Our kids (and our staff) arrive at Weequahic ready to have a remarkable experience. New experiences, new friends, new activities…. So much fun!
At Weequahic, we get to enjoy things we never would back home. Not many of us have an 85-acre lake with huge trampolines and climbing towers. Unless you are really lucky, you don’t have a Ceramics Studio next to a Fashion Design Studio next to the Woodshop. Very few of us can move seamlessly between a baseball game to a basketball tournament and then jump in the pool to cool off, all before lunch.
Not many of have parents who would welcome a three- or six-week sleepover. And, very few of us get to enjoy so much attention from so many great ‘near peer’ counselors.
We GET to do these things. And, we get to do them WITH a ton of old and new friends. While all of this presents an amazing opportunity, it also hides a significant risk: that you become a consumer or camp rather than a part of it.
We are all consumers. Our lungs consume oxygen moment to moment. Our bodies food and liquids each day to keep everything going. We do a bit (or more) of shopping for groceries and things. Media is consumed in the form of news, entertainment, and education.
All this is well and good. And, if kept in balance, being a consumer is useful.
However, are the moments of consumption memorable? Here’s a question to find out: what did you eat last Tuesday? When was the last time you played with the most recent birthday gift? What show did you watch last Thursday and what was it about?
Consumption, unless it’s a truly special thing like going to a wedding or having a very special meal at a very special spot, is rarely memorable.
If we aren’t careful, we can become consumers of camp, too.
Being a Part
So, what’s the alternative from being a consumer of camp?
Becoming a part of it.
‘Don’t I do that by simply showing up?’ you ask. No, not really. Your body will be there, yes. And, you’ll have all the opportunities to enjoy all the activities. You can eat the food you want, choose the activities you enjoy, and sleep in a comfortable bed.
But, here’s a secret of camp few people will tell you:
Camp is not all about you. Rather, it’s about all of us.
I had a great conversation LaDarrius Calvin, a wonderful young man who has been connected with Weequahic for a long time. When he arrived at camp, he thought “What the heck can I bring to this place? It’s so beautiful and so many great people – they don’t need me.”
And then he decided, “I’m going to leave this place better than when I found it.”
Rather than becoming a consumer of camp, going through the motions and following instructions, he connected widely with those around him, cared wisely for himself and others, and committed wholly to what we attempt to do each summer. Three years later, his decision proved prophetic. He has made Weequahic better. And, in turn, himself as well.
How About You?
Are you just going to enjoy camp and all it’s bells and whistles? Or, are you going to get out of your comfort zone and connect. Are you going to become a part of the fabric of camp or remain content to skip along the outside? Are you going to commit?
Either way, you get to choose. You can decide to consume camp this coming summer. You’ll have fun and meet some nice people.
But this approach won’t lead to many connections, many memories, many lasting connections. If you instead decide to dive-in with all your worries and expectations and excitement and connect and become a part of Weequahic, you’ll become a part of something larger than yourself… and be all the better for it.
So, which will you be – a consumer or a part of camp? We’ll find out this summer!