By Rev. David Berkey, Executive Director
The number-one answer to, “How do you feel about your week of camp?” “It was FUN!”
Parents rank “FUN” second only to safety in describing what they look for in a summer camp.
We want everyone to have fun at camp, but there’s so much more to it than just making sure everyone plays games and goes swimming.
In her recent book, The Power of Fun, Catherine Price writes that “True Fun” is the “feeling of being fully present and engaged, free from self-criticism and judgment. It is the thrill of losing ourselves in what we’re doing and not caring about the outcome. It is laughter. It is playful rebellion. It is euphoric connection. It is the bliss that comes from letting go. When we are truly having fun, we are not lonely. We are not anxious or stressed. We are not consumed by self-doubt or existential malaise. There is a reason that our moments of True Fun stand out in our memories: True Fun makes us feel alive.”
Fun, as Price describes it, is a powerful antidote for the challenges of today’s world.
I can’t think of a better definition of camp. Fun is camp. Camp is fun! And fun, as Price describes it, is a powerful antidote for the challenges of today’s world. At camp we provide opportunities for letting go, being real, doing the silly (like “messy night”, belly flops in the pool or dumb jokes in the cabin) and sharing these things together — multiplying the fun and its effect.
In his book about fun, behavioral psychologist Mike Rucker writes: “Fun isn’t ‘extra,’ it’s an act of radical self-care. Fun is less ‘think ‘ and more ‘do.’ It’s demonstrable, observable, real and immediately within our grasp. Are you drawn to, finding pleasure in and engaged with an activity? That’s fun.”
The word “fun” doesn’t appear in the Bible but the word “joy” shows up 269 times. One of the fruits of the Spirit we learned this summer was JOY. Jesus said, “I have said these things to you so that my JOY may be in you and that your JOY may be complete.” (John 15:11)
Whether it be summer camp, family camp, or a retreat time with friends, fun is definitely on the agenda. Let’s go have some fun so that our JOY may be complete!