According to my google search, Spring arrived on March 19th which is a couple of days earlier than normal. After the winter we’ve been through, we’re due extra days of springtime! I know, I know we can still have inclement weather. You can probably count on it. Uncle Carter was fond of saying there will always be a cold snap around Easter. It was kind of eerie, because he was usually right! Of course, “around Easter” and “cold snap” gave Uncle Carter some leeway, but it was always easier to nod along than try to argue with him and the Farmer’s Almanac. 

This past week, it has actually felt like spring. Afternoons are warmer, grass is growing, and flowers are blooming! Driving through the countryside, I notice newborn lambs, kids, calves, kittens, and puppies. Simply stated, I love spring! 

Spring signals longer days, warmer weather, and birds returning. It also signals summer camp is right around the corner! Spring is a season for new beginnings, for first time campers, and new experiences for everyone. New experiences can be intimidating. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is an ingredient for apprehension. Google search synonyms for apprehension and one of the words you will find is fear. I feel more comfortable using a synonym for fear which tells me, I would rather skip around fear instead of dealing with it. 

Fear takes many forms at Camp Doublecreek. Monday mornings, we have campers who are afraid to get on the bus, afraid to find a new friend, and afraid to leave the comfort of mom and dad. A giant bus full of people you don’t know can definitely be a terrifying thing. Arriving at camp, elements of fear exist even in the mundane places. The common denominator is “new”. Have you tried this before? Swimming, horseback riding, climbing a rockwall, throwing a football, or even learning a new camp game. Fear conducts itself differently for everybody. You may feel your stomach tied in knots, feel sweaty (that may also just be the Texas heat), breath faster, heart racing, and many others. First time fears are not limited to only campers during summer camp. I’ve seen many counselors freeze in fear when called upon to perform at sing-song. 

How do you overcome fear? Empathy helps! Having someone who understands what you’re going through helps. It helps to have counselors who are there to help, and not judge. There is no such thing as a trivial fear. 

The phrase “we’re here to help” often sounds like a cliche because that’s said without conviction. We mean it! We offer support and encouragement because we won’t make campers do something they are afraid of doing, but we’ll be there to stand next to them while they decide if they want to try! I’ve heard the definition of bravery is “doing something you are afraid of doing”. Based on the number of campers we see smiling and running to the bus by the end of the week, or who ride a horse with the biggest smile, or swimming confidently from one end of the pool to the other, or even going down the zipline screaming with excitement.  I’d say we see LOTS of brave campers throughout the summer! 

We know that fear is out there, but we can assure those campers that we’ve been in your shoes and as our mission statement goes, “We believe in you!” 

-Joe Ray