Yesterday was a pretty darn regular day here at camp. We had a regular wake up, regular meals, regular projects, and a regular schedule. In fact, this whole first week of camp is filled with by and large regular days. (Sheesh Kaplan…here we are just four days into camp and you are already out of material?!)
This regularity is a very deliberate choice on our part. You see, for our campers, especially our brand-new ones, merely coming to camp is a serious departure from all things regular. You sleep in a different bed, share a living space with different people, eat different food, and just live differently. With this understanding, we know that establishing some degree of routine and predictability is really important to making the boys feel safe and grounded. Heck, I wear the exact same clothes every single day of the summer (ok, sometimes I will exchange the tan cargo pants for the tan cargo shorts….you know, to keep everyone on their toes!) so that things are always normal, predictable, stable, and I don’t have to spend the 30 minutes daily standing in front of my closet trying to figure out what to wear (ok….I admit that even in the off season I am often teased by my friends for basically wearing the same clothes every day then as well…..though just to keep things exciting, I have tan, blue and brown cargo pants to wear in the off season!).
And so it was that our boys woke up, washed up, went to breakfast and chose their four activities for the day from the twenty different projects. They passed required ranks for tripping, tried out new activities, and indulged in some of their favorite old standby activities.
For our new boys…they are already getting very settled into what their routines and predictable lives will be like here at camp.
This will be changing in very short order as we pepper our schedule with special days, special meals, and special activities very soon…..But for now, regular is good. Regular is important. Regular makes our new and very irregular home seem like…..home.
Last night was also our first Village Barbeque of the summer. As you might be aware, the camp is divided into four villages by age group. On most Fridays, the villages barbeque their meals outside and eat picnic style as a group. This is a really nice time for a family feel to be cultivated within each village group. Sometimes, people tend to think of camp social circles as being mostly limited to cabin groups. And there can be little doubt that cabin families are significant here at camp. But the geniuses that designed this place built in specific programs and ideas that nurture other aspects of the camp family. From the aforementioned village barbeques that put kids of the same age together for meals and activities, to the way that our projects are designed in which it is quite common to see a 14 year old camper working with a ten year old on an art project, or in our MOCA kitchen (the cooking project), or at CNOC, our wilderness skills project, Nebagamon is designed to foster connections amongst the full camp family….from our oldest to our youngest.
Just such a nice start here. Kids are happy. Staff is killing it. Weather has been wonderful. You know…..regular.
All is well in the North Woods.