The "Feel" of Camp

Posted by Steve Baskin on Jul 2, 2019 6:55:53 PM
Steve Baskin
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Altus sailboat garden fisheye

I hope that the photos and the blogs help you better understand camp. I hope they show you the fun the campers are having as well as explain all the ways that your children are growing.


I hope you get a few laughs and perhaps even the occasional insight.


But I realize that they fall short of giving you the true “feel” of camp – what it is like to be here.


Time functions a little different here. Perhaps it is the lack of digital stimulation or the crazy schedule, but it makes life here different. We like to say that “the days are long, but the weeks are short.”


A few years ago, I conducted an informal survey with 3-week campers and counselors. I asked them “How long does each week feel like?” The answers were highly similar:


· Week 1 feels long, like 7-9 days

· Weeks 2 is MUCH shorter. It feels like 4-5 days.

· Week 3 is crazy short. Some said it felt like 36 hours, but most settled on 2-3 days.


Of course, for you parents, each week feels long – at least at first. When you are a new parent, days without a beloved child feel like a long time indeed. And each week feels similarly long. In future years, however, you will come to find that the weeks your child is at Camp Champions will fly by faster.


But even as I describe the difference in time, I know I am failing in creating the “feel” of camp for you. I am just making odd observations.


Part of the ambiance of camp is the fact that we are outdoors. We are in nature. Our species spent the vast, vast majority of our history living outside. While we have adapted a primarily interior lifestyle, something stirs in us when we are in nature.


I also think the friends and role models make it different.


Regardless of the reasons for the “feel” of camp, I cannot escape the fact that I struggle to describe it.


That is one reason I treasure this video made 8 years ago. That summer, we had a videographer named Tyler. He came for a summer job and found quiet joy. He job precluded him from returning, but camp made a huge impact on him. 


He, like me, tried to explain camp to friends, but words failed him (as he explains in the paragraph that you see before you start the video). As a result, he made a simple video. It says nothing about our activities or our schedule or our menus or our special events. It just creates a feeling that we connect with.  Here it is:


Letters Home Video


Our leadership team watches it every year before and after the summer. We also watch it during any retreat we have. It is not perfect, but it works.


I hope it helps you get a better idea how camp feels. I am not sure I can do much better.


Steve Sir