All summers are memorable for their own reasons. They each bring a unique set of experiences and stories that are held sacred by the community members in those groups. For summer 2021, this especially holds true! Most everything about this past summer was new in some way shape or form, and it is absolutely one we are going to cherish memories from for a long time. We hope that the community of campers and staff are able to reflect back on the summer with fondness of the memories they created with one another. There is a lot we took away from the summer that we will keep near our hearts and minds as we move forward to 2022. Here are a few things that have climbed to the top of that list:
- Resilience: Remember that time during the first session when a microburst happened right over Pearly Pond, closing entrances to camp and knocking out power across campus? We do too! What we remember most though is how resilient the entire community was through such a disruptive event. Teens, when you face challenges this coming school year, remember how you navigated that and other challenges at camp successfully.
- Stepping Up: When given new responsibilities and freedoms, Beyond Akeela teens stepped up. Whether it was taking on a leadership role in a D&D campaign or community service group, or managing their laundry for the first time, Beyond Akeela teens took those on as growth opportunities. As a leadership team, we opened the door this summer for teens to take more responsibility and ownership over their experience, and they absolutely stepped up to the challenge!
- Community: You’ve probably noticed we use this word a lot. There’s intentionality to it. We were amazed this year that after we doubled the size of camp, there was still the same sense of community teens and staff love. That is all a credit to the teens from last summer. Everyone came from different walks of life, yet remained excited about getting to know a new group of friends. Each camper helped create a warm and welcoming environment for their peers, which is what makes Beyond Akeela so great! We hope teens will reflect back on what helped make this summer’s community so special and find ways to recreate it at home and school.
- Trying Something New: For virtually everyone at camp this summer, camper or staff, Beyond Akeela was a new experience for them. We also heard so many stories about teens trying new things at camp, whether it was new foods, performing in front of others, joining dance parties with people they met an hour before, and so many more. Taking these risks is what camp is all about, and where real personal development happens. What’s something new you’re going to try this year?
Everyone played a role in creating these points of reflection for us. While camp is only a three week experience together, there are so many moments that challenge everyone in the community to grow in ways that are unique to themselves. Like we have, we hope you’ll take some time to reflect on what camp meant to your family this year, and how the experience will create opportunities for growth in the current school year.
Kevin & Kristin