Category: Summer Camp


There is a lot going on right now in the world which is confusing, concerning, and scary. This is true for our campers as much as it is for the adults.

Want some good news? We’ll get through it. Especially if we work together and focus on that which we can control: our attitude, our courage, and our connection with others.

The Dalai Lama, one of the great leaders of our time, said this:

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

Personally, I believe the problems in the world today are fixable. Either way, let’s not worry. Let’s do something about it. Many are already leading the way.

The scientific community has done an amazing job at creating vaccines that will work. The healthcare community has been outstanding in their efforts to keep us healthy. Our teachers are doing so much to provide as much continuity as possible. Parents are doing their all to keep things light and fun at your home. Many kids, including several you know, are giving back to their communities.

What we need now are same things needed for communities since we humans first gathered around a campfire: connection with each other, hope for the future, and the willingness to do what it takes to get to that future together.

A Camp Solution

At Camp Weequahic, we are fortunate in many ways. Though we have campers and staff from all over the world, we have the ability to focus just on each other rather than everything going on around us. That’s one benefit of the low-tech camp environment.

We have our core values which provide a foundation for all that we do.

The combination of these two elements lead to something is greater than the sum of its parts: a fantastic community in which unleashes our best selves.

Weequahic, let’s take these two aspects of camp and put them into practice back home, in school, and in the rooms and fields and pools of play. With a bit of effort and a whole lot of grit, you can actually influence the little world around you.

If we all do it, imagine the good we can create… together.

Building Courage

We talk a lot about building courage at Camp Weequahic. Why? Because we agree with Maya Angelou:

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is the handle onto which every other value is fashioned and used. It takes courage to be kind in every situation, to practice gratitude when all seems dark, to be generous when you are so concerned about your own day to day needs.  

So, it’s really important! But how do you build courage?

Building Courage

Courage is a perfect example of the ‘binary opposition’ idea I talked about last week. A scene from a recent pretty popular stories explains it perfectly.

Young Bran Stark is speaking with his father who is ‘King of the North’, a fierce warrior, and loving father. They were having a conversation about being brave.

“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’

‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”

A Game of Thrones

Every act of courage has at least a kernel of fear in it. In fact, without fear, you can’t have courage.

Think about getting to camp and making some new friends. That takes courage for most of our campers. Why? Because they are afraid they won’t be accepted. (Thankfully, the campers and staff of Camp Weequahic are courageous enough to open themselves up to welcome all in!)

The neat thing about fear and courage is that they don’t affect each person the same way. We’ve seen kids who scale the 50’ climbing tower with ease have a very hard time overcoming their fear of performing on stage in front of others. We’ve had others who jump up on stage without a care who were petrified of trying to make a new friend.

In each of these cases (and all others), the larger the courage grows, the smaller fear becomes. Like missing home or my desire for Chef’s chocolate chip cookies, fear never really goes away. But, with practice, perseverance and support from those who care about you, courage will begin to swamp those fearful feelings and get you moving in a new direction.

Overcoming Fear

We let it. Two great philosophers had something to say about fear. Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching in China about 2500 years ago. He thought:

“There is no illusion greater than fear.”

Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor and author of the widely read ‘Meditations’ said something similar at about the same time:

“If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgement of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgement now.”

Look, sometimes fear is going to win, no matter how hard you try to overcome it. However, rather than thinking that ‘you lost’, think of it as ‘you’ve learned.’

As a parent, I’ve let my fear of failing my boys ‘win’ from time to time. Thankfully, my bride has been there to help me see the experience as a learning opportunity and determine how I’ll handle the same or similar situation next time.

That’s a great way to keep fear from winning: including those who love and support you. In fact, knowing that you are loved will make you courageous better than anything else. That’s why it’s so great to be at camp, surrounded by people who will love and support you through it all.

The Courage/Fear Connection

When building courage, your fears will get smaller. If your fear is bigger than you want it, start practicing your courage.

First, you’ll need to reach out to a loved to help you understand your fear. Then, come up with strategies to work through the fear. Lastly, review how you did and keep the cycle going. Your fear won’t go away but perhaps you can turn it into a friend, something inside that is simply alerting you to an opportunity to do something courageous.

Get out there, Weequahic Hero. Practice your courage in big and little things. It’ll open up whole new vistas you never even knew were there!

Skate park at Camp Weequahic

Your Controllables

What time you get out of bed.

Whether or not (eww…) you brush your teeth in the morning.

Which bit of breakfast you put in your mouth first and last.

Remembering to take your things to school.

How you greet your teacher, your classmates, the custodian, hall monitor.

How much time you spend in the bathroom.

What you think about during math class.

How you treat those around you (and yourself) at lunch.

How much time you spend on your phone.

What you attend to whilst on your phone.

How you leave your classroom, classmates, teacher, custodian for the day.

How you greet those at home when you see them after school.

Whether or not you do your homework. AND, the quality of the effort as well.

What input – news, music, games, etc. – you attend to when not doing homework or chores.

How you react to that inpu.

Whether or not (ew…) you brush your teeth before bed.

What you think about whilst falling asleep.

Campers, this is a just a small list off the top of my head that you completely control each and every school day. Doesn’t matter if you are online or in-person. Doesn’t matter what time school starts or what you have after it.

You have the opportunity to control all of the things listed above along with a whole lot more.

Losing Focus

A lot of adults (and kids) are focused right now on things that are way out of their control. Because of this, our ability to exert control on that which we can degrades.

It’s ok to be sad or scared or anxious or nervous some of the time. These feelings are good reminders to make your scope of focus a bit smaller and think about what you can do to make the world around you a better, more interesting place.

The results of your efforts don’t matter (unless they are making the situation worse. If that is the case, stop and do something else.) Most of the time, you won’t know if your daily actions are meaningful. In fact, change is so slow that you don’t even notice it… in both directions.

Like a snowball rolling down the mountain, little things add up quickly.

The more emphasis or focus you put on treating yourself, your responsibilities and those around you with kindness, honesty, and grace, the more those around you will see you as a kind, honest and graceful person. The more careless with your time, your words or the small details under your control, the less likely those around you will trust you enough to give more.

Control what you can control, Weequahic. That’s one of the keys to a productive, happy life. Have a great week!


I had a totally different post ready to go today. However, just like four years ago, I’ve spent a good portion of my day on the phone with friends upset about an election. Like four years ago, some are afraid and others happy.

Just as four years ago, I’m happy to report, based on evidence from the past 4 billion years, the sun will come up tomorrow and the earth will continue its dance through the heavens. Today will be a lot like yesterday and tomorrow a lot like today. I say this not to diminish feelings of hurt or elation. It’s stated simply as a reminder of perspective.

The vast majority of change is very slow to happen and mostly springs from our daily, personal interaction with the world and people around us. This is also the source of most of our joy.

The world is too big to change much less control. Our best way forward, as in any situation, is to control what we can control and treat the world and those around us with kindness, honesty and grace. Get after that, Weequahic, and things will work out well.