When you think of summer camp, you rarely think ‘hero.’
Words like fun, friends, tradition, s’more, and color war normally come up first. The ‘hero’ moniker is reserved for those people who go above and beyond, who help and serve, who overcome, lead, and teach.
It’s been a year of heroes, has it not? Our front-line healthcare professionals certainly jump out when thinking of the term ‘hero’ in relation to 2020. Many teachers who went above and beyond the call of their normal duty to educate and engage their students from a distance. Those who peacefully and fervently raised their voices against some of the ills present in our society. These and many more rose to the lofty height of heroes.
Yes, there have certainly been some who could easily be described as villains, too. I choose to focus on the positive, though, in hopes of instilling a drive and desire toward the light.
You may or may not have heard about the ‘Hero’s Journey.’ It’s a phrase coined by Joseph Campbell, a teacher and writer who researched historical and current day myths from around the world. Heroes, to Professor Campbell, go through a similar journey no matter who they are or from whence they come.
(Here is a great, short video that explains the whole idea from TedEd.)
Here’s the long and short of it: a hero is called to an adventure, something to battle and overcome. The process includes finding a mentor or guide, leaving what they know behind, bumping up (repeatedly) against challenges that require the hero to grow and change, a major crisis, victory over that crisis, and the return to home a changed person.
From a summer camp perspective, this actually fits beautifully with the camp counselor experience. It’s hard to describe just how much our young staff grow and change as they learn through their summer with us.
Sure, it’s incredibly fun. But it’s also really, really hard. Crisis does come for each of them at some point. They all hit a wall whether it be ‘out of a comfort zone,’ patience, not knowing how to help or something else. When they overcome that crisis, they leave camp different: more confident, competent, empathetic, patient, and humble.
Summer Camp’s Journey
From my perspective as a camp owner, I can honestly tell you ‘camp,’ if you think of it as a person, is certainly on its own Hero’s Journey right now.
Having missed a summer – something Weequahic has never done through wars, recessions, and previous pandemics – we’ve left our normal routines of ‘home.’ We’ve got wonderful guides who are helping through the next parts of our journey. There are challenges we’ve not faced before. And, we see the light of Summer 202One and know we will arrive back ‘home’ a better camp for our campers, staff and families back home. We’ll certainly be changed… for the better!
Summer 202One Theme: Heroes
Having gone through this year as we did, I feel it is time to focus on heroes: their journey, their questions, their challenges. Of course, we’ll explore how they express gratitude, determine their attitude, and develop their courage throughout the process.
Can we all be heroes? Yes! Why? Because we all have challenges to confront and overcome, wonderful mentors ready to lend a helping hand, and the need to learn, and grow and change in order to face the next challenge – whatever that may be – with GAC.
From a camp perspective, we are journeying off to a new world. Weequahic will need a whole bunch of heroes to help make next summer incredible. Want to join up? It’s going to be AWESOME.