Our Bubbles

I haven’t posted since my first camp in Florida, so updates: I spent the past two weeks at the Christian Conference Center in Iowa and then at my beloved home camp, Tall Oaks Camp and Conference, in Linwood, Kansas. The Iowa camp was clearly so connected and has been built to be a camp of self reflection and deep connection with God and others. My home camp, Tall Oaks, was as beautiful and full of love as always.

However, in all honesty, I have read Jasmine and Sarah’s (the other interns) posts and have felt a little defeated in comparison. I very much feel like I’m not doing enough and that my role as a peace intern hasn’t been used to it’s full potential. Don’t get me wrong, the directors and fellow counselors at all my camps have been wonderful, inviting, and in full recognition of my role. However, in my interest group workshops, in which campers have the choice to sign up for other things that may not be so heavy or difficult to talk about, I feel that I’ve gotten to have very few conversations. One day I even had a workshop to do and no one signed up to attend it- which was pretty disappointing. I feel a bit overwhelmed by the tragedies of the world right now and then to feel like my small role as a conversation starter, educator, and peace advocate isn’t even really there- it feels a bit like I’m failing.

BUT I have to stop and remind myself of things like this: In my small group at Tall Oaks, we were doing an activity where we make a list of problems we think affect high schoolers today, around the world, not just in our own neighborhoods. I noted that the first time we went around the circle, each camper mentioned something they may see in themselves or their friends- mental health issues, bullying, loneliness, stress of school, stress of finding jobs- which are ALL really important issues. I stopped after each person had mentioned something and acknowledged the importance of these and then encouraged them to think outside their own circles to people who may experience different obstacles than we do. I started and mentioned high school kids we may not even realize are hungry or homeless. After that little push to think outside themselves and their groups of peers, the campers in my small group made a really amazing list and had some great conversation about high school age kids around the world– immigration, community violence, poverty. Then, I started to think about that it is much, much easier to think about ourselves and our close family and peers before thinking about “the other” and I wondered how people get to this point of contemplating the consequences of our actions on the people outside our circles if we are so focused on our little bubble of the world. I realized that for myself, it was probably a repetition of counselors, teachers, adults I looked up to, and then later on peers, pushing me to look beyond myself and into the world. Even though it doesn’t feel like much and it didn’t come with much resistance, a simple push to stretch our thinking beyond that small “bubble” of the world is a huge push toward wanting to learn about social justice.

That’s all for now. 5 more beautiful new camps to go to with lots of beautiful new people to meet and lots of bubble bursting to happen.

 

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