January Blog: 5 Pillars to aim for in 2022
January Blog: 5 Pillars to aim for in 2022
We are actively looking ahead to 2022, the 100th year of summer camp on the shores of Little Bear Pond at Camp Wekeela.
Every January 1st, we all collectively turn the page to a new year filled with fresh beginnings, while also reflecting on the year that passed. 2021 was no easy summer for the world. Although there were many highs, the year felt like a roller coaster at times given the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. Camps were not immune to the challenges presented by the pandemic. Although vaccines and testing were widely available in spring/summer of 2021 for ages 12+, making our jobs feel a little easier, we were still confronted with supply chain issues; the mental health of our campers and staff; and the ongoing pandemic fatigue/fear we have all grown accustomed to. However, we were grateful and thankful to our amazing camp community for another successful summer in 2021 – a summer filled with great memories, new friendships, laughter, and more. This blog is not to reflect on last summer, but to move forward towards a new year.
As Wekeela approaches our 100th summer, we ask ourselves how can we all move into a new era of summer camp, and life, in the year 2022? We put together our “5 Pillars for 2022” that we hope you and your family can think about accomplishing in this upcoming year – that directly relate to the amazing culture at Camp Wekeela.
Millions of people create resolutions they hope to accomplish in the New Year, such as “exercise more” “eat healthier” “read more” etc. These resolutions are very often too vague or open ended, intangible, and are abandoned by February. (Not all but statistically this is the most common). Just like starting out a first night talk at camp, consider a “New Year’s Talk” with your family, discussing not only resolutions, but goals for the year ahead. The best goals are tangible and accomplishable. One of the most powerful elements of a summer camp first night talk is to create a goals list that campers can check off as they accomplish them throughout the summer. Your New Year goals should be a set as benchmarks for yourself – something to achieve and cross off on a list. For example, instead of a resolution of “exercise more” a good goal would be “exercise X number times a week.” Instead of “read more” a more tangible goal would be “read x books a month, x in a year.” I personally did this goal for myself back in 2018, to read 5 books that year – I read around 30, crushing my goal. Because my goal was so tangible, and I didn’t just check it off a list, it created a new appreciation and enjoyment of reading – something that has become a habit. That’s the goal – turn your goal into something that is a lifelong hobby/habit.
One of the core beliefs we hope to instill in our camp community each summer is to treat others with, and to act with, kindness. As we say at camp, it costs nothing to be kind. As simple as it can be, spend the New Year working on your own language, words, and ways to be kind to others around you. Ways to be kind are simple and easy, and can go such a long way. At Wekeela, we not only were a founding camp partner of Camp Kindness Day, but also instill small acts of kindness and inclusion throughout the heartbeat of the camp community. Some great ways to be kind to others include: welcoming a new person to the school; thanking someone when they help you; or offering to help someone in need.
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to be appreciative of the close ones in your life. Our campers, staff, and families have been surrounded by adversity in their daily lives the past two years with the uncertainty of the virus. Practicing a chance to be reflective of one’s own life can help to calm your mind at times of stress. Keeping a gratitude journal or diary to write thoughts down, care for others, or simply reflect on your day are proven ways to reduce anxiety and feel more grounded. Just like Rituals at the end of every day at camp, creating a sense of closure to your day, week, month, etc. can be really helpful. Talking about your days, asking fun/silly questions, playing music that lifts your mood, etc. can all be ways to bring some reflection to your family in the New Year.
As we try to teach our campers and staff during the summer, there are never any bad questions. This cliche applies to life as well. We live in confusing times, with so much going on, having an inquisitive mind, whether in school, work, sports, etc. asking questions and also asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of trying to be the best you can be. Finding new challenges, being curious, and analytical in whatever brings you joy will lead to feeling more fulfilled.
Try Something New Every Day/Week/Month:
This can be a challenge at first, especially given the pandemic, but is a very tangible, great goal to try in 2022. A core part of the Wekeela camp experience is to encourage our campers to do the things they enjoy while also pushing them to break out of their comfort zone and try new things. Attempting something new can be scary or daunting. Evaluate your comfort level and the things you’d like to explore. No matter if the list is large or small, the first step is to attempt it. This can go hand and hand with a goal for the year, but giving yourself a chance to try to accomplish something is great. This also does not have to be an activity; you can always try something like-being kinder every day or practicing gratitude every dinner time. If you can add a new activity every day, week, or month you will have a much more fulfilling year.
We hope that this list helps you better prepare for new goals, fulfillment, and positive reflections for the New Year. We truly believe that the principles Camp Wekeela teaches during the summertime can be reflected in every day of your life!
We are so grateful for our camp community that will power us towards an amazing 100th summer at Camp Wekeela in 2022! And from our bunk to yours, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year!!