It’s only day three here and when you look around it is the strangest feeling like we’ve been here for weeks already. The comfort you feel when you are here is unexplainable. Being at Chenny is like wearing the most comfortable pair of warm slippers you just slide right into and never want to take off. Friendships start fast and last long. I was in a girls bunk today at rest hour and was watching these connections develop right in front of my eyes. There were a few girls dancing, another group playing jacks, another circle of painting nails and a group sitting on one bed reading jokes to one another cracking up. It was the happiest place on earth in that moment. As I was sitting getting my hair braided by a very talented and sweet Inter girl, I was in awe of witnessing this moment. A group of girls living together, all very different but each adding something incredible to this melting pot of friendships. I thought how lucky they all are to experience this every day for the next seven weeks. There were new campers that were added to this bunk this summer and they were accepted into the group as if they had always been there. It was magic and my heart skipped a beat as I saw the best part of your children today. Acceptance, Inclusion and Kindness – They way it’s supposed to be for our children. The bugle rang letting us know that rest hour was over and it was onto the next but I didn’t want it to end. I could have sat in that bunk all day long watching your kids exchange ideas, laugh and giggle from their core and see how much they crave these connections. These girls I spent rest hour with were so happy and as they all ran out of the bunk, full of giggles and smiling faces it reminded me the power of this experience and how it changes every one of us.
There were so many sport tryouts today and our courts and fields were packed with kids giving it their all and most importantly having the time of their life. Sports at Chenny is unlike the experience at home for many. There is no pressure, no stress, no disappointed coaches, no cuts, no bad feelings, no feelings of self doubt, no initimidation and no nerves. There is an enormous amount of encouragement, support, lots of incredible training, insane amounts of fun and a feeling of why playing sports can and should be approached in this manner. I will never forget a few years back when a camper came to me and had tears in his eyes as he begged me to tell everyone at home who would listen how sports can be played without stress, fear and intimidation. You see, he is the star pitcher of his team back home but after his love for the game was being destroyed by the amount of stress that he was feeling, he wanted me to tell everyone how we played up here at camp. That he loved playing ball again because when he played, he was encouraged without stress and the game he loved so dearly was here for him. That same camper comes back each summer and you can find him on field with the biggest smile on his face. I watched him today as he was killing it at his tryouts and what was so impressive was that he was inspiring the new younger kids to have fun up here. I overheard him saying to a new camper, “You’ll love playing ball up here. The game will be fun, you will learn a lot and nobody will be disappointed when you get an error.” We can’t wait to watch these kids PLAY!!
For our Cherokee and Mohican campers it was an incredible night of BINGO… Prizes galore and so much fun. Pizza parties, ice cream socials and a few Beats head sets were given away. Our older kids had an optional evening activity. Some got into a great game of Wiffleball while others opted to hangout in the new canteen, playing card games, listening to music and just having a perfect summer night. We aren’t counting the days up here, we are making the days count!!!