During an expert guest JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) training by Shola Jones at OAAARs, Shola asked us to think of five things we hope our campers get out of their experience at Runoia. We turned to a neighbor and shared, and then bounced around the room sharing for the whole group. Shola urged us to not only share the ‘what’ but also the ‘why’ of our choices.
One that came to mind for me was the hope that our campers (and staff) get to experience the feeling of happiness for others and excitement for the accomplishments of their peers. My ‘why’ was that I felt this was an indicator of a healthy, loving, and supportive community – a major part of who we are as a camp at Runoia.
Did you know that there’s a word for exactly this feeling? It’s ‘confelicity’ – meaning ‘delight in someone else’s happiness.’
Part of my job here at Runoia is taking some of our photos and sorting through them for our Camp in Touch portal and for social media. As I’ve filtered through our photos recently, I noticed something pretty amazing: example after example of confelicity at camp strewn across faces of both campers and staff members.
The camp environment and community gives us all a unique opportunity to flex and build our empathy and connection to others and their feelings. We balance celebrating our own successes with the celebration of others’ as we also balance coping with our own disappointments and supporting others during moments of their own. It is a strength to be proud of.
Feeling happiness in the face of others’ achievements and moments ‘in the light’ is not easy – especially when it means that it’s not your own moment to shine. But Runoia campers and staff know that a win for one of us is really a shining moment for our entire community. You need only witness a single ‘Bobos’ sung, an American Archer announcement at assembly, a night of birthday tables, a horse show ribbon ceremony, the welcome committee at the end of the Oak Island Swim, or the moment a camper stands on their skis for the first time to know this is true in the Runoia community.
As we close out this session, we are lucky to have proof of the strength of our community and the happiness for others that is exemplified here on a daily basis. Our returning campers and staff have shown our first-timers the ‘Runoia way’ and we see it carried on from year to year.
Gratitude toward all members of our community as we reflect on our time together in first session and get ready to welcome so many forever friends to be on Monday.