Today is February 14th. Valentine’s Day. I will dig up something red to wear. If I can find the heart necklace Micah gave me for our first Valentine’s Day, I’ll wear that, too. It is freezing out. And yet, I will do what I do every other day of the year: Think. About. Camp.
Thinking about camp is my full-time job. I’m pretty lucky, right? I get to work at a place where our biggest selling point is happiness. That said, it’s not all fun and games. Okay, let’s be honest… it’s mostly fun and games. But there is more to it, especially this time of year.
Camp ended six months ago, and that’s just for those of us who were there at the end. Six months is a long time for a kid. While we have many campers who are jumping out of their skins with the anticipation of another unforgettable summer on the Hill, we have others keeping their jumping to a minimum and their skin very much intact. A camper who couldn’t fight back the tears as he hugged his counselors and friends good-bye may now be questioning whether he wants to return. A Training Camper who rocked his first overnight and begged his parents to enroll him the second they pulled up to the Big House to get him may now be thinking he’s just not ready for the real thing. We get asked pretty regularly what it is we do in winter. Well, a lot of it is this.
We warm cold feet.
We all know it’s normal to be afraid to try new things, but it’s also normal to be afraid to try the same thing again. What if it’s not as good this time around? What if there’s something better going on somewhere else? FOMO… the Fear Of Missing Out… is no joke. I know this from personal experience. If FOMO were an actual diagnosis, there is no doubt that mine would be classified as atypical. I cannot tolerate the feeling that something awesome could possibly be happening without me.
This is why I choose to spend my summers at Bauercrest.
Bauercrest is where awesome happens every single day. Is it ALL awesome? No. But it doesn’t have to be. If it were, what would that teach the boys/men we’re sending out into the world? At camp they learn how to take care of themselves and each other. They learn how to win and lose. They learn to ask for help. I know plenty of adults who are still trying to master these skills, and it’s not pretty.
We know that parents who try to protect their children from getting hurt, from making mistakes, and from being outside their comfort zones are acting with the best intentions. Having kids is hard and messy and doing what’s best for them doesn’t always feel so good. There’s a quote I love that says having a child “is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I think of this every time my kids say or do something that makes me want to hide under my bed. I think of it every time they say or do something amazing. I think of it pretty much every time I think of them.
If you let your hearts walk around with us this summer, we can’t promise that they won’t get bumped and bruised along the way. What we can promise is that we’ll be there to pick them up and brush them off every time. And they will come home to you stronger, healthier, and happier than you ever could have imagined.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy the break. Ken and I will be around, so feel free to reach out and talk your hearts out anytime.