Carpe diem. Lauren and I are so excited to introduce our theme for summer 2015. Our theme is “Shine On”. The idea connects to our first organizational internal core value to Let your Light shine. It is about giving our campers (and staff) permission to truly be themselves. Let THAT inner light shine and be shared with everyone in our camp community (and out in the larger world). All we ultimately set as an expectation for each camper is to be kind to others. Having a kind and caring heart and thinking of how we can be of service to others is one thing towards which we always can strive. As the Dalai Lama reminds us, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
We grew up at a time where there were growing pressures put on us to be a certain way and follow a prescribed path toward success in life. Now societal pressures have magnified exponentially, and as parents, we already are aware of this. Lauren and I view camp as a sacred and safe space where we can provide a sort of antidote to some of these outside pressures. At camp we invite and encourage all of our campers to find their best selves. We try to create the conditions within which each camper can feel comfortable just being.
How do we create these conditions at Blue Star? We spend a lot of time and energy behind the scenes, with our team, devoted to designing an overall program structure and specific daily programming aimed at just this. For example, our campers are given the opportunity to choose themselves what their primary two “options” (or daily camp activities) will be. In other words, they do not just go with their whole cabin to every activity already pre-selected for them. While that might seem quite simple, it actually provides many of our campers the unique experience of choosing and pursuing what they really want to explore as their main focus (without their parents’ input). This is one example of how we consciously are carrying out a foundational philosophy at Blue Star passed down to Lauren and me from Herman Popkin and directly through Rodger. That is, every child possesses a unique gift(s), and it is our mission to help her/him discover that.
Lauren and I believe that it is such important work to discover what makes each of us truly happy. The process of self-discovery can be illuminating and liberating, even if the change it inspires is subtle. We believe that what is most important about this process is that our campers find happiness. That is what becoming successful in life means to us. When we are truly happy we really do “Shine On”.