and gifts already in your life feed the flame.

Shine forth, Weequahic. Give your light to others. You are strong enough and they are worth it.