Be You!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A horse smiles for the camera at Gold Arrow Camp, a children's summer camp in California

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Be You!

It sounds like such a simple task. After all, aren’t we all just automatically ourselves?

But it’s actually not as simple as it seems. We all feel pressure to fulfill expectations, fit in, go with the flow, look and act a certain way, and do what everyone else is doing. 

Sometimes all of that pressure can lead to feelings that we’re not enough just the way we are. Confidence can be eroded when we feel like we’re falling short.

At GAC we believe in encouraging campers and staff to accept and celebrate our own and others’ strengths and unique traits. “Being You” is one of our core values, and many kids tell us that they feel freer to be themselves at camp than in other places. Campers and staff often report that they feel like they can “be themselves” at camp.

Each year, we pick a theme to help guide us through camp. This summer, even though we won’t be together at camp, we’ll be exploring and sharing about what it means to be our true, authentic selves.

We’ll encourage campers to explore what it means to be their “best selves” with questions like these:

  • What do I like best about myself?
  • What do I really enjoy doing?
  • What are my goals?
  • What do I dream of doing?
  • What are the personality quirks and strengths that make me special?
  • How can I be kinder to myself with my “self talk”?
  • How can I encourage and support my friends in being their authentic selves?
4 girls pose in their costume onesies.

When we spend time talking and thinking about the interests, traits, and strengths that make us who we are, we gain self-awareness, which is an important aspect of emotional intelligence and one that helps us be a better friend to others. Self-awareness also builds our confidence and ability to understand that we don’t need to be an expert or be perfect at everything. No one is!

When we support our friends by pointing out their strengths and the unique, cool things we like about them, we strengthen our friendships, too. 

This summer , not only will we be learning about how to be our best selves, we’ll be learning about how to help our friends be their best selves, too!

Our “Be You” theme for 2020 gives us the opportunity to take advantage of our extra time for reflection (because we’re all stuck at home) and reconnect with what makes us awesome just the way we are.

Check out Monkey and Soy’s formal announcement of our theme (back in January, before we knew we’d be stuck at home this summer), complete with many “b” based puns, enjoy this video:

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By: Audrey "Sunshine" Monke