Towering Pines Blog

Busy in a Good Way

Posted by on July 9, 2022

The end of last week marked the start of regular activities, a time when camp settles into a routine and is a good kind of busy. Campers were presented with the different options after having the opportunity to try the various instructional offerings earlier in the week, and after much thought, individuals decide on their first set of six activities.

This practice of having the boys select their own activities has long been a part of Towering Pines. We believe that getting to choose on their own, away from parents, is a really good experience. It’s empowering for them to make this decision, to make it based entirely on their own desires and interests. It might mean focusing on target sports and other land activities, or perhaps spending extra time at the waterfront sailing, skiing and canoeing. It might even mean taking a break from tennis because that’s a regular thing at home, and they want to try something new.

Parents are sometimes surprised to learn what their child selects; they may even wish their camper would branch out more or be inspired to try something different. Some of that variety happens on its own as they see what is available and hear others talking about their own activities.  Also, peers often encourage each other to do things together. This weekend all the campers will select a new set of activities.  Some may opt to continue with the activities they already have, but this second session gives them a chance to switch things up if they so desire.  The guys really appreciate this independence.

With the campers schedules set, they were off . . . off to shoot arrows, to create in crafts, and to spend time with the animals at zoo. They were exploring the bike trails and paddling the waters of Nokomis in canoes. They were swimming in the lake, kicking soccer balls on the field, making moorings after a sail, and scoring targets in riflery. They were busy!

I should add that despite this busyness, our regular daily schedule also includes several periods of “free time” when boys can just hang out. They can do quiet games, write letters, or close their eyes at Quiet Hour. They can also read on the benches, grab a tube and float with a buddy, or just sit and chat with a friend at a favorite spot in the shade during Free Swim. Here too, campers decide for themselves how to spend this free time. Unable to default to technology or passive entertainment, it’s interesting to see them being more creative and active than they might be otherwise. They have plenty of friends to do things with, so their “free time” might seem busy too.

Sundays are busy too, but it is a different kind of busy. We have a later start to the day and ease into the morning with a quiet reflection time during Vespers. The afternoons are planned by the CIT’s and include games that fit a particular theme. These are often things we normally don’t get to do during the other days of the week. This past Sunday was “Pirate Day” where campers enjoyed a water ballon toss, trolley walk, jousting, and other fun activities. The oldest campers were dressed in pirate costumes to play the part and kept us in line with the possibility of “walking the plank” as a cabin. Sundays are a great way to interact and enjoy being part of a group or team that could include cabin mates but might also include friends from other cabins too. It is a time to smile, laugh, and just enjoy being together!!

Yes, camp is busy, but it’s a great kind of busy. It’s self-directed and fun, filled with extraordinary opportunities to experience new things, and includes built-in companionship and support. It’s a “busy” that helps a fella grow.

**Adapted from a RBC blog**