Sunday Snippet: Finding Fun At Camp!
To help parents consider the Camp WeHaKee experience for their daughters, we often share with them how camp is a great place to build one’s self-esteem, become more independent and build one’s character all within a safe, welcoming and supportive environment. But when girls and young women explore the possibility with us, they usually want to hear about how much fun they can have at WeHaKee!
Well, what is FUN anyway? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes it as “someone or something that is amusing or enjoyable : an enjoyable experience or person”. Kind of sounds trivial and unimportant and many feel fun is just that. Certainly fun at camp can be considered enjoyable and often amusing, but it is so much more. Fun is truly the essence of the camp experience, but it is the element that eludes a simple and clear description. So, let’s take a look at what is actually happening when a person is having fun.
Fun is Engaging!
When a camper is having fun, she is engaged in what is occurring. We hear that word tossed around in education circles often suggesting kids need to be engaged in order to learn. And when you observe a child engaged in a learning moment, they often are smiling, laughing or appear excited. Fun and learning share the element of engagement. Incredible learning happens when one is having fun!
Fun is Life in the Moment!
When a camper is having fun, she is experiencing life in the moment. She is not worrying about the future or stressing about the past. She is experiencing that moment at that moment. This is a child-like ability (yet very critical for all of us) where one takes in all that is going on around them, fully engaged in what is occurring. In simple terms, what is occurring has her full attention!
Fun is Affirming!
Sure, from a physical perspective, fun is experienced when endorphins are released – that is why running can go from drudgery to exhilarating over the span of minutes. But when a camper is having fun, her behavior, thoughts and feelings are being affirmed. Universally, fun creates a good and satisfying feeling within. And that satisfying feeling is connected to the actions and thinking that is occurring creating a type of classical conditioning – when we do this, we feel good, so we will do this again.
Fun Facilitates Learning!
Fun is the most effective facilitator of learning. At camp fun facilitates learning without us having to label it learning, teaching or education. It just happens and our campers grow as a result! For example:
- When a camper gets up on her waterskis for the first time, she smiles, laughs, maybe even screams in delight OR When a camper overcomes her fear and gets into the water the first time realizing it is not as scary as she thought and begins to splash and laugh with her camp friends.
- When a camper is able to ‘throw’ a pot on the pottery wheel successfully and feels the joy and excitement of being able to form her first pot OR When a camper creates a simple hand formed clay piece she can’t wait to bring home and show off.
- When a camper cantors on horseback for the first time the exhilerating feeling of riding a horse at a faster speed brings a big grin to her face OR When a camper touches and brushes a horse for the first time experiencing that wonderful connection between girl and animal.
- When a camper hits her first bullseye in archery, she feels excited about her accomplishment OR When a camper is able to shoot an arrow forward for the first time after struggling for a bit, she begins to feel that ‘she can do it’ and keeps on trying!
- When a camper makes friends from around the world, she is excited to find out more about them OR When a shy, introverted camper meets a new friend at camp, she feels important and loved.
- When a camper is able to provide a reading in front of everyone at Evening Prayer, she feels a sense of achievement and acceptance OR When a camper experiences that initial feeling that her spirituality really can have a positive impact on her life, she feels a deeper sense of appreciation of the good things around her.
Camp is fun, because fun is more than fun! Fun is satisfaction, fun is achievement, fun is exciting and fun is comforting. But fun is also learning, growing, maturing. So when your daughter attends WeHaKee and writes home about all the fun she is having, know that the fun she is experiencing is helping her become a better person on so many levels. Fun is what it is all about!
Thanks for reading and have a great week!