Blog 1

Sense of Community

Hello from beautiful Camp Birch Trail.

As I walk around Birch Trail it reminds me of the incredible sense of community I felt when I was at Timberlane. I’m seeing the girls settling into the camp family and a few things are quite clear. The girls are beginning to feel that sense of belonging. They are bonding with friends and connecting with counselors. Everyone seems to matter to one another, and it’s a breath of fresh air to watch. With this rising sense of connection I can see how growing confidence and self-esteem are inevitable outcomes.

As a camper in the 80’s and 90’s, I realized for the first time in my life that I could truly be myself. At camp I didn’t have to change who I was to be accepted. Never before had I known the feeling that all was right in the world. I didn’t understand why back then, but I just knew that I was home.

A really interesting thing can happen when kids are taken out of their usual environment. An intentional community begins to grow, and it brings everyone together. Gently and patiently, kids are taught that life isn’t about survival, it’s about caring, collaboration and the whole – the community. It teaches them how to interact through modeling. Counselors show them what healthy interactions look like, and how to take care of themselves while caring for and respecting each other. They come to value the community as a whole.

Take away –

Valuing the community means balancing taking care of ourselves and each other. One does not supersede the other in terms of value. Respect, care, curiosity and kindness are all qualities that need to be modeled from the top down, if we want our kids to embody these values.

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