Long time, no talk! After returning from my trip, I went immediately to Spark the Wave. Over the years, I’ve had really really mixed emotions about it. But ultimately I realized that I’ve never been to camp without blogging every night. And as much as it felt weird and like something was missing, it felt good too. There were some absolutely terrible parts of this week like absolutely brutal. But there were also some incredible parts and I love that this blog gives me a platform to share all of the beautiful things that happen. How at the talent show when one of the performers got scared and faltered, the entire camp cheered her on until she kept going. How one of my kids shared something deeply personal and the other kids celebrated his courage. How my middle schoolers weren’t doing well in the volleyball tournament and two of the high schoolers made them huddle up and made their morale sky rocket. 😊
This week more than ever before, my campers and I got along SO well. I think part of it was because I had less regard for the rules than I usually do, I let them chill and do what they wanted a lot of the time. At Wave Week, there are two main times when you interact with the delegates, color group and core. Color group is like constructive fun time whereas core is more like school where they learn about leadership and group dynamics. I had 20 kids this year in both core and color group and they were fantastic. Sure, they were a rowdy bunch which would’ve usually thrown me but not this year because I realized that they are at summer camp. People are very quick to underestimate middle schoolers but these kids are some of the smartest and kindest. They deserve to let loose and be silly and make ever lasting friends all while doing service and helping others.
I relearned the importance of dance parties. I woke my dorm kids up with blasting music and we all walked down for breakfast dancing and singing through the halls. When my kids got tired in Core, we broke and danced until every single kid had a smile on their faces. I let them play games. I held up the quiet coyote and waited until they all joined. I watched them bond and triumph together. But the most impactful thing for me was that I watched them love and look up to me. They told me I was their favorite staff and celebrated how much they loved me every opportunity they got. They sought me out to talk to at meals and free time because they would miss me. Usually, I would NEVER admit that. I would smile and say how much they loved the camp itself. But I truly believe that I made a big impact on them.
And it’s times when you admit that to yourself that two things happen. The first is that you realize how important your interactions with other people are. How impactful saying “I’m proud of you” really is. My kids whole faces lit up when I laughed with them or told them how brilliant they were or celebrated their wonderful personalities. How standing up for someone can change their whole outlook. Every move you make, someone is watching, especially someone who is younger and the extraordinary things you do teach them to follow in your footsteps. The second thing that you realize, is how important you are in general. It is so easy to underestimate ourselves and this week hearing all of these little voices telling me how much I meant to them, really began to change that point of view. And encouraged me to be the best me so they could also be the best them.
While I do love this blog and I have missed it, I won’t be posting every night anymore. Some days it forces me to find joy when I don’t see it and I think if I’m not requiring myself to do it every night, the joy I relay will be more authentic. Sending love and my best.