Living in the Moment at Camp
“Living in the moment.” It’s a popular expression that comes to mind when we feel overwhelmed and distracted by our fast-paced lives. It’s the idea of being present without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future and giving our full attention to the here and now.
If you are like most people, staying focused in the moment can be quite challenging. No matter how much we try to be present, ruminating on the past and worrying about the future distracts us from what we are doing. Our minds easily wander to the list of errands to run, carpools to drive, work deadlines to meet, and constant notifications and reminders that come through our cell phones, making it close to impossible to live in the moment. And it’s not only adults that are challenged to stay present. Kids today have full schedules of school work, extracurricular activities, social events, responsibilities at home, and constant distractions from numerous social media platforms that make it hard to focus.
Living in the moment has its benefits and can help us live life more fully. Being present keeps us grounded, and connected to others, reduces stress, increases gratitude, and improves one’s ability to cope with negative emotions. Focusing on the present makes us better listeners and boosts our self-awareness. Studies have shown that being present in the moment can also improve psychological well-being and increases life satisfaction. It’s the key to staying happy and healthy.
The practice of being present-minded and the summer camp experience go hand in hand. Children who attend overnight summer camp are given the increasingly rare and valuable opportunity to stay present. Campers enjoy activities, events, and challenges with focus and mindfulness, where they can stay in the moment instead of worrying about what’s coming next. The stressors of the past school year are left behind, and campers can unplug and treasure camp life. Campers are fully engaged because they are not distracted by their phones and other technology. It’s easy to build genuine relationships with people when everyone is available and present. Campers appreciate having here-and-now moments, enjoying meals together, spending time in the great outdoors, singing camp songs, and getting completely absorbed in camp activities. The camp day does not lend itself to mind wandering on worries, anxieties, and regrets. With the absence of having to document every moment with selfies, Snapchats, and Instagram posts, campers can enjoy their experiences surrounded by friends. The wonderful and much-needed reprieve from technology and the hectic school year schedule is what makes the Iroquois Springs experience so special and so present.
Though it may be difficult, whenever possible, put the past behind, try not to worry about what’s to come, and simply enjoy the moment. Living in the present doesn’t mean ignoring the past or future but having a healthy balance. Do like we do at camp… play more, sing whenever you feel like it, laugh, engage, create, be spontaneous, have fun with friends, and pay attention to the here and now.