Thankful Thoughts A message from Carissa

Dear Friends: If you are like me, starting with Thanksgiving and through the end of the year I spend time reflecting on the past year. Did I accomplish my goals? Am I in a better place professionally/personally? While this year may not be the year to reflect critically (it definitely hasn’t gone like anyone planned back in January), it has taught me several things:

1. Be happy where you are.

While we are constantly looking to better ourselves, we often forget to be happy with what we have accomplished and take a moment to stop looking for better. It is easy to lose sight of what you can be happy about, when you are always looking for more or better. While this was a trying year, and I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself not holding summer camp, I found joy in reflecting on all of the people I have met over the years. I’ve watched campers grow into adults, even seeing them one week a year I am so happy to watch them be happy and thriving. I’ve seen staff and AmeriCorps members grow into people who make a difference in their communities, through their careers, their families, or their volunteering. I am truly fortunate to be a part of so many lives, and appreciate they let me be.

2. Be kind.

When faced with a new global challenge, we all found we don’t know what we are doing. I know how to do camp. I had to learn how to do camp in a pandemic, and I definitely have lots more to learn. As we don’t know each other’s struggles – from family to finances to self-worth – it is best to assume that we are all doing what we can, and that may be at a different level than me. One of the greatest lessons I have learned and share with staff at camp when they may be frustrated with a co-counselor, is that we all are doing our best. While someone may look like they are slacking because you have more experience or skills, they may be doing the best they can…it just may be not your best. And that’s ok, that’s what makes the world the weird and wonderful place it is. We all are here to help each other along.

3. Be generous.

We don’t all have the financial means to make big donations to non-profits or buy our friends and family the things we would like, but we can be generous. Generous with our time and calling Grandma more often to check in. Generous with our talents and sharing crafts we made with loved ones, sewing masks for our communities, or adopting a cat in need of a home at the Humane Society shelter. Even being generous with our donations, while I may not be able to give the $1,000 donation to a non-profit I love on Giving Tuesday, I know that my $20 will be much appreciated.

4. Be you.

Paint. Hike. Run. Sing. Binge watch tv shows. Bake. Read. Write. Cry. None of us know what this life will bring, and we have watched people we know and love become sick and/or pass. Never regret being you and doing what you love.

An amazing team

I may not have accomplished all of the goals I set out for myself this year, but you know what? I am part of a truly amazing team who are dedicated to making camp possible. From Wayne and Terri who make sure things are safe at camp, to Alex and Jamie who make sure campers are registered and plan all of the programs. Nurse Jen, Sarah, and Dr. Cornell have guided us through the medical decisions we have to make. Anna supports our wonderful AmeriCorps members, while Hayley recruits our volunteers. James, Ren, and Emily take care of everything in the office from billing to reminder notices, and Cally writes the grants to keep us going. Stacey makes us look good, and Rachel is always looking for new funding source for us. Stevie is doing what she can to support the team from Australia, and Paul is always there to support our needs. I have cats to love, yarn to create with, and birds to feed…and that makes it a successful year.

In camp spirit,

Carissa

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