On the first night of Session 2, my campers all lay in their new beds with a mix of nervousness and excitement. After a long day of moving in or returning from intersession trips, we gathered together with the bunk lights out and twinkle lights on for one of my favorite camp traditions: Roses and Thorns. Each camper has the opportunity to share a few anecdotes about their day: a rose (something good that happened) and a thorn (something they are hoping goes a bit better tomorrow). This year, one of my campers added a new element: a Watering Can. Here, each camper shares an appreciation to someone for making their day blossom. As the members of Bunk Hudes each shared their Watering Can on Night 1, I felt an astounding amount of love and gratitude from 9 campers who had only just met each other a few hours prior. Every single camper shared that their Watering Can was all of the other members of the bunk for being so welcoming, loving, and kind.
I feel so lucky to be spending my summer learning and growing alongside some truly incredible young people.
The theme of this summer at Acting Manitou is “I am grateful.” This theme serves as a call to appreciate the opportunity we have here to make new friends, create theater in Maine, and push ourselves outside our comfort zones. Throughout my seven years here at camp, I have always loved how our themes challenge us to think about how we want to engage with each summer. Yet I have found the expressions of gratitude this summer to be particularly influential both to our campers and in my life as a bunk counselor. I see my campers thanking each other for spending Pool Time running lines together. I see the appreciation our younger campers have for the mentorship they receive from our CITs. I listen to my campers struggle to pick just one Watering Can during Roses and Thorns each night because they have so many people for which they feel thankful.
I feel so lucky to be spending my summer learning and growing alongside some truly incredible young people. At this point in the summer, I often worry a bit about the moment where we all will have to leave camp and say goodbye to the beautiful community we have been building. But I believe that the energy we have been creating will not end when we all part ways after Show Day in a couple weeks. I invite all members of our Acting Manitou family – friends at home, alumni, and those of us currently spending here in Waterville – to continue practicing appreciation and gratitude throughout the year. This summer has proved to me how powerful these expressions can be in cultivating joy and a sense of belonging.