Fernwood Cove Values Simple LivingPosted by Alicia DeHart on April 27, 2020
One of the founding values at Fernwood Cove is Simple Living. As shown in last week’s blog, Simple Living guides things like not having electricity in our bunks and not allowing the use of electronic devices like cell phones. The deeper aspects of Simple Living include not having camper packages and not posting photos of camp or campers during the summer. Fernwood Cove values Simple Living because it allows us to recognize and appreciate the little things.
As we continue to navigate life at home, including recent holidays that included virtual dinners and religious gatherings, we are recognizing all of the amazing “little things” in our daily lives. In times like a pandemic it can be easy to focus on the difficulties and stresses of life. However, when we take a moment to breathe and soak up our surroundings there are so many little things for us to be grateful for.
The Value of Disconnecting
Disconnecting from our electronic devices creates an immediate change when we arrive to camp. It’s a natural change that returning campers and counselors have come to expect. It’s simply a part of life at Fernwood Cove. This change eliminates the distractions and constant flood of information that is created by being constantly connected. The value of disconnecting from our devices is immediately noticeable in our ability to connect with one another.
Research has shown screen time and gaming to be detrimental to brain development and even an addiction source. Additionally, the impact on mental health is astounding. Particularly the impact of social media on teen mental health. What is also astounding is the positive impact that disconnecting from our devices can create. Research professor and New York Times Bestseller, Brene Brown even recommends simply disconnecting from the news to benefit our mental health during these uncertain times.
The Value of True Connections
One of the most magical aspects of sleepaway camp is the relationships and connections developed there. Friendships developed at camp are often some of the most meaningful and “real” that we can experience. This is likely due to two factors we see at camp. First, when you live in a collaborative and supportive community you get to know people on a deeper level. Second, we often hear people say they are able to be their true selves while at camp. The value of the true connections created at summer camp is immeasurable.
During times of physical distancing it is vitally important to maintain our social connections. Using our devices for social connections rather than social media can help us remain connected as our days of physical disconnection continue. Parents need to continue to be aware of which apps are being used and who your children are connecting with. And while it’s not the same as true face-to-face interaction, encouraging virtual social connection can be just as beneficial in the short term. At Fernwood Cove we encourage positive social connection. With intentional use of electronics, you can do the same for your camper at home.
Fernwood Cove Values The Little Things
During the summer Fernwood Cove’s camp counselors often hear Jim and the other Directors talk about taking care of the little things. The details of making camp run smoothly are truly in the small details in each day. However, there are other little things that everyone at Fernwood Cove values. It is through Simple Living that we are able to recognize and be grateful for them. There are so many ways that Fernwood Cove values the little things. Being grateful for them is just as important. “Nature Appreciation Moments” are celebrated when someone sees a rainbow or when we pause to listen to the loons and bullfrogs at the lake. In Beigette’s Meditation and More Focus Activity she reminds campers that gratitude is a practice. Meaning it’s something that is intentional and requires dedication. Gratitude at camp isn’t something that simply occurs, it’s something we intentionally work towards each day.
Practicing gratitude everyday is key. Activities like this one from Big Life Journal are great ways to get started as a family. Alicia Keys just released a new song thanking essential workers who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic. Beginning a gratitude practice now can help each of us ensure we don’t forget to have gratitude for these and other important people in the future. Whether it’s a healthcare worker, an employee at your favorite pizza place, or the employees making sure the electricity, water, and internet stay up and running- they all play a critical role in our lives. Saying “Thank you” to those who have helped you and your family is a great way to begin your gratitude practice.
The Value of Simple Living At Home
Most summer camp directors share a common goal. To positively impact the lives of campers. We want our impact to last beyond a summer camp session and even a school year. At Fernwood Cove we want our impact to last years to come. The connections we develop through simple living help us to reach these goals. Instilling the value of simple living at home now can potentially positively impact your family in the same way.
The key to Simple Living is recognizing the little things and the positive meaning they bring to your daily life. Whether it’s through family “bunk circles” and RAK awards that were included in our blog series last month. Or by playing board games to create new family connections and memories. It’s truly the little things, or the simple things, that can make all the difference. Take a moment to pause and listen to the birds sing or watch the sunset. Soak up the laughter from the silly moments with your children. Truly enjoy the little things and embrace the value of simple living at home. We have found it makes our days more meaningful.