I don’t like to judge art on the merit of good versus bad, rather, I like to evaluate something on whether it excites me to create. The works that have affected me the most are the ones that leave me restless and creatively caffeinated and eager to put a pencil to paper and write. It is easy to take for granted the kind of environment Acting Manitou fosters for all of us. Camp is a place where we can be excited to create. Those around us are excited to create. We’re all excited for each other to create.
Camp keeps us busy. One would be hard pressed to find anyone in the Manitou family who feels there are near-enough hours in a day at camp to do all they wish to. How is one expected to support and inspire others, challenge themselves creatively, be a good friend (to ALL), work tirelessly on their performance, take care of themselves and others, commune with nature, fall in love with their play, make lifelong friends, and take joy in all they do, when there are only twenty-four hours in a day?
And all that without going into the woods or behind the bunks.
Whenever I’ve been at Manitou for the summer, I’ve found it hard to take time to write. There was always so much going on. Always something to do or someone to connect with. As someone who has suffered from bouts of writer’s block, this was never a satisfying situation.
But then I’d see electives: the creativity would begin to flow. Enkoodabao: more. CIT moments: more! Tech week: more!! Show day—you get the point. By the time I was packed up and leaving in August, I was rife with new ideas, excitement, and creative energy. I’d be immersed in some new project before I even got home to Connecticut.
I graduated from college last May, and since camp ended in August, I haven’t been immersed in the sorts of environments that excite me to create. That absence makes me cherish Manitou all the more. Manitou gives something to each of us. Maybe many somethings.
For me, it is the supportive, creative environment that camp fosters.
There really is no place else in the world like Acting Manitou, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a little something of Manitou and bring it to our other communities, or find it in our outside communities. Going forward, I will always strive to find a little bit of Manitou in everything I do, and everywhere I go, and I hope you all can do the same!
(P.S. Last summer’s Donald Trump musical is getting all too real, and I almost devoted this entire post just to that!)