Take a moment to read this beautiful letter from our beloved camp Puppet Master, Christian Smith, reflecting on her time at Windy Acres Day Camp this summer.
It was an incredible experience this year. I just loved getting to know the kids at the camp, and felt such huge growth in my ability to connect with teens, with all of their wonderful ups and downs. It was just like my boat was able to float and bob above the sea of all that is going on in their oceans in a way that I at one time would have fought. My lesson of this year was to step aside and encourage and allow the kids to just be as they are, and take lead. This year, I learned to be a better sailor and leader.
I saw such a love of art itself at these camps. This year, the campers were such a bunch of artists waiting for permission and encouragement and safe space to go there. I feel very lucky to have had such an opportunity to address time management and perfectionism, emotional safety and positive self-talk and self-care for one’s self through our art. I saw that self care extended to whom several of the girls decided to gift their marionettes to. Without having a perceived safe home for them yet, they gave their precious art to the instructor who they had learned to trust during the week. This I saw as a positive decision in that they allowed themselves to put their hearts into their art, and then made a very wise choice of a safe place to entrust their gifts. The one girl who perhaps did not feel safe bringing her creation home, attempted to destroy it before leaving. I will make sure to talk to the older kids about protecting your art like you would yourself by leaving it with safe people next year. Good learning moment. I think the teens are needing this more than younger kids. If they need to leave a puppet behind at the farm to feel safe, they should be able to.
Every year is special. And every year, I walk away feeling like this was the best year yet. Love you and thank you so much for continuing to allow me to be a part of this wonderful “Enchanted Happy Realm”, as one camper called it in her story. Love to you and all you are!