And with those few words bellowed by Gregg, hundreds of Elmwood campers and staff respond in unison, “I know a place that’s cool as can be. It’s a great place to be me. When you go there you feel like a champ. And its name is Elmwood Day Camp.” If I could bottle EWD’s spirit, I would do it in a heartbeat. On rainy days, on lonely days, on days when I need a little pick me up, I would open that bottle filled with love, warmth, and positive energy. Elmwood’s weekly All Camp meetings are where that spirit is the most palpable.
On Mondays and Thursdays, we start the day together as one community – Stepping Stones campers, Lower Village campers, Upper Village campers, counselors and specialists. Whether at the Drama Deck or in the front of camp, at these meetings we sing EWD oldies, celebrate birthdays, watch original plays inspired by Special Event themes, acknowledge staff, share information about upcoming events, and are led by Anne and Jessica in new Elmwood songs. Young campers watch their older counterparts, envisioning themselves growing with Elmwood, and staff marvel at how their campers have evolved from year to year.
Being part of an engaging community gives us a sense of belonging. Dr. Craig Sawchuk, a Mayo Clinic psychologist speaks to how socializing is good for your mind and body, “We are social animals by nature, so we tend to function better when we’re in a community and being around others.” He believes that spending time with other people increases your sense of happiness and well-being, and may even help you live longer!
Each and every person at EWD is important and adds something unique to camp as a whole. At the same time, we recognize and embrace the power that comes with bringing everyone together. Looking out at a sea of campers and staff all committed to creating a positive space and eight weeks of sheer joy is simply the best. Mark Nepo, author of More Together Than Alone, explored the concept of community stating, “Community is that authentic ground of relationship by which we discover that we’re more together than alone.”
Simultaneously energizing and grounding, humorous and heartfelt, Elmwood’s All Camp meetings provide our community the opportunity to connect with one another and feel the power of coming together as human beings.