Daily Newsletter – July 12, 2019
Good morning from Capital Camps!
There is a small plaque in my office with the following message: “Sometimes, good people make bad choices. It doesn’t mean they are bad people – it means they are human.”
I wonder if this is what God was thinking in this week’s Torah portion, when Moses raised his hand and struck the rock with his rod. In this famous story, God tells Moses that water will be provided for the people Israel.
As the Israelites continue to complain of thirst and become increasingly impatient for God to deliver on the promise, Moses strikes the rock in an effort to accelerate the process. The story concludes with Moses’ punishment: not permitting Moses to enter the land of Israel.
I often think about the choices we make relating to camp – choices our campers, staff and parents make. There are so many!
While some choices are relatively mundane, such as choosing to eat scrambled eggs or yogurt at breakfast, choosing soccer or drama for one’s chug (elective), etc., others are more consequential. Will I invite a new camper to sit with me at a meal? Will I reach out for help when I am struggling? Will I extend kindness to someone in need? Will I call camp about the letter I just received? Will I text my friends about the picture I just saw online?
We are faced with hundreds of choices each day. As a camp director, I consider each choice carefully, attempting to negotiate the complexities of each decision. What are the implications of one course of action or another? What are the consequences of inaction?
Of course, with choice comes the inevitability of an outcome. Sometimes, these outcomes are positive, well-received, and respected. Other times, we may believe that our choice was a mistake – something we’d like to take back.
Camp is a place where we can analyze the choices we make with the nurturing support of the people around us. Even when we make mistakes, we can look to our friends, our colleagues, and/or our mentors, to help guide us through these difficult moments. I wonder to whom Moses turned after his mistake.
The most difficult choices we make, however, are choices that affect other people. If someone does make a mistake, should we extend them a second chance? If so, how can we help an individual learn from the mistake and avoid making similar ones in the future?
Earlier this week, I spent time with our Leaders-in-Training (LITs). During the program, we discussed a variety of choices that our Leadership Team has made during the course of the summer. The LITs analyzed the choices, sharing feedback about each one. As we know, some are more well-liked than others.
The ability to try new things, take risks, make calculated and thoughtful choices are all things I love about camp. When we succeed, it’s amazing. When we fail, well, then I remind myself and encourage others to turn to the plaque in my office.
As we head into the final week of 1st session, I look forward to helping our staff to guide themselves, their peers, and their campers, toward making incredible choices – choices that result in fun, laughter, friendship, and amazing memories. I also look forward to helping others make difficult choices, such as how will they spend their last few days at camp? With whom? Doing what?
Choices are gifts – let’s grab hold of them and shine.