Lake Greeley Camp - Camp can make your life better

Related to our last post regarding time and how events and schedules today are so fast paced, we are constantly on the look out for what we could be doing differently, something to allow us to work faster, have more focus, do more with less time, etc. There are many key phrases that pique the interest of readers in the hopes that they will finally find that one thing that will allow them to reach their desired level of performance. Unfortunately, all too often, when we read these kinds of articles, we are easily let down for several reasons: we have already seen the material mentioned in another area, it’s a simple method that we think is so mundane that it will never work, or the method seems to take too much energy in order to put into place to be of any effect.

When related to performance, I believe, personally, that there is little that people can turn to outside of themselves in looking at improvements. But if that is the case, then why would I mention summer camps as a way to increase performance in life? I believe that summer camp fits into a different mold than the other articles or books that we read from time to time. Summer camp allows people to put those actions into place or adopt those states of mind more immediately and without hesitation. In essence, being at summer camp allows a person to get past inhibitions that they would otherwise have in more comfortable parts of their life. Changing how we do or approach something in order to be better forces us to change how we think about it. When we are in uncomfortable or in just different situations, our minds are more able to adopt new ways of thinking and behaving. We don’t have those same fallback habits that we normally would have while, say, at home. At summer camp, it heightens awareness in the mind to notice what you want to be doing differently instead of robotically doing the same old, same old.

Let’s look at some examples of how wanting to adopt some new habits that we believe would make us better at work, on the field, etc. and how they are applied at a summer camp setting:

A) Teamwork / Collaboration

Teamwork, getting along with others has become an essential skill in school and careers of all shapes and sizes. To put it bluntly, who would you rather want to work with: someone who seems aloof, doesn’t know you, doesn’t want to get to know you, and has nothing to share or offer to others, or someone who is actively engaged, looking you in the eye, listening to what you say, responding to it, and offering their idea to work with yours? Yeah, that’s not much of a contest, is it? However, in all seriousness, I would be much more interested in group projects when there are people like this in the group, and the ability to empathize, work with people, have great relationships with those around you is essential to having a positive impact in a school or corporate environment.

Taking this subject of teamwork and looking at it through the lens of summer camp, we see that there are many opportunities every day, pretty much every hour, to work with others in accomplishing a goal or win a game, etc. Let’s not forget about evening activities, also, where the object of many of the activities is to be 1st among the cabins to win a prize. Even cabin clean up in the morning is a time when responsibilities are divided and each camper has a task to perform for one common goal. The activities at summer camp provide everyone with the chance to improve their teamwork skills through constant practice in those activities, even if we are not specifically aware of that point. There is no need to set aside time in home life to develop this skill when it is already a part of normal everday life at summer camp.

B) Being more outgoing / Volunteering for things to experience new things

Trying new things and being open is garnering more and more attention as we move into an increasingly globalized world. Experiencing new cultures, languages, ways of life is said to make us more of a well-rounded individual, capable of having more viewpoints or perspectives to shape our own opinions differently. Maybe more of a baby step method to becoming more worldly is by volunteering for more local events, meeting new people around the neighborhood that you otherwise would never had seen and making new friends.

Related to camping, I would go so far to say that volunteering for things is a must for campers and even staff members in order to gain a fuller experience with their time at camp. This is one of those you get out what you put into it moments. There are numerous activities to volunteer for whether they are intercamp games with other camps, the theater productions, or just trying a new activity. These situations place people out of their comfort zones in an effort to learn something new and challenge themselves. For example, I myself had no experience with the theater program while at camp, yet as one of the last things I did was get involved with the plays. One particular play even happened to be a musical! If you’re going to do it, go for the gusto, right? After completing just one play, can you guess what I was thinking as soon as it finished? “I wish I had done this sooner.” Summer camp provides the perfect atmosphere where anyone is able to trying something different without the fear experienced or the effort needed as in normal schedules or home life.

C) Sticking to a schedule / Maintaining focus on activities for set time

One of the biggest topics that is discussed in work/productivity blogs is the ability to develop a schedule and to maintain it. We’ve discussed before how important time is, especially in a growing and busier world. What is the line between work and personal time, or is there even a line anymore? There have been many methods of time scheduling detailed such as the pomodoro method which states you are supposed to focus on a set task for a length of time, and then you have a break afterward, repeating this process as necessary. Adopting these methods can prove difficult and frustrating and sticking with them, even more so. These changes to your work style provide a challenge to getting your work done, but really, you just want to be able to do it, not go through all this extra effort being invested in some technique to help me do work that is already stressful enough. And so, we encounter resistance and difficulty, only to fall back to our old habits again.

Schedules in camping are obviously of utmost importance. It is the essential way to communicate with everyone at the camp without having to physically say to each and every person what is going to happen and when. We know when and where meals take place; we need to make sure that we are there for them. We know when activities are scheduled throughout the day; we need to be on time for when they start. The schedule at camp is all we know throughout our time there in regards to managing time, and that is precisely why it succeeds. The schedule allows for free form action, but it is also constrained enough where there is direction given at every point during the day. For example, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, we will have the first two periods of the day. What is happening during those periods is varied, but during that time there are periods going on. We know that people should be out and about at camp. It gives focus to action, albeit varied action.

There are many benefits to summer camp, and it is our hope that the people who come to summer camp are able to take those skills and lessons they have learned during the summer and apply them to their regular lives for the rest of the year. Those benefits come in many shapes. Some are more noticeable than others. But when you see yourself behaving getting a little more done, staying focused on tasks at hand, getting along with others better, and managing time throughout the day, all without having to really "think" about it, you’ll see that the skills you acquired at summer camp go deeper than dribbling a basketball or throwing a pitch. They’ve made you a better you.

As always, I hope you enjoyed the writing here even if it’s just to create some interest in what you can do better throughout your day. We’re all looking for ways to keep us on track and what can help, and maybe some ideas here will jumpstart you into action elsewhere. If you would like to see a topic discussed, just let me know at

By Matt Buynak Jr. (4/10/14)


SUMMER: 222 Greeley Lake Rd, Greeley, PA 18425 p. 570.685.7196
WINTER: P.O. Box 219, Moscow, PA 18444 p. 570.842.3739

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