Working at summer camp is like living in the midst of a glorified middle school. Everyone knows everyone else, their business, and it is clique-city. I am super guilty of this.
Granted, it's not that anyone is intentionally ignoring or excluding others, but I think that there are two reasons why we don't branch out.
1. We get caught in our own groups and comfort.
My friends are fun, creative, and hilarious. I have the time of my life when I'm with them. And everyone else feels the same way about their own group.
I remember sitting around my second summer having an awesome conversation with some other veteran staff members I'd never spoken to before. We lived in the same village for 10 weeks and worked in the same unit of 10 counselors my first summer, and I'd never had a non-work related conversation with either of them. Honestly, that's unacceptable.
After my time on summer staff ended, I started coming back as a sub. Then I only knew a few other veteran counselors, and most of them I didn't know that well. As I began to spend time with them those weeks, I couldn't help but be a little bummed I didn't take more time to get to know them while we were on staff together.
2. The second reason people can get "cliquey" is because we don't have the capacity to be that close and connected with every person that crosses our path.
There is no way I could have been best friends with every counselor at camp each summer. Or best friends with every DG or FOCUS missionary. But I could have made a better effort to get to know them and had a base relationship with them.
I've always envied people who have a gift of being very present to others. You know the kind of person that when they talk to you, you really feel like they are really interested and that you are the only person they care about in that moment. I love that these people are receptive and intentional in their every day life.
My shining moment of living this out was my second summer at Camp. I was a swing cabin (meaning I switched which age group I had throughout the summer), so I had more of a chance to plan activities with every cabin, leading to a chance to get to know each counselor.
Sure, I still spent most of my time with my close friends, but I really felt like I knew every female Lake Village counselor pretty well. I had such a joyful summer, and felt I could pretty much walk up to any other counselor and have a conversation with them.
The best part of that summer was that each counselor taught me something different. Each person had a story, each person had a unique beauty, and each person had a different passion for camp.
So as I'm thinking a lot about community this week, I'm trying to remember to step outside of myself and my comfort zone to remember that there's a little bit of good in everyone.