We’ve made it back to camp and are welcoming in Camp UP 2017! Staff arrived yesterday morning and we’ve been at it ever since – meeting our coaching teams and planning for practices, preparing activities for campers, organizing mountains of gear, climbing trees to put up UP banners, and getting to know one another as members of a creative, collaborative peace-building team. This is camp #8 for me, and one of my favorite parts has always been getting to know the diverse and inspiring set of peacemakers. We all have so much to learn from one another, and it begins the moment we set foot on campus. We’re all putting our own skills to work and gaining new ones in the process.
Every camp, for me, starts off with a crazy mix of emotions. It’s a cocktail of excitement, apprehension, social anxiety, determination, overwhelmed-ness, exhilaration, and gratitude, topped off with a heap of jet lag. Every year it stretches the boundaries of my comfort zone, and every year I try to expand myself a little bit more. I’m normally a relatively quiet person, but camp – without fail – challenges me to step up my game, put myself out there, and hit the ground running. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.
I like to think that one of the most unifying parts of the UP experience is that everyone feels that crazy mix inside their heads. While everyone feels it differently based on their skills and their worries, I can say with confidence that everyone feels it. But somehow, no matter how our nerves and excitement manifest themselves, we’re all here pushing each other and ourselves to be our best. This is the tone we set before campers arrive and when they do, they will benefit from our practice. We will empower them as we have empowered each other, and with that, we will create success.