Susie Ma’am and I meet with every cabin individually in our home. Susie Ma’am meets with the girl cabins in “Friendship Games”. I meet the boys in “Man Cave”. They are functionally the same, but both groups like their name better!
Susie Ma’am does some very cool things with her Friendship Games, including having the 7th and 8th grade girls become “big sisters” to the 2ndand 3rdgrade girls. [I wish this would work well for the guys, but the older boys generally prefer additional activity time to adopting younger campers. This will change when they are high schoolers, but 13-14 year-old boys prefer playing with peers.] This year, she has every girl choose an animal that she identifies with and they discuss what strength that animal shares with the girl.
Her conversations often drift in a myriad of directions – from silly giggles to serious chats about kindness/social cruelty (that would be the older girls). [Note: The only topic she has learned to avoid is pets. Any mention of a family pet instantly collapses into a cacophony of excited voices simultaneously sharing details of names, ages, breeds and other tidbits. She has never completely understood why this particular topic engenders this reaction, but it remains a camp fact.]
In Man Cave, I activate the boys creativity using Lego sets and ask them to build a model of something they love about camp. Most boys build models of their favorite activity, and I often marvel at their ability to represent an activity (like the Pirate Ship or water toys) using bricks, tiles and small Lego people.
Today, I got an unexpectedly insightful one from a 6thgrader. Here it is:
He explained that he loves how camp feels fun and safe and unhurried. On the left is “the real world”, with people on the phone, looking at the news on tablets and even scary things like wars (hence the skeleton). On the other side of the wall is camp, with two friends just talking. “I love sitting outside our cabin, looking at the clouds and talking about stuff.”
“You know. Fun stuff.”
That made my day.
Before I go, I will share a bonus anecdote.
At the climbing wall, a group of 3rdgrade boys were getting ready to climb. Before they would start, the instructor wanted to review the safety rules.
“OK boys, what is the first rule?”
Hint: he was hoping to hear “do not enter the climbing circle without a helmet”. Alas, this is not the answer he received. Instead, a sweet little guy confidently answered,
“Love your parents”.
I can live with that.