Winter Camp 2013! Happy New Year 2014!

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Winter Camp was snowy for sure! Sometimes we felt we were in a giant snow globe. We got one of our biggest groups yet! We bundled up, went out sledding, played games around the fireplaces, enjoyed warm meals together, and celebrated the New Year!

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Long time camper, Jenn Ritter, a previous Leadership Trainee (LT), who made it all the way out from Illinois, around Principia College area, had this to say! 

CLC Blog Winter Camp 2013-14 Jenn Ritter

Camp has always been my home and the place I feel most comfortable with others and myself. Ever since I attended family camp when I was younger I can’t get enough of camp. This next summer will be my 8th summer at CLC and hopefully I will be spending it as a CIT.

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From what I remember Family Camp being like, Winter Camp was fairly similar. It was laid back, but there were a variety of activities that were always going on. Something exciting was always happening, although if you’d rather just curl up by the fireplace in the lodge that was always an option.

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Winter camp was definitely different than the regular sessions in the summer since there were no council fires or overnights in the woods. However, we still did many of the classic camp activities such as a barn dance, walks around the lake, a talent show, playing clan games, making s’mores, and even jumping in the lake for the polar bear plunge. I was even able to stay in the building Nosoni with a few other girls who had also come without their families which made it feel even more like camp in the summer. There were also many activities we did at winter camp that we aren’t able to do during the summer, like making gingerbread houses and sledding down the ski slopes.

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On the morning before everyone left winter camp, we discussed what we were grateful for from this past year and our goals for the new year. While sitting in the dining hall in a moment of silence before we shared, I realized how much I have to be grateful for from 2013. This past year has been filled with significant growth for me and I am sure other people feel the same.

My New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to be happier. I wanted to recognize this happiness and notice when moments made me happy. Every time something made my day I would write it down on a slip of paper and put it in a jar on my desk. I continued this throughout last year, consistently writing down moments that I was grateful to experience. Some of the papers were simply compliments or silly jokes that people had said to me, but many of them were heartfelt actions that had been done towards me or that I had witnessed.

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Writing down these instances has helped me recognize these moments of happiness that are in all of our lives. God is constantly sending gifts to us and it is our job to receive and open these gifts. Whether we are at camp, school, home, or traveling, there is always good around us and reasons to be happy.

I encourage you all to recognize moments that cause you to be happy in your life. I am not saying that you need to write down everything that happens to you every day; that’s just what works for me.  But I do think it is important for us all to be grateful for the good in our lives from this past year, and to be grateful for all of the good that we will experience in 2014.

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Many of the slips of paper in my jar are from my time at CLC this summer or at winter camp. As soon as I step out of the car when I arrive at CLC, I am instantly happy. I am sure this has to do with the love and joy that are always apparent at CLC. While I have faced many challenges at camp that are never easy, these experiences are always filled with growth and bring me happiness because of the people I am working with.

Whether I am canoeing and portaging through mud that is several feet deep in the summer, or freezing after jumping in the lake for the polar plunge, someone has always been there to support me at CLC by helping me carry my canoe or hand me a warm towel. These actions show the love that is constantly expressed by everyone at CLC that has caused it to become a home to me.

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When leaving winter camp this past week, someone said to me “this isn’t ‘goodbye, it’s more of a ‘see you later.’” This was comforting to me since we will all be back at camp this summer before we know it, whether physically or just in spirit. Everyone who has been to CLC has helped it be the place we all value and love and I cannot express my gratitude enough to everyone who has helped CLC become the place it is today.

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I have found through writing these moments down that countless people have positively impacted my life, both in small and monumental ways. My goal for 2014 is to pass on the love I have received to others. I encourage you all to appreciate the good in your life, and then bring out the good in others.

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No matter where we are physically, people are expressing joy and radiating love. Love and joy are not limited to CLC, and if we all consciously make the decision to be happy wherever we go, we will automatically give this joy to others. If we all strive to help and love one another, the abundance of great moments that we will all experience together will be inevitable.

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Happy 2014!

Photo Credit (all photos; except 3rd photo): Nathan Wright

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