Filling Buckets: Our 2019 Theme

This year’s summer theme, chosen to help guide campers to be the best versions of themselves, is “Filling Buckets.”

Our first summer theme was in 2012 when we chose the theme of gratitude. We followed that theme with kindness (Cool 2B Kind), relationship building (Creating Connections), helpfulness (Give a Hand), grit (Growing Grit), positivity (The Energy Bus), and 2018’s focus on friendship (Find-a-Friend).

One thing that makes life at camp special is that we live in a community where our shared experience is full of face-to-face, positive interactions with each other.  At camp, we are shielded from input and news from life outside of GAC and we take a break from the pressures of social media. This unique setting provides us the privilege and responsibility of maintaining our own positive and encouraging atmosphere.

Writing encouraging notes, or “WOWs” to each other is one of our “bucket filling” GAC traditions.

Every interaction we have with another person is an opportunity to have a positive, negative, or neutral impact. It is easy to be too self-focused and worry about our own agenda and needs. Encouraging others and actively seeking opportunities to have a positive impact are noble challenges we are excited to embrace in our community.

Tom Rath and Donald Clifton of Gallup Strengthsfinders introduced “The Theory of the Bucket and the Dipper” in their bestselling 2004 book, How Full is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life.

From How Full is Your Bucket? by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton

Carol McCloud’s 2015 children’s book Have You Filled A Bucket Today? presents Rath and Clifton’s concept in a simplified version and is our inspiration for this year’s theme.

Here are some of the 2019 GAC staff reading Have You Filled a Bucket Today?:

We’re thrilled to make our GAC community stronger by helping campers understand that encouragement makes others feel valued. Together, we will experience the joy that comes from making others our focus.There are many opportunities at camp to fill other people’s buckets through kindness and encouragement. Filling Buckets means using our words and actions to show how much we care:

  • Sharing a heartfelt smile
  • Greeting each other by name
  • Helping others without being asked
  • Giving sincere compliments
  • Recognizing others for bravery and achievements
  • Encouraging others when they succeed and also when they’re struggling
  • Elevating the needs of others above our own
  • Seeking opportunities to have a positive impact on others

Filling Buckets builds on the work we’ve done in the areas of positivity, friendship, and kindness. The friendships we forge at camp are special for many reasons, and we know that keeping the focus on lifting each other up will add depth and richness to our connections. It is our sincere hope that 2019’s GAC campers will take this theme home and continue to make positive changes in their communities by being kind and encouraging with everyone they encounter. Everyone deserves a full bucket!


2019 Theme: Filling Buckets

How Full is Your Bucket, Tom Rath & Donald Clifton

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? Carol McCloud

The Theory of the Dipper and the Bucket


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