Today had a bittersweet start as we bid goodbye to our four-week campers. We will miss seeing their faces around camp, but we can’t wait to see them in summer 2023!!
This morning was the perfect time to continue with our CGL leagues and tournaments. It was warm, but there was still plenty of time to cool off with a jump in the pool. After lunch (bagels and lox), we made up our afternoon from our steamy day earlier this week, just in time to cool off with some ice skating!!
I haven’t been ice skating since I was a junior counselor at Camp Chai day camp almost twenty years ago, but I was excited just to go and sit somewhere cool for a while. I went with the first trip of the day, which was Inter Boys, Inter Girls, and Lower Debs and Cadets. Everyone was excited not just for the skating, but also for the concession stand in the lobby. Let’s just say these campers may be on the smaller side, but they are mighty when it comes to the consumption of delicious mozzarella sticks, hoagies, and cheese fries.
There were a fair number of campers who took to the ice with ease, obviously experienced. Others ventured onto the ice unsure and unsteady. But almost every single camper participated and gave it a fair shot.
In my very first blog, I talked about how this was my summer of “Yes, and…” So, naturally, I had to at least give it a try. The second I stepped onto the ice, I was done. Too slippery, too much risk of falling. Kids practically bounce when they fall, but me? Hitting the ice could do some damage. My knuckles were white gripping the wall, and I had turned around to give up and “skate” the three inches back to the entrance when I thought, “Well this isn’t a very ‘Yes, and…’ decision.” So I turned around, clinging to the wall for dear life, and slowly, but surely, I made it all the way around the rink.
But you know what? As I did my best slipping and sliding out of my comfort zone, no one stopped, pointed, or laughed. No one taunted me. The only things I heard were words of encouragement. “You’re doing great!” “You’ve got this Aunt Kate!” “Don’t stop, you’re almost there!” One Inter Boy even offered to teach me how to play hockey, but I assure you I have a ways to go until then (like maybe letting go of the wall someday.)
The point is, CGL campers are good kids. They recognize when someone is trying their best and taking a risk, and they acknowledge it with praise and encouragement. No one fell and stormed off the ice angrily. If your butt hit the ground, there was always a hand outstretched to pick you up and push you back onto the ice again. Counselors were hand in hand with campers, patiently teaching. Campers were guiding counselors who were skating for the first time! There was practically a conga line of new skaters just like me, shuffling beside the wall.
So many people in that skating rink “Yes, and”-ed today. Took a risk. Maybe fell, but always bounced right back up.
That’s camp, isn’t it? It’s always easier to take a leap of faith when you know there is going to be a hand waiting to help you right back up to try again.