The Girl With the Bow: Life Lessons Learned at Camp
We’ve all been the girl in the bow, the go-getter whose journey through camp, and to adulthood, was undeniably linked to the time spent as a base, backspot or top girl. The lessons learned at camp originated from the challenges faced when learning a new stunt, perfecting a tumbling skill or executing proper motion technique, all while trying to be a supportive teammate. Lessons learned are about respect, giving back, self-reliance, time-management and teamwork—all important metrics of a successful summer camp experience.
For campers, the summer months brought endless smiles. School closed for more than two months, and our second family greeted us with open arms. Mornings were spent with sleepy-eyed bunkmates, and nights came alive with uncontrollable laughter. Days were filled with friends, water bottles and spirit chants that will never be forgotten while countless memories were made. While it’s easier said than done, summer camp is your shot to bridge the gap between identifying who you are and who you want to be. One thing is clear: camp provides many opportunities for you to fit into different roles and relationships—important steps on the way to recognizing who you are now and to becoming who you can be. Among the most critical of these relationships are the ones with staff, close enough in age to “relate” yet old enough to be looked up to as mentors and critical commentators on the choices we make and the paths we take. Take the time to remember the lessons you learned at camp, those that will last you a lifetime.
Self-Reliance: There’s nothing quite like leaving your family to spend a week away at summer camp. This experience is so valuable when it comes to growing up. Being able to thrive on your own develops independence that you might not have been exposed to otherwise. At camp, you must identify the resources that can help you meet personal or group goals, resolve conflicts and find success. This ability is imperative for becoming the human you are designed to be.
Time Management: As you get older, you realize how important it is to manage your time. From schoolwork to your job to spending time with friends and family, juggling your daily responsibilities is nearly impossible without constructive time management skills. As you know, the camp schedule is jam-packed. At an early age, you understand the importance of being on time and arriving where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. If you’re late or have not fulfilled your responsibilities on time, it doesn’t just affect you anymore—it affects your entire team. What better teacher to manage your responsibilities effectively than having a group of individuals depending on you to get your job done!
Having a Servant’s Heart: It’s easy to forget the blessings you’ve been given in the midst of every day stress. Team Up for St. Jude is one of the greatest ways to remember how lucky we are to be healthy, active souls who have the ability to give back. At the end of the day, we are all here trying to find our place in the world, and as the saying goes, “In order to find yourself, you must lose yourself in the service of others.” Here’s the cool thing: service doesn’t have to stop with St. Jude. Whether it’s complementing the freshman on your team or high-fiving the middle school cheerleader who has finally overcome her mental block, these random acts of kindness develop community, build trust and demonstrate an understanding and appreciation for those around you. The ability to see the good in people, the good in difficult circumstances and the good in heartaches will aid you in having a happy life.
Respect: Developing respect is necessary not only in finding your uniqueness, in relationship to others, but also your similarities. You must figure out how you fit into the larger whole, be it a family, camp, school, community or society. Fitting-in mean to develop and sustain a genuine respect for yourself, for others and for the rules set before you. By acknowledging the assets you and your team bring to the camp community, you can build trust among instructors, teammates and coaches. This ability is necessary in developing respect in all facets of life, the classroom, the workplace or at home.
Teamwork: The most valuable resource we have, as people, is other people. Becoming a strong team-player, a tireless team-builder and realizing the importance of others in your life is a true combination for personal success. The best teammates are those that don’t ask what their team can do for them but, instead, ask what they can do for their team, in order to help better the whole. Camp teaches and proves that you work better together and that depending on your team is the way to achieve your goals. Throughout your life, you will find yourself in circumstances where you have to work well with others.
The benefits experienced at summer camp are opportunities. Opportunities where, under the direction, supervision and influence of a caring staff, we learned to become more independent, more confident, more self-aware and more giving toward others. Our identities emerged, solidified and were reinforced by recognition of our own character and of our personal contributions.