Looking back. It's hard to believe it's the middle of September already. Where the heck does the time go? We returned from the road and had a little time for re-entry before diving in to a week of summer camp with a dozen amazing girls. We spent the week creating together, mostly taking cues from this great book: Just Us Girls by Cindy Ann Ganaden, which was chock full of fantastic ideas.
We started and ended each day with a short yoga class. This was a great way to give the girls some time to ease into the day, ground themselves and then reflect before going home. Each day Ruth focused the yoga practice on a Hindu goddess. We studied the qualities of Sarasvati, Durga, Sita, Lakshmi, and Kali - the feminine embodiments of grace, wisdom, strength, charm, prosperity, beauty, generosity, dedication, and courage. Ruth chose yoga poses to highlight these qualities and each morning session ended with a collaborative pose where the girls had to work together, either in pairs or as a whole group. The perfect way to start the day right!
Then we dove into our fabulous art projects. We purposely chose some complicated projects this year, and our campers rose to the challenge and went above and beyond. We were blown away by their curiosity, creativity, and collaboration. They brought us to their knees many times with their desire to help each other and to compliment and encourage each other during the process. They made their own travel watercolor kits, bows, arrows and quivers, gnomes and magical gnome houses, and goddess dolls. The girls wrote "winged" messages to strangers and to themselves. They made beautiful spools to hang on a tree in the park with secret messages for others to find and delight in. They hula hooped and played in the yard and played in the park. We had lunch together on the grass. We communed with nature and with each other for 6 hours a day. It was special, it always is.
There are many fantastic memories from our time together, but one of our favorite moments of the week came on day four, Thursday, at the end of the day. One of the girls was not going to be at camp on Friday as her family vacation was starting early. We asked the other girls to go around the room and to each tell her one positive thing they noticed about her during the week - to give her a compliment based on one of the traits of the Hindu goddesses we studied during yoga each morning. They each made such thoughtful choices. One by one they complimented her. And we were struck by the way she sat taller and listened carefully and after each compliment she simply looked the girls in the eye and said, "Thank you."
Sometimes as adult women we deflect, we wave away a compliment, we are embarrassed or somehow ashamed to receive positive words from someone else. We feel undeserving. This moment at camp was an incredible teaching moment for the teachers. How powerful to truly take in someone's words and give thanks for them? How well we can receive when we simply listen and accept the gift of someone else's perspective.
We give thanks for another incredible year of summer camp. For another group of girls who teach us while we are teaching them.
NLooking forward. As October fast approaches we are diving into cooler weather, our fall lineup, planting a perennial garden, and baking lots of banana bread. We have been focusing on our Type Rider in Schools program, mailing promotional postcards and trying to figure out how to best spread the word about our assemblies and school visits. We are plotting and planning and gearing up for 3 new Brave Girls with a Twist evenings (September 19, October 17, and November 14). Maya is preparing to teach a new Quick 'n' Dirty Poetry class - a 21-day power workout for writers (and it's online so you can take it even if you don't live in NJ!) And we are getting very excited about the three retreats where we will be teaching this fall: Whiskey & Whimsy in Lousville, Kentucky October 9 -12, Serendipity on the shores of the Outer Banks in North Carolina October 22-26, and Patti Digh's Life is a Verb Camp, a summer camp experience for adults in Hendersonville, North Carolina, November 6-9.
Thank goodness we don't have to let go of summer just yet!