Being Thankful for the Moments
On Thanksgiving, families and friends gather to enjoy a delicious meal with one another. Often times, meals start with everyone around the table sharing what they are thankful for. With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we have been pondering that question exactly. There is so much we are thankful for, but can we just say “camp” or “the Camp Chi Family?” After all that happens at camp, all the work our staff do, the support of our alumni, and the bravery and unwavering love of our campers, just saying “camp” doesn’t seem like it is nearly enough.
Of course, we are thankful for things like having the largest SIT class and PNW trip to date last summer, but that also seems to not be enough. After all, the SITs grew as individuals and as a group last summer, in an intense 8-weeks filled with placements, traditions, stargazing and volleyball. And everyone on PNW got to experience the outdoors like never before, traveling state to state (and province), hiking, adventuring, and enjoying the breathtaking views of nature, while also bonding as a group.
So, what are we thankful for this year? To answer that question, we must dive deep, and look past the specialties, the cabin times, the evening programs, the meals, and look at the moments that make it all up. We talk a lot about moments at Chi. Moments are what stick with us. We always tell campers to savor the moment, as they end before we realize they’ve begun. There are many moments that stand out from the past year, but what is great about moments is that they are unique to each one of us. A defining moment for one first-time camper may be totally different from another first timer. For some, the moment is when they get off the bus and run into the welcoming arms of their counselor, while for others it may be conquering their fear and going down the zipline.
As we reflect on this past year, there are some key moments we remember, and we are thankful for:
- Just last month, we built our first-ever Camp Chi Sukkah. The moment that stands out was not, as many think, seeing the finished product. Instead, seeing it filled with a bustling crowd of families enjoying snacks and making decorations during PJ Library weekend is what stands out to us.
- Try Chi is a very fast-paced 4 days. And as many campers are new to overnight camp at Try Chi, it can be scary. It is not uncommon to have tears during the first few hours, as everyone adjusts. This year was no different, so what was the moment that stood out. Many of those same campers were the ones begging their counselors to let them stay, and were again teary-eyed on the bus, not wanting to leave their new friends.
- At Winter Camp each year, we spend part of a day volunteering somewhere in the area. Last year we volunteered at a shelter, making heartwarming cards, cleaning toys, and helping organize everything there. The highlight that stood out to us- the following meal when campers were discussing how great they felt to do good.
- The SIT vs. Staff volleyball game is always a highlight of the summer. This year we saw the SITs make an incredible comeback to win the game. The defining moment though was not the victory? It was the celebration and camaraderie with both the SITs, Staff, and the campers after the game, as everyone converged on the volleyball court, hugged, high-fived, and congratulated one another and celebrated a great game.
While it is cliché, we ARE thankful for are staff who work so hard to deliver an unparalleled experience and go above and beyond for our campers, our alumni who continue to support Camp Chi years later, our camper’s families who choose Camp Chi and work with us to ensure success for each camper, and of course, our campers who make camp what it is and continue the legacy of Camp Chi. We could go on and on listing moments that we are thankful for, but we want you be the storytellers.
What are you thankful for this year? As you ponder on that we encourage you to think beyond the basic answer and really delve in. We encourage you to think about what you are thankful for, the moments that made your year, share them with one another, and then post them in the comments below. That way, you can share with both your family and our family, gathered both physically and virtually the moments you are thankful for this year – and that can be something we are all thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!