I spent many years as a camp counsellor and those summers were some of the very best that I can recall. I absolutely loved the kids, the antics, the outdoors and, especially, the sing-a-longs.
As a coach and corporate workshop facilitator, I lean into my camp skills almost daily. The confidence I feel at the front of the room, in a group of eight or eighty or one hundred and eighty, can be traced directly back to my camp days.
One of the most important skills I learned at camp was the critical skill of keeping a group of children calm in an emergency. And the way we did it was to launch into a sing-a-long and just keep singing. Children have an amazing sixth sense. It is not as if we were ever fooling them into believing all was well, we were just modelling the skill of remaining calm under pressure. And, for those of you who know children, they look to us to decide how they will respond.
And, today, those skills came in handy on the ski hill.
Today was one of those beautiful, sunny March days and the skiing was fabulous. We were skiing as a big group of five adults and seven kids and were having an absolute blast. At about 11:00 this morning, my sister-in-law and my nephew had a nasty collision on the hill. Fortunately, my nephew was fine but my sister-in-law sustained some painful injuries.
The collision occurred behind all the kids so they were not aware of what had happened. We decided to head into the lodge for a hot chocolate to await news. And as news started to trickle in, I realized that we needed to keep the kids as calm as possible, particularly my niece whose mother was still up on the ski hill with the ski patrol.
I didn’t really see the need to burst into song in the middle of the ski lodge but I didn’t really need to. Knowing that my sister-in-law would be requiring stitches on her lip, I decided to regale the kids with my own stitches story and they gathered around me absolutely fascinated.
The kids were entertained and laughing and we left the lodge with seven smiling kids. And as we did, I sent up a big thank you for everything I learned all those years ago while I was having so much fun at summer camp.