These days I spend my summers in an air-conditioned office. Though I do interesting work, I can find myself fantasizing about the summer scenes you’re involved in. You may be out in the summer heat–wilting–but, nonetheless enjoying the sight of campers, students, or athletes playing, laughing, learning, and reaping the benefits of your program or… you may be experiencing something less picturesque.
An article by psychologist Christopher Thurber in the American Camp Association’s Camping Magazine1 describes that aspect of your job:
“The hours are long, the environment is unfamiliar, the weather is unpredictable, the social maze is complex, and the kids are messy. Most campers will test your skill; some will stretch your patience; a few will get sick. On you.”
Your (& Your Staff’s) Need for Self-Care
Now that you’re deep into your summer programs, these realities may be wearing on you–or they soon will. If so, take a timeout, and reflect on these questions:
How well are you taking care of YOURSELF this summer?
If you’re a director, are you modeling self-care for your staff?
“Resilient adults can all think of at least one warm, reliable person who served as a defining caregiver and mentor,” Dr. Thurber says.
“To become that memorable caregiver has one fundamental prerequisite: taking care of yourself. If you are not well, you are no good to your kids.”
Stay Tuned for Self-Care Shorts
No, I’m not talking about summer cut-offs! I’m referring to the small doses of refreshing, quick-and-easy timeouts I’m preparing for you.
I know you’re uber busy! Even if self-care was part of your staff training, some reminders may be in order. So, for the next several weeks, I’ll be focusing on the theme “Be Well,” and posting short tips for practicing self-care for your own good — and the good of your campers.
In the meantime, you’re our thoughts!
Recommended Reading: “If I Could Do it Over: Self-Care at Camp” via CampNerd Blog.