“Be Nice”

i-WkJnpQK-LI love reading, and how a good book can transport you to another place and time, give you insight into different cultures, and open your mind to new ways of thinking. A good book can move you to make positive changes you did not think possible. To me, a good book gets a reaction. It effects the way we conduct ourselves and view the world.

I recently read such a book called Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It is a story about the life and challenges of a boy with a facial deformity. It is an inspiring, engaging and sometimes sad story that leaves you appreciating the power of courage and kindness. I was moved by the message given, by the school principle, during the graduation speech. “The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average – though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you have touched this year. That to me is the greatest measure of success”. The principle went on to quote J. M. Barrie from the book The Little White Bird, ”Shall we make a new rule of life…always try to be a little kinder than is necessary?’’

i-bB2WX6q-LIt’s a simple, yet important message, and a message that is reinforced on a daily basis at camp by the head of Girls Side, Rosie Bogard. Rosie finishes every morning lineup with these two words… “Be Nice”. It’s a morning reminder that stays with campers throughout the day. Acts of kindness are what “Fuzzies” at camp are all about. Ask any Iroquois Springs camper about Fuzzies and you will quickly learn that they are a very special part of camp.  Earning a Fuzzie at evening lineup is not related to winning a basketball game or coming in first at the swim meet, it’s about doing something nice for someone else or taking on a personal challenge and giving it your all. As it says on the Fuzzie, “I got a W.I.G (warm inner glow) at Iroquois Springs”, it’s about the positive feeling that comes from being thoughtful and helping to improve someone else’s day. It’s about sharing, being a good teammate, or just offering a hand. Earning a Fuzzie brings recognition and a well-deserved round of applause, but all acts of kindness, recognized or not, produce a warm inner glow, and that’s a pretty amazing feeling.