At Dudley and Kiniya, we center our daily work on supporting each camper to find their inner strengths. The Camp experience pushes each person to build resilience for meeting challenges, to practice gratitude for all that we have, and to create the spark of imagination in service and love for the other fellow.
It is our humble goal to share the following thoughts in hopes they are supportive to you, dear parents. Rest assured that we will continue to add content and resources to this hub. This communication today is purely an introduction to the kind of support you can expect from us moving forward.
Perhaps our thoughts will spark conversations, activities, or even a family vesper as you create new rhythms, routines, and rituals together at home. And, a gentle reminder: Leave this right here if what is most needed is a break from any more sense of things one “should” do right now.
Thoughts on Grief
This remarkable time in our collective history presents challenges that fall especially hard on parents and caregivers of children. There is no easy way to grasp the depth of sorrow of those of you experiencing the loss of friends and family members to this pandemic. Our hearts and thoughts are with you; may the knowledge that you are important to this unique community and that we care deeply about you help as you navigate your grief. May your circle of friends—virtual as they are—be those who see you in your brokenness and wholeness and as a support to you and your children.
For all of us, these are highly abnormal and stressful times. Some of us are struggling to meet basic needs; some struggle to work in entirely new conditions while homeschooling children and caring for older loved ones. Upheavals and drastic changes leave us spinning with new demands on attention and energy. Compassion for oneself and those around us who are likely not at their best has never been in higher demand. When it comes to grief, there is no “right” way, no prescribed timeline, no immediate answers. May your process be one of patience, kindness, and gentle permission to heal in your own way. Despite distance or separation, remember to let others care for you all.
Thoughts on Resilience
Your camper is aware of the balance of freedom and responsibility that comes with exercising their independence at Camp. Consider asking them to recall specific ways that helped them take ownership of their experience at Dudley or Kiniya. How might these translate to their ownership of schoolwork, chores, entertainment, and support of others around them? Some attitudes, approaches, and messages from friends and Leaders may come to mind. You can remind them of the mindset that helps foster resilience…
“Today I did my best, and it was enough.”
”I did what I could, and tomorrow I will try again.”
One skill that may stand above all others at this moment is the ability to embrace imperfection. If you can, take a moment and acknowledge ways you may be holding judgment for yourself around all the demands that you face. Self-compassion and the resolution to try again tomorrow may be the absolute root of resilience. You are managing a tremendous amount in the best way that you can. And it is enough.
Thoughts on Gratitude
Gratitude expressed is a powerful thing. For those of you who haven’t heard it today, thank you. Your children are blessed to have you in their life, no matter the struggle. At Camp we work to think of “the Other Fellow” through acknowledgment of that which has been given to us. In doing this, we cultivate awareness of how interdependent we are, and how much others have given and impacted us. Letter writing is a big part of Camp. Consider writing letters of heartfelt gratitude with your children to those living outside of your homes. Be as specific as possible, describe what this person has done for you and how their behavior and actions have impacted you. Let them know what is happening in your own life, and how their presence comes to mind now. The hope is that it nourishes good feelings in both writer and reader, something that bolsters emotions in trying times.
Thoughts on Radical Support
Campers learn about radical support in Mimi’s Lodge and Witherbee Hall. “That was awesome!” chants, standing ovations, and extra-loud cheers for someone taking the stage for the first time are common to witness on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Your camper may need an invitation, but they have learned how to both entertain and appreciate others’ performances. Remind your children of the power of radical support: giving kudos to the effort, daring to be brave, and finding friends who love them for it. These are all skills that transfer to our lives under these circumstances. Might they be willing to entertain YOU, showing their ingenuity, humor, and imagination? Learn a new family game together, choreograph a dance tune, or videotape something to enjoy again and again. Let your kids name the game. Whatever shape it takes, may radical support and encouragement be at the center. May fun bless your family. Stay joyful together.
Here at Camp, we are keeping you all in our daily thoughts. May your families take some of the lessons from Camp to navigate these uncharted times. May compassion, gratitude, creativity and loving-kindness steady us all as we go. Know that what we all have committed to doing, we do for the safety of the other fellow. Give us a shout if you need to—and remember “to laugh and love and lift.”