One of the things that is special at camp is the way people put effort into recognizing each other’s accomplishments. There are high fives, congratulatory hugs, and many other ways we build each other up. My favorite way we recognize each other is by writing what we call “WOWs”. 


At camp, we have a giant supply of WOW pads, which are available for both campers and staff to use. A WOW pad is a pad of WOW notes. WOW notes are a simple form. When someone, anyone,does something that you appreciate, you can write them a WOW. On the way into the dining porch, there’s a bulletin board that we have dedicated to posting WOWs. It is such a wonderful feeling for campers to look at the board while they’re heading to a meal and to see a heartfelt note recognizing them! It really makes your day to see your name on a handwritten, heartfelt expression of gratitude or congratulations


The note may be a recognition of a major accomplishment (“Way to go Megan, you got up on the wakeboard after 3 years of trying!”), congratulations for an act of kindness (“John, I really appreciated you letting borrow my towel at kayaking when I forgot mine.”), or a note of appreciation (“Bean, thank you for being my friend.”). They are a wonderful way for campers to practice recognizing others and to get recognized for the good that they do on a daily basis.


Every morning at camp, after breakfast, our Awesomeness Coordinator Cheerio takes that day’s WOWs off of the board and reads some selected WOWs at Morning Assembly. For every WOW that is hung on the board, we add “spirit eggs” to our spirit thermometer. It’s a really nice way to let all of camp see how many WOWs are being written.


Why are we sharing all about WOWs? We think that WOWs are a fun part of camp, and we like sharing the fun parts of camp. But more importantly, we’re sharing how we do WOWs because we’re sending some WOWs to you so that you can get into the WOW fun at home!


This year, in lieu of a traditional holiday greeting from the Gold Arrow staff, we’re sending you a special set of WOWs to use at home. We’re encouraging you to have WOWs at home like we have WOWs at camp. Each camper will receive a “Friends and Family” WOW pad. It has a magnet on the back so that you can hang it somewhere in your house (perhaps you have an appliance in the kitchen that you could stick it to) and everyone can get in on the action.


We’d love to see the WOWs you give around your house! Send us pictures of your family’s posted WOWs. Post them to social media and tag us (@goldarrowcamp) or use the hashtag #GACWOW. If you want, you can email them to us ( and we’ll share them!

To get you in the mood, here is a WOW for you: