Well, here we are. Another summer is well into the books as we have continued our year into the fall and winter seasons. One thing that I feel we do not do all that often anymore is look back on the experiences we have had. I know there are many people out there who keep diaries, journals, video logs, blogs, etc, but do we really reflect on what we have experienced from day to day? I believe there is a difference between just writing events down and recounting what has happened and looking in-depth at those occurrences. I do not want it to mean that we need to search for hidden meanings in every single activity we do. Quite honestly, it appears that much of our lives consist of mundane activities that just slip our notice.
Take a moment to think about the day you have had thus far. Waking up, getting out of bed, showering, dressing, brushing your teeth, eating breakfast, and so on, and so on. Actions that we have really taken for granted due to the amount of times that we have done them previously. Actions that are so deeply seeded into our muscle memory that we no longer think about doing them, and instead, we are thinking about other things entirely while doing those actions. Honestly, the only times when we really do remember something happening in the day is when there is a disruption. We are out of toothpaste and have to get more, or we ran out of milk and we couldn’t have cereal. Otherwise, all those events just fade into the background, all but forgotten.
That is the one thing that I do not want to have happen to the camp experience.
We always hear others saying that time is too precious to waste, that it is the most important commodity we have while we are alive. Is it really? At times, or maybe even most times, we certainly don’t treat it as such.
A summer camp experience is not meant to be a mundane activity, something that is just forgotten to the background of what you had done during the summer in amidst a host of other activities. It needs to be more than that. Just think of how different a camp experience is to the rest of the events going on in your life. Where else do you experience a cabin way of living, activities that you participate in each day, and spend so much time surrounded in an environment that has brought so many people from different backgrounds together under one banner? The things that you experience at summer camp are too precious to forget, so bring them back to the forefront and see how important they really are. Taking the time to reach out to a friend from camp, looking at some old photos that were taken while at camp, or looking at the schedule of events that were occurring while you were at camp are all great ways to get the memories to flood back.
The next step, which I think is the hardest personally, is taking those experiences and memories and trying to find a place for them to fit in your everyday experience.
You’ll see this happen with many different people with their “segmented” points of life. Take, for example, a person who meditates at some point in the day. When someone sits down on a cushion, chair, couch, etc. to meditate, they are practicing some sort of concentration discipline. There are many that people will try that will have different end goals, but they all seem to have the same difficulty: what do you do when you get back up and continue your day? That point is the hardest part. How do you bring what you are practicing into the world where there is so much going on?
We want to make it a part of who we are, but the “camp us” and the “rest of the time us” can be so vastly different especially when we fall into routines and go about our days in our daily haze. I think what would be most helpful to us is if we were to pick one aspect of camp, something that jumps out to us immediately, reflect upon that moment and ask why it is important to us. Focus on small moments first, and then try to incorporate those moments to more of your day with whatever is going on. Those moments that are most important to us will have the best effect because they are naturally something we pay a lot of attention to, so focusing on such an event could be the biggest help. Another idea that may help is to actually make theme days at home. Make up a day where everyone can get involved and have some fun out of it. Dressing up, singing songs, having a particular meal for dinner are some great ways to bring camp ideas to the household in a way that everyone can share.
Again, the goal is to bring some of camp into our daily lives now that we are back home and into routines for the fall and winter. It is a conscious choice that we want to make in stating that camp is important enough to not forget it or disregard it. It is a time that we have spent together for however long it may have been, but a time that we would not have wanted to spend any other way. A time that really made a difference in us, and depending on who we share our experiences with, it could make a tangible difference in others as well.
Matt Buynak Jr.
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