Summer Camp Connections Are NaturalPosted by Alicia DeHart on April 09, 2021
We have crossed the one year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic began to significantly impact the United States. In those long twelve months we have experienced change, loss, adversity, and sadness. One of the things the Fernwood Cove Directors have missed most over the past year is the sense of connection. The real, physical, meaningful connection between family and friends. We miss the connections we create each summer with our Fernwood Cove family. These connections are unique. Summer Camp connections are natural. They are real. Camp connections are truly extraordinary.
As we prepare for the coming summer we are so excited to reconnect with our camp family. We are excited for campers, CITs, and staff to disconnect from computers and electronic devices. Jim and Beigette look forward to creating the camp community in the natural beauty that surrounds them at their home every day at Fernwood Cove. Each of the directors can’t wait to see campers, CITs, and staff learn and grow as they have shared adventures this summer. We are excited to see the stress and anxiety of the last twelve month melt away as we all reconnect with nature, breathe in the fresh air, and truly soak up the sun. While wearing sunblock of course!
Real and Natural Connections
As we prepare for our technology-free summer in the outdoors we realize that computers, mobile devices, and tablets are still very much part of daily life for almost everyone. Luckily technology has helped us connect with friends and family and even co-workers over the past year. We are using virtual meetings daily at camp too! However, these connections aren’t the same. They are good and certainly serve a purpose. But they aren’t like the real and natural connections we experience at summer camp.
The connections we experience at summer camp are some of the most real connections we likely experience in life. Whether it’s the connection with nature or the connection with each other, they are real. While at camp we are all immersed in our bubble of the Fernwood Cove community. We are able to shed away the armor that we build up in our everyday lives at work and school. We put on our camp uniform, throw on our Crocs, grab our water bottle, and quickly become the truest versions of ourselves. In this space and mindset we are open and welcoming. We seek challenges and encourage those around us. Campers and CITs stop and say hello and connect in new and different ways. We pause to breathe in the fresh air and feel the grass between our toes. Each moment of each day at Fernwood Cove is an opportunity to connect and truly soak up the joy in life.
Camp Connections Are Natural Relationships
The relationships and connections developed at camp are unique. Whether it’s due to the concentrated time we experience together or that we’re focused on our true selves and able to connect with others on deeper levels while at camp. Or possibly it’s because we don’t have distractions like social media, societal norms, or other outside expectations while we’re at camp. It’s likely a combination of these things, among others. Whatever it is, camp connections are natural relationships that flourish during the summer and continue for years and years to come.
The value of camp connections definitely extends well beyond the time we’re at Fernwood Cove. If you ask current or past campers or staff what they miss most about camp the answer is often their friends. Our friends are such a huge part of our camp experience. The shared experience creates special connections and memories that last a lifetime. Our ability to connect (virtually) with camp friends and immediately jump back into conversations like no time has passed is magical. During times like the on-going pandemic these connections have been invaluable.
Outdoor Connections Are Natural At Camp
The benefits of creating connections and community go far beyond making lifelong memories. This is particularly true in the outdoor and natural environment of summer camp. Being outdoors no only facilitates greater interpersonal connections. It also helps us reconnect with ourselves and the outdoor world. Each day we navigate camp we are surrounded by some of the most beautiful aspects of Maine. The tall pines, the clear lake water, the chirping birds, and even the croaking bullfrogs are a reminder of the extraordinary world around us. With the Fernwood Cove value of Respect of the Outdoors guiding us outdoor connections are natural at camp.
Our time in the natural surroundings of camp not only help us build valuable skills. It also helps improve our mental and physical health. And after the year we have experienced we need this more than ever. As shown in various studies, 0ur connections to the natural green space at camp help improve mental and physical health. Each day that we learn and grow in the outdoors we also become healthier. Our goal each summer is to send campers, CITs, and staff back home the best version of themselves. This summer our natural connections will help ensure the best versions of ourselves are also healthy and better prepared to tackle life’s next challenges.