Celebrating #CampKindnessDay at our overnight camp in NHJuly 24, 2018
Today at Camp we celebrated a new holiday: Camp Kindness Day. Created by our friends at the American Camp Association, this was a new event designed to highlight “the practice of intentional kindness that happens every day at American camps”.
As part of celebrating this event throughout the day our counselors helped our campers find fun, engaging, and simple ways to spread kindness and gratitude around our camp community.
Kindness is pretty much always on display here at K&E, but it was lovely see the many ways our kids and staff found to spread happiness and good cheer, like at assembly. It was counselor Lily’s birthday, and her extended Camp family (current campers, former bunkmates from childhood, friends in the boys’ and girls’ camps, and simply people she has grown to love over her years in our community) came up to our morning gathering with signs celebrating her special day. Throughout the day, whenever I saw Lily, someone was hugging her and making her feel special.
On my walk around campus this morning I encountered this gentlemen from Israel. He was making a sign with Hebrew letters on it and I asked him what it said when translated. “It says ‘Thank You, Andy'”. Andy is our Head of Ceramics, and he has been teaching here for 20 years. It was pretty wonderful to see one of our campers say thank you for running a major part of our arts program.
Always eager to help, the Camp Office Team developed their own list of potential ways to celebrate Camp Kindness Day, and shared them with the community.
Head Counselor Courtney also had the idea of note writing to express gratitude, and worked with our unit leaders to have our campers write a thank you note to every department in Camp. There are so many different branches of our staff team, and every one of them is crucial to our happy summers. This afternoon campers delivered handwritten notes of appreciation to housekeeping, the kitchen team, maintenance, our sports counselors, arts instructors, Adventure Dave, lifeguards, and transportation staff. It was a feel-good day all around our campus!
All over our campus today people were trying to find any little moment to just be a little extra kind to their friends, bunkmates, counselors and co-workers. One of our waterfront made this friendship bracelet in our camp colors for Head Counselor Courtney.
At the Kenwood Inter Campfire this budding young singer-songwriter was encouraged by his pals to play one of his songs, and after a standing ovation they prompted him to play tune after tune. In Evergreen our Juniper girls grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for themselves, but before hand delivered hot cooked meals to all of the counselors on OD throughout Camp.
Camp Kindness Day was not just about being kind to other people. I was walking towards the 3-D Archery Range when I heard a group of boys calling for me. When I walked over to them I saw that they were on a nature hike, and had found a large family of red salamanders. As you would expect, the boys were picking up and playing with them, and yet also being very gentle. After a few minutes of letting them crawl around their hands and arms — and laughing at how incredible this moment was — one of the boys said to his friends “hey, it’s Kindness Day. Let’s put them all back so they don’t get hurt”. I gave the young man a very big hug and let his friends know that taking care of our animal friends was a very important part of Camp Kindness Day.
It was a day filled with empathy, and our community doing its best to express the gratitude we all feel for the many, many people who help make this such a wonderful place to spend a summer.
We would also like to thank our friends at the KASHI company for the kindness they showed our camp community this week. They recently created a new product line of peanut and tree nut free, organic cereals for kids, and sent us an entire week’s supply of them for our entire camp family. Our campers and staff seem to really like all three versions!
Thank you, KASHI, for contributing to our community’s Camp Kindness event with such a delicious treat, and thank you to the entire K&E community for taking part in the first annual worldwide #campkindnessday.