This is the word that popped in my head as I sat looking around the Mess Hall the other night at dinner. Campers were freely cheering, dancing, and laughing. No one was looking over their shoulder to see who was watching, there were no worries that they weren’t cool enough, nor was anyone acting “too cool” and not willing to participate. It was pure uninhibited enjoyment, and I believe it all comes down to the camaraderie here at camp. It is so strong and so prevalent that each boy feels he can let go, be free, be himself. It is amazing!
Not everyone let’s go right away. It is sort of like watching how a bunch of kids jump in the lake for the first time…there are those who sit on the edge, just putting their toes in watching and waiting to find the courage to go in the rest of the way. Others start in the shallow end, and slowly but surely wade out toward the rope that splits the shallow end from the deep end. Maybe they float there for a bit calmly testing the waters, over each step letting go just a little bit. Still others just cannonball right into the deep end completely immersing themselves into the lake and that feeling of freedom! Freedom to be themselves and instantly let go!
I watch as those in the deep end seem to call to the others…”It feels great! It’s safe here! You are welcome to join us!” Everyday I watch as those in the shallow end quietly wade deeper and deeper. Those with their toes in the water, swim out just a bit farther then the day before, until suddenly they are all in, all Kawaga. They have tested the waters and know it is safe. It does feel great, and they feel comfortable that they are welcome to join everyone else. It all warms my heart.
It may sound weird that I can gauge how a camper is doing by the amount of cheering he does in the Mess Hall, but when I see a once homesick, timid or shy camper go from cheering from his seat (toes in the water)… to standing and cheering, not quite loudly, but cheering (shallow end)… to ultimately jumping, screaming, dancing and starting cheers, (Cannon ball) – I can just see that they have reached that point where he is all in!!
They have felt the camaraderie, and they know it is safe to be themselves, take risks and enjoy! This is another reason why I just love this camp.
Gotta run, I don’t want to miss a thing:)