We can all agree that the world needs more kindness today. Our families, places of learning, work, worship, and community all focus on this fundamental truth: we are all participants and recipients in the circle of kindness of the world around us. We know that when we are kind to others, we are rewarded a thousand fold. But we are not naive: we know there are influences in our society today that directly challenge our innate human desire to be kind: competition, pressures to achieve success no matter the cost, social media, peer pressure, differing viewpoints, and more. Our campers are not immune to our society’s conflicting messages, but at camp, we have the opportunity to intentionally spread kindness through our daily actions.
At ALC we celebrate kindness! We are a community that cherishes and recognizes acts of kindness. At Logs on Sunday nights, campers and counselors may pause to publicly appreciate someone in the community who has gone out of their way to be kind or helpful. Our returning campers are all paired with “Camp Sisters” (first year campers) who they will shepherd, encourage, and help to successfully transition to camp life. Our CTs work to share the ethos of service at ALC through their program of leadership, mentorship, and assistance to the entire camp community. The women and men on our staff also serve as role models of kindness to our campers and to one another. They work enthusiastically as they guide and lead campers to be kind in all their interactions with others. Of course, none of us are perfect, and an important part of the growth that takes place in camp is helping one another recognize those moments in which we have been less than kind. Campers and counselors alike learn that when we make a mistake, one of the kindest things we can do is to go back and try again. This opportunity for growth is crucial as we all continue to learn how to be kinder and more thoughtful people.
Camp gives us the time to intentionally help one another, whether it is helping a tentmate learn to make her bed the ALC way, or cheering her on as she learns to dive into the lake. These small moments happen throughout camp each day, creating opportunities to live kindness in our small camp community.
Kindness is fundamental to our ALC summers. Our community is built on this basic but important principle. ALC is a kind community. Each and every member of our community will be treated with kindness and they are expected to share this kindness with others. This can be the foundation of friendship, trust, and the ability to forgive. With our emphasis on kindness, forgiveness, empathy, and trust, we have the best opportunity to create a magical community of comfort, acceptance, and self-confidence. This is what makes ALC a special place, and a home away from home for so many generations of new and returning Alford Lakers.