It’s the time of year we turn back the clocks. As the last few colorful leaves cling on the trees, they await their perpetual fall to the forest floor, and here in the northern hemisphere, we prepare for the shorter, darker, colder days. The joys of summertime and summer camp start to become a distant memories but much like the leaves on the trees, we cling to these memories and experiences and they bring us such great joy.
We are reminded of this phenomenon every year when we set our clocks back an hour and brace ourselves for the long winter months. We are engrossed in our hectic lives of work and school routines and it is also a perfect time to reflect on the amazing experiences from summers’ past. I saw this poem and it inspired me to think about the double meaning of messing with time and turning back the clocks and how it relates to camp and personal growth:
Sometimes we have to
turn back the clock
to face our fears.
Search back through our memories
to find out how and when they began.
Look deep within our soul
for the answers that we seek.
Locate the source of our torment
to eradicate it complete.
Our fears began somewhere
and the only way to find out where and when
is to turn back the clock.
Summer camp provides an incredible outlet to our youth to face their fears both physically and socially and to try new things that they never would have tried back in the safety of their lives at home. The simple concept of creating our own community for seven weeks in Maine where we work, play, learn, sleep and eat together each day can be a source of fear and uncertainty for many of our new campers each summer at Camp Runoia.
Once we experience it, we realize the value and importance of what we have created and the lessons and personal growth that ensue. The bonds and the connectivity that we experience in our own “bubble” each summer is a hard concept to relate to unless you have experienced this on your own.
As the days get shorter and time has “changed” I would challenge you to ask yourself…if you could turn back time, what would you
have done differently? We all know that this is not possible, but the beauty of summer camp is that each summer, we all have the opportunity to start fresh and build off our experiences from the past summer. We can conquer our fears and take the experience to the next level. What is it like to live in a cabin away from home? What does it feel like to try the “Dragonfly” for the first time? How will I ever hike to the top of Mount Katahdin?
Runoia girls face these fears each summer head on. They are willing to try new things and go outside of their comfort zone. Once they accomplish the unknown, they have such a great sense of empowerment and accomplishment. Time is an incredible concept. It can be welcome, or it can be a burden, but most of all it allows us to experience new things, learn about ourselves and reflect to strengthen ourselves as individuals.