It’s December! The trees are pretty bare, the wind is starting to swirl with flurries form the cold North winds, and people in the mid-west are cozying up in their big sweaters while eating all things pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha. Camp counselors all over the land are reflecting on the previous summer while experiencing flashbacks to warmer days and song filled moments of joy.
Being retrospective about the summer is a hugely important part of our own personal evaluation and growth process, allowing us to apply the lessons we've learned to life in the here and now. It can also throttle us forward in the planning process for next summer; Assisting camp leadership with ways to improve next year by sharing what we experienced and what we learned.
But wait… we often look back at the summer as a big wonderful picture with rose colored glasses and forget the effort it took for us to get through each day. To help us process our experiences and gain valuable insight it's important to learn how to celebrate our successes, big and small. There’s a quick nod of appreciation or a social media post congratulating us on completing the summer but do we really celebrate the small victories that helped us complete the bigger picture?
Let's take a moment and consider those smaller accomplishments. Those can go almost completely unnoticed! Maybe you figured out a better way to coordinate evening activity, or shared a really hilarious moment that allowed your co-counselors to shake off the stress and get to know you better – those little moments are just as important as the big, game changing wins. Every success is worth celebrating, even the smallest act can have a big impact. For example, on an average day you probably don’t notice how many times you blink, a blink may mean nothing to you but to your eye it’s a welcome drink and protection from the elements. Try not to blink for a full minute, or even 30 seconds and you’ll understand. Small moments have big impacts, a blink goes unnoticed but regular blinking keeps our eyes healthy and allows us to focus on the more important things like reading, just like all those small successes at camp will eventually lead to a big shift, and a great big win.
Take a few moments, grab a piece of paper and write down all the WINS you had this past summer, big and small. Then read and re-read your list. Just sit for a moment and allow yourself to get excited about the things you have accomplished! Now take a moment to organize this list of WINS into the following categories; program, campers, meals, facilities, camp leadership, staff, health & safety, and list the things you're proud of in each section.
So now that you have quietly acknowledged your awesomeness – do something to celebrate it! Sing your favorite camp song, text a co-counselor and reconnect, or just do something that will make you happy and remind you of camp; no matter what it is just make sure it’s a celebration!
Next, share what you've learned with the camp leadership team. It might seem daunting at first, but believe in what you have learned and focus on the positives! Sharing these priceless jewels of small successes will ignite the planning process, lift their spirits and give them the insight they need to tackle the issues that need to be addressed for next summer. Go ahead and email your list to Caroline@campsconnect.org.
So, What’s your favorite accomplishment of the summer? Do you have a special way of rewarding yourself for the big and small victories? Tell me about it in the comments below!
- Jenny Fehn, Media
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