4 things I learned at Summer Camp

  1. Being nervous shouldn’t stop you.

I’m that undercover introvert. “Extroverted introvert” some call us. If you know me because of my professional life, you’d think I was lying. I’ve been forced or strongly guided into doing extrovert things when everything inside of me screams “No! No! No!” As a result, I’ve learned some extrovert skills. To all of you extroverts, you DO have some great things going for you!

I was an athlete growing up. I LOVE team sports and LOVE teamwork (except group projects in college because well, there's always that person who's NOT a team player and doesn't even care about what you’re doing so…yeah, not group projects.)  My parents would always suggest and encourage me to sign up for summer sports camps. I knew I’d have some friends going so it made the idea a little bit more tolerable. The idea of leaving town, staying in a dorm, host home, or wherever they’d house us with a bunch of strangers made my stomach do flips. I’d been to camps my whole life, but no matter how many I had gone to, it still made me SO nervous. “YES!” said all of the introverts!

As an adult, there are still things that make me nervous and uncomfortable every single time. BUT, they are worth it! Pushing through the nerves to the other side (where the girls were no longer strangers; we knew each other’s names, and it was actually fun) was so worth it!  Which leads me to the 2nd thing I learned from summer camp.

  1. Doing scary things does not usually kill you.

Obviously, jumping off cliffs, out of planes, diving into sea caves; those scary things could all kill you. Fear and nerves are actually a GOOD thing. They are meant to give us warnings so that we proceed with caution when needed. But, notice I did say that with some things, regardless of fear, we SHOULD actually proceed. Doing scary things doesn’t kill you! In fact, every time I went to a camp, I was so glad I had gone. The first day was always the worst until the last day came and we didn’t want to leave! There was something about getting around other girls who were also looking to improve their skills, increase their game, and stoke their passions. Oh, that’s lesson number 3.

  1. Surrounding yourself with people who are intentionally improving makes you better.

My summer camps were usually sports related. I didn’t do the ones that were just for fun. We were there to improve and get better. That is certainly something I’ve taken into my adult life. Getting around other people who have similar passions, drive, and desire for improving learning and growing ALWAYS makes me better. Not just sometimes, ALL of the time. In fact, I try to have conversations with those kinds of people multiple times a week. I look forward to them. I miss them if I haven’t had one and I might say my soul craves to be sharpened by someone else.

  1. Working hard is always better when mixed with playing hard.

Every camp would not be complete without team building games, silly songs, and crazy competitions. We’d skill and drill by day and slay that play by night. I tend to lean toward the skill and drill, the work hard side of life. But, one thing that has shifted in my life in the last five years is something I learned at camp 25 years ago!  Working hard is always better and more effective when it's partnered with playing hard. Planning fun into the mix is crucial. Joy is GREAT fuel for productivity. If we don't take the time to remove ourselves from the workload (even if we find joy in that), it's easy to miss the joy found in simple things, moments, and in shared experiences with the people we love. Joy, play, fun, and gratitude often require intentionality and a "training" of sorts to see the world through a different lens. I have found that I am better at my work when I’ve taken time to disconnect and just enjoy life, enjoy moments, enjoy being. I find more joy in the mundane when I find pleasure in meaningful moments.


Which of these “summer camp lessons” stood out as an area you could learn or re-learn? I’m sure none of these are brand new concepts, but isn’t it amazing how fast we forget to practice them? We sure like being comfortable and certain about things to come, which leads to a very predictable pattern. Not that predictable is all bad, but it often leads to going through the motions all while missing the greatest aspects of life. Going through motion dims our emotion of joy. How could you step into a “summer camp lesson” so that you can live more wholeheartedly this week?

about the author...Jamie, wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of 4 boys, has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. "Fuel the body, mobilize the soul" is her mission. Connect with Jamie on Facebook www.facebook.com/jamiebeeson1 or online at bit.ly/JamieBeeson

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s April 2018 issue.

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