“Well, I don’t know the child that was returned to me on Saturday. It definitely wasn’t the child I dropped off two weeks earlier. The only logical explanation is that your camp is magic. Magic transformed my scared, sad, not always happy boy, into a confident, smiling, laughing young man.”
-Email from a Camp Parent
I have had such a great week, and a big reason for that has been the gift of positive words. Have you experienced lately the amazing power of positive words? Saying or sending words of praise or thanks can be incredibly powerful. I would love it if this post inspires you to say something nice to someone today.
The quote above arrived in my inbox on Monday from a mom whose son returned home from camp on Saturday. In-between loads of laundry and digging the dirt out from under her nine-year-old’s fingernails, she stopped to write us an email about his positive experience.
The ripple effect of her positive words are still being felt in camp and will continue to be throughout this year.
I printed out the email and attached a note for his counselor, who told me that the email (and my note) changed his perspective about what, in his mind, had been a difficult and challenging session. He felt incredibly happy at hearing the kind words of his camper’s parent.
Camp directors often primarily address the challenges of camp, so we sometimes get a warped perspective on what’s really happening day-to-day. We hear about the missing laundry item, the clogged toilet, the staff member with a sprained ankle, etc. Getting an email like the one we received on Monday really moves us. In fact, we got tears in our eyes while reading it. Our treasured camp moments almost always involve a positive interaction with a camper, parent, or staff member who has made some kind of break-through or transformation.
And then, today, while still riding high on the euphoria caused by the first email, we received another one, this time from a complete stranger who sat near our counselors at baseball games this week. She said, “I had the pleasure of sitting in front of several of your camp staff the last two nights. You should know that they represented the camp quite well. They were fun, energetic, entertaining and respectful. It was nice to be around a group of young adults who were not drinking, swearing, or obnoxiously on their phones the entire night. If I had children, I would want them to attend a camp with these counselors.”
Taking our staff to the baseball games is one way we thank them for their hard work. For some of our international staff, it’s their very first game and a fun introduction to American culture. As you can imagine, there is a lot of noise, excitement, and enthusiasm from our group. They are camp counselors, after all. Some people who prefer quieter fans (as opposed to singing, cheering, dancing ones) might not enjoy our counselor group much, but this kind woman clearly did. And she took the time to look up our camp name, find our email address, and write to us. Amazing.
Every day at camp, we read “WOWs” at our morning assembly. Campers and staff note kind, helpful, or brave things they’ve seen others do. We read a few WOWs aloud, and we deliver every WOW to the recipient to treasure forever. Positive words. They are so very powerful.
At our final campfire for Session 2 (last week), we challenged our campers to say one WOW a day for the year until they return to camp next summer. We did some math and estimated that if every staff person and camper said just one kind thing a day for the whole year, we would be sending out close to 500,000 positive thoughts!
Every kind word we say can change a person’s perspective, make a day brighter, and generally make someone feel amazing. I experienced it myself this week, and it was awesome.
Do you have someone you could WOW today? How about a quick text of thanks or praise to someone you love? I guarantee you’ll make their day better.
There are about a billion different ways you could have spent the last five minutes, and you spent them reading my post. Thank you! If you like Sunshine Parenting, please subscribe to get an email update each time I post (use box in right column). Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter for links to articles and ideas about camp and parenting. Have a happy day!