Towering Pines Blog

Camp Kindness Throughout the Year

When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world. -Harold Kushner

With the holiday season upon us, it seems like a perfect time to reinforce the importance of choosing “kindness” as a way to help bring peace and harmony to our world.  This year in particular has brought many unique challenges to all of us that has tested our resolve in almost every area of life.  Layers of complexity have been added to completing daily tasks and making even the simplest of decisions extremely complicated.

However, through all of this, something extraordinary has also happened.  Families are spending more time together.  Neighbors are helping neighbors to assure they are well taken care of in times of need.  Friends are finding unique ways to connect and communicate to continue to share moments and memories together.  Kindness is abounding in very special and uncommon ways.

One of the things that Towering Pines participates in during the summer is #CampKindnessDay #KindnessEvolution. We join camps across the country to intentionally focus our programming around kindness.  Acts of kindness occur every day at camp, and the best part is that campers take that spirit of kindness with them out into the world and spread it around. Kindness in the camp community is visible in every smile, every word of appreciation, and in countless acts of empathy and friendship. It happens every day, but just as we take time on that particular summer day, we also would like to remind our camp community of the amazing impact kindness can have TODAY.  We hope to fuel a positive cultural shift to more fully incorporate the practice of intentional kindness and care into every aspect of our society.

To kick off #CampKindness, Towering Pines uses the theme of “empathy” for vespers on that Sunday. Taking a look back Cabin 7 shared their reflections with us on empathy in the Summer of 2019. Their main message is that empathy is “truly trying to walk in someone else’s shoes.”  One of the Cabin 7 counselors summarized empathy in a simple yet powerful way, “caring for other people’s feelings and others caring for your feelings.”  We hope that these lessons will encourage our entire camp to live the message of spreading kindness while we are at camp and taking it with us into the world wherever we go.

Here are some ways that campers FEEL kindness from others while at Towering Pines (These are excerpts from interviews with campers in the Summer of 2019):

  • People try to get to know me and become my friend when I don’t know anyone
  • People accept me at camp in ways that I don’t feel accepted at school
  • Encourage me to try new things and help teach me when I don’t know how to do something
  • Teach me about nature
  • Say it’s “ok” when I make a mistake or don’t know how to do something
  • Check on me when I am sad
  • Cabin mates help each other with cabin clean-up

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou

Here are some ways that campers SHOW kindness towards others:

  • I teach other campers the rules so that they are safe and don’t get hurt
  • We are trying to use good sportsmanship with each other
  • I try to use my manners when we are together like saying please, thank you and you’re welcome
  • I am very willing to share my things with other campers
  • I help other people in the cabin with their jobs
  • I try to include other people in games and activities so they don’t feel left out

The TP Challenge today is for our campers, counselors, staff, and camp families to continue to spread KINDNESS in your corner of the world.  Even the smallest act of kindness can have a HUGE impact that causes a “ripple effect” which is exponential.  We look forward to sharing kindness within our camp community in person because “Here Comes the Sun in 2021!!”

A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. -Amelia Earhart

Angie Wenzl Ziller

  • Camp Mom at TP
  • Leadership Staff at TP/Office Manager
  • Marketing TP/Woodland
  • Assistant Waterfront Director at Woodland
  • Counselor at Woodland
  • “This is goodnight and not goodbye.”

(Thank you to the American Camping Association, Kim Aycock/Camp Woodland and to TP campers for sharing their thoughts.)