The beginning of fall seemed to disappear as quickly as leaves on the trees. Between keeping track of paperwork, reluctantly dragging thermals out of storage, trying to remember what felt like hundreds of new names every day, and finding a spare minute to fill up water bottles, we were too busy to realize something simple. We hadn’t been taking the best care of ourselves or each other. A busy life certainly isn’t an unhappy life, but we were also finding it challenging to find a moment in the day to stop, breathe, and take that extra step to check in.
But one chilly weekend, our cabins were suddenly stuffed with sleeping bags, the lodge was radiant with laughter, and our staff couldn’t walk a few steps without passing a flurry of smiling faces. The participants of Capital Care Inc.’s Point of Hope Camp – a program designed to provide extensive care to children who have experiences familial loss – had arrived.
The energy brought a new vibrancy to Hemlock, but watching the interactions between ‘little’ campers and their ‘bigs’ made it even more obvious that we’d been neglecting even the simple, everyday moments that show care.
Whether it was a reminder to grab a water bottle or the gentlest push of encouragement that would transform the entire weekend, the campers’ experience was made all the more precious from a consistent, inspirational support network. The care was so natural, so organic that we didn’t even notice when we started mimicking some of the language. Asking “how have you been doing?” or “what can I do to help you?” wasn’t a logistical afterthought; it was a priority.
Even the most experienced instructor can forget the basics, no matter how many times we’ll impress them upon our groups. As often as we throw our passion and energy into enhancing the campers’ experience, we sometimes forget to seek out moments for ourselves and one another beyond checking in for a minute at mealtimes. But the transformative effect from watching our core values play out in front of us couldn’t be ignored. We slowed down, we started asking more questions, revitalized our friendships and soon enough pairs of instructors were laughing alongside a big and their little. Program participants usually aren’t the only ones who benefit from our experiences here, but our moments with Capital Care couldn’t have come at a better time. As the weekend rolled to a close, we all felt a little stronger and a little more valued. Just a little extra cares goes a long, long way.