Hello from the amazing Northwoods of Wisconsin!
I woke up today with a sense of appreciation for where I am and the environment I get to share with all of your kids. The air is crisp, the sun is out, and I’m looking at the glassy lake right now, taking in the peace as I write this. Your kids get to experience this every day. You have allowed them to get away from the chaos and pressures of the world. They are thriving.
Camp seems to calm our insides. The anxieties and stress we see in our kids at home are gone. Camp is definitively bringing a sense of wellbeing to many of the kids I’m talking to. Yesterday a girl told me “school can be so hard, and I don’t always want to go.” The pressure of school and friend groups is just so hard.” She went on to explain that “ Camp just makes me feel good. I want to be here and it feels so good and fun without worrying.” I know that this particular girl feels supported by friends and counselors. She also has new goals and is learning how to be resilient. She tried to get up on two skis for the first time and fell, but she did it again and again until she succeeded. I was on the boat when she was learning. She felt embarrassed at first, but she received some amazing support for the ski instructors and she didn’t give up. This was a lesson that she will never forget.
What I want parents to know is that the years of pressure take a toll. This is something I see every day in my social work/coaching practice. The push for perfection in school, in their image, and in extracurriculars and is harmful can even be dangerous., .
Learning happens every day, all around us. At Birch Trail it’s amazing to watch the campers pay close attention to their role models. I’m loving watching our kids learn from experiences, and from all that they are exposed to here. This is real life education and it helps the girls feel balanced, alive, and themselves. Anxiety is virtually a stranger here. Maybe we can be curious about why?
Without realizing it, we parents can become part of a wave of pressure that we don’t see or fully recognize in our kids’ daily lives. The pressure creates stress, that then can be the precursor for emotional, physical or mental dis-ease. Staying aware and careful about how we unconsciously contribute to this stress is an important lesson for us.