All the peace and happiness of the whole globe,
the peace and happiness of societies,
the peace and happiness of family,
the peace and happiness in the individual persons’ life,
and the peace and happiness of even the animals and so forth,
all depends on having loving kindness toward each other. –Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Creating a safe and inspiring place where we can build a community of good people living harmoniously together each summer is at the very core of our work at camp. With this goal in mind, we are excited and happy to share our theme for the 71st season of Blue Star magic…
choose kindness. share peace.
Choosing kindness means being kind to ourselves and kind to others. As the Dalai Lama taught, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Kindness is a choice that we can make consciously in every moment, every day.
Every day at camp provides opportunities for campers and staff to practice choosing kindness. It could be as simple as inviting a bunk mate to join the group in a cabin game of rafter ball or composting (boom!) in the dining halls; at camp we model, teach and support campers in being kind to others…and being kind to the planet. Through employing conflict resolution among campers and scaffolding group decision-making within cabins, we help model and provide a framework for peaceful discourse. Additionally, each week, as part of our camp-wide Havdallah, we recognize campers that exemplify these values with the “Mensch on a Bench” honor.
To further drive our mission forward, this summer we will be introducing a new daily practice within each cabin called a “Circle Up” (also known at camp as a “Rose & Thorn” as practiced for years with our leadership and cabin counseling staff). This daily practice will model explicitly how to share feelings authentically in a group. Our hope is that this will lead to campers feeling more supported to speak their truths and share what is in their hearts with their camp friends and bunk mates. We will explore the why and the how of it being just as important for campers to listen mindfully as it is to share. Hearing where others are coming from helps us to develop empathy and grow kindness in our hearts. In essence our good work is to guide our campers towards choosing kindness which then naturally flows into sharing peace. Choosing kindness allows us to share peace with others; the camp experience itself provides endless opportunities to find the peacefulness inside us.
Living in nature and connecting with the natural world, experiencing a unique universe where the emphasis is on feeling joy and having fun, forming friendships that affirm our sense of self and strengthening our spiritual connection to Jewish values guide our everyday life at Blue Star. The precious opportunities to connect with the most peaceful part of ourselves help us to choose kindness and proactively build a community with peace as its foundation.
In helping to develop the good people that will one day lead our planet, our hope is that this summer theme and the practical ways we apply it each moment in Summer ‘Chai at Blue Star offer a profound way to help transform our world outside of camp. Our world needs more people who actively choose kindness, and from their hearts, share peace with all other beings. Thank you for being part of our Blue Star family, sharing in and supporting our vision for a more peaceful planet. To the good work!