A Sneak Peak into Camp Beginnings Gratitude Ceremony
With April here, and year 2 of Camp Beginnings less than 3 months away, it's time for me to mentally prepare. When I was in the thick of it, nothing seemed right. Things felt disjointed and rushed. There never seemed to be enough time for all of my must-haves in my first year. But when I was able to catch my breath and pause to reflect afterwards, things were different. I looked at a series of still shots over the course of the three-week long summer camp, and things began looking pretty great. Making it through it all, completely exhausted & utterly wiped from my first year running my own camp, I was ready for a long break. I thought about how hard it was, and all the mistakes I felt like I made. But then I saw the pictures. Real moments of stillness that captured more than just a memory. I was able to see the energy in the group, the unique relationships that were made, activities that stood out and the overall feel of each day and week. I was surprisingly pleased. The gratitude ceremony was an activity that was able to show me a lot.
The pictures above tell a story about our Gratitude Ceremony that culminated each week of camp.
At Camp Beginnings, we take time to celebrate individual strengths, connections that are made, and the gratitude we have for our many accomplishments. Here you see that at the end of every week last year, we "gave our heart away." Campers received unique prizes that could be reused. We didn't use store-bought items, we created heart-felt memories. One week we gave away painted worry stones or meditation stones that had a talent or strength of theirs written on the rock. Another week we gave away old trophies from my childhood that were just taking up space in my basement. We redecorated them to highlight special individuals. Every week kids gave away hearts made from used crayons that were melted into heart shapes by a school teacher friend of mine. We made the entire ceremony into a big deal with music, turning off the lights, and announcing each kid, one at a time. Throughout the weeks, campers who had signed up for multiple sessions really began to look forward to this and amp up the excitement. It was amazing to see the younger campers look up to the older ones and have the confidence to speak loud enough to say why they wanted to acknowledge that new friend they had made. It was equally as amazing seeing the older campers lift up the youngers by stating what qualities and traits were extraordinary in them.
This is something you can look forward to hearing about at Camp Beginnings 2018. Guardians might ask, "How did the gratitude ceremony go? What did the camp instructors love about you? Who did you give your heart away to, and why?" It is important people know they are awesome, and for what reasons. A moment I will never forget is a 13 year old male saying, "I never knew people liked me that much. That activity really helped me believe in myself." We all need confidence! Me & you included. Do yourself a favor today - give someone a genuine compliment without expecting something in return. Acts of Kindness improve the quality of our lives. Studies show being kind to others increases levels of serotonin in our blood, which lifts our mood. Mindfulness can take many forms at this summer camp, but gratitude is a way we incorporate it into our community and camp culture throughout the entire week.
There is still space available for all sessions. I would guess most sessions will be full by the end of April due to a smaller capacity this year. Last year, there was a 30 camper limit per week. This year, I am only accepting about 20. Smaller numbers lead to stronger connections and better learning in a less stressful environment. Learn more today!
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Get outside and be adventurous! This week is a test of your physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. You'll have to problem-solve, cooperate and take healthy risks with like-minded peers. You'll explore Madison through hiking, tree climbing, slack-lining, yoga, meditation, nature connection and prepare for an overnight adventure Thursday - Friday at Devil's Lake State Park where the opportunities get a little more intense. Youth will learn intermediate kayaking skills, how to belay, rock climbing on real rock face and go through a fire rite of passage ceremony. Enjoy 5 days of action-packed fun that will enhance your life and prepare you for upcoming leadership roles during the school year.
Jr Jedi Beginnings
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A mini-week, Wednesday - Friday, focused on learning the "way of the force" through training in mindfulness, yoga & nature exploration. Kids will learn many ways to self-regulate and take away hands-on tools to help them stay focused as a Jedi in the home.
Hey everyone - Moira here. I'm the owner of Hike and Heal Wellness and Director of Camp Beginnings. Come here for stories on youth mindfulness, sensory awareness and personal leadership. Hopefully they entertain and provide useful information to help the youth in your community lead a healthier and happier life.