“….And that’s what kindness means to us”. These are words often heard at Camp Vega’s weekly Sunset Circle where campers share their thoughts on their chosen themes with the entire summer camp community. With annual World Kindness Day being celebrated on November 13th, we’re proud to share some ways kindness is spread everyday at camp.
A powerful way that kindness is both encouraged and recognized is through Golden Loon Awards a.k.a., GLAs. Here’s how it works: if you see someone doing something nice for someone else, or if someone does something nice or helpful for you, you can fill out a GLA Nomination Slip outside the Dining Hall. When campers or staff members receive three nominations, they are recognized and awarded a GLA bracelet at the next Sunset Circle.
GLAs spread kindness not only because they recognize and celebrate kindness, but also because writing nominations is a form of kindness in itself. Filling out a nomination is an intentional act of gratitude, which makes us happy and trains us to look for the positive in others while also reflecting on the Vega Values (empathy, gratitude, believe in yourself, unity, integrity).
In addition, we do our best to share the nomination forms with the recipients. This is quite a task given that there are quite literally thousands of nomination forms filled out each summer. The outpouring of goodness from our campers and staff is overwhelming and our nomination box is stuffed each and every day. In 2019, we recorded more than 1,900 GLA nomination forms!!
Kindness at camp comes in infinite forms, and we’ve seen GLA nominations for just about everything, from being a good listener, to sharing, to including others, to helping someone clean-up in a bunk, dining hall or activity, to helping campers resolve a problem. Here are a few simple examples of nominations that show that it’s the little acts of kindness that can make a big difference:
My friend helped me make my bed
My counselor waited for me to walk to the dining hall
I was having a bad day and my friend made me smile
My friend played jacks with me when I was feeling down
My friend helped me put away my laundry
My counselor read to me at lights out
Camp Vega becomes our home for the summer. While all the exciting activities and incredible beauty make it easy to have fun, everyone needs to give and receive kindness to truly feel at home.
On this week of World Kindness Day, let’s all try to put someone else’s needs before our own and also show gratitude for the kindness we see around us…and that’s what kindness means to us.