There are so many amazing things about Frost Valley, but one of my favorites is the far reaching cultures, backgrounds and heritages that are brought together in this community. Campers, staff and volunteers come from all over the world to celebrate community here at Frost Valley, one way we put this out there is during our session 1 all camp, It’s A Small World!

Our annual USA Vs The Rest of The World soccer match.

 

The Small World festival gives our staff a chance to share their culture with camp, counties represented have a booth and campers and staff can go around and learn about the country from the staff members.

Its a hot day, so we cooled down with the local fire department.

Rounded off by some amazing 4th of July Fireworks, which are always a treat to end the weekend.

Bring yourself back to summer time in the valley. After a long, hot day, everyone bustles into the dining hall hungry for dinner. The dining hall is full of friends, laughter, and clinking silverware. One of the cabins is called up to sing grace, we have a moment of silent reflection, and a moment of silliness. Your cabin mate hurries up to the serving line and brings back a hot, delicious tray of food for you to pass around the table and share with your cabin. We call this family style eating; we are all sitting at the table together, sharing food from the same bowl, eating together. Family style meals are one of the many things that we do at Frost Valley that build community.

 

Family style meals bring people together, encourage communication, allow people to relax together, and allows us to be thankful for our meal. The Family Dinner Project is a website promoting this idea of family style eating, take a moment to check it out as a family! http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/resources/faq/

 

Tomorrow, as well celebrate Thanksgiving, most of us will be eating family style, sharing a meal with loved ones. As you eat, take a moment to think about all that you are thankful for, think about the family that you are with, and think about the community that camp has brought to your life. I know that I am thankful for the Frost Valley community, and as I travel home for the holidays, I will be thinking of how grateful I am for my time spent with you!

I hope you all enjoy the community you are with during this special time, and I look forward to reuniting at Winter Camp! Keep doing amazing things in your communities at home, I am looking forward to hearing about how you are putting the core values into action!

Peace, Love, Bibbley, and happy Thanksgiving!

Lindsay

Hello Frost Valley Family!

 

I am writing to you today on #CoreValuesInAction Wednesday, with a CHALLENGE that I have for you all!

 

A big part of community to me, is serving those around you, and bringing people together. Community falls perfectly in the month of November, when we celebrate Thanksgiving and do just that! We all come together to share a meal, and celebrate what we are thankful for. Not everyone is able to share a meal on this day, and many people are hungry every day. This is the time of year, that we should give back, and help our communities combat hunger.

 

My challenge to all of you is to do some volunteering in your communities around this time of Thanksgiving! Donate to a food bank, volunteer in a soup kitchen, or put together a community dinner at your school. Research ways to combat world hunger, support indigenous peoples, and spend time with friends and family. Take the core value of Community and put it in action this Thanksgiving season!

 

Giving Tuesday is coming up, and if we all put community into action together, we could make one of the biggest impacts the world has ever seen from a summer camp!

 

Here are a list of resources to look at in the NYC and NJ areas to get involved in your community:

https://www.newyorkcares.org/holiday-volunteering-referrals

http://www.njfamily.com/NJ-Places-You-Can-Volunteer-Thanksgiving-Week/

 

If you accept my challenge and put COMMUNITY in action, please email me at lhutchinson@frostvalley.org. I will feature your story in the blog, and send you a core values tshirt! Looking forward to hearing all of the AWESOME ways you are impacting your community!

 

Peace, Love, and Bibbley,

Lindsay

Frost Valley is a community built on love and our core values. We stand for respect, caring, honesty, responsibility, stewardship, diversity, inclusiveness, and community for all people. For all people.

 

Being a part of this community is a special thing, and the core values are what drew me to the YMCA movement many years ago. Being a part of the Frost Valley YMCA movement, has made more of an impact on me than I ever thought possible. Our commitment to these values, and our intentional implementation of them in our programming every day, for every person, has guided me to become a stronger, more intentional leader. What I try to do each day, and what I’ve committed my life to, is providing children a safe place to learn about themselves, build relationships, solve healthy conflict, relate to people with differences, and learn how to care. That is how I can contribute to my community, and I thank my campers for inspiring me to do so. Our campers are some of the most caring, positive, change agents in this world. I’m convinced of it 🙂

 

Many people describe our community as being a big family. I believe this as well. We are a loving community. We share stories and provide guidance to one another. We hug each other when times are hard and try to lift one another up. We cheer each other on and encourage each other’s dreams. But the part that makes us such a strong and unique family is our differences. Each one of us bring to camp our own experiences and perspectives, and each one of us leaves with a better understanding of someone who’s experiences and perspectives are different from our own. We celebrate these differences, encourage each other to share and discuss differences, and coach our youth through navigating some of these differences as well.

 

I am proud of this community. I am honored to be a part of it. I am humbled constantly by the amazing youth that are part of this community. I encourage all of my campers to continue to embrace each other’s differences, support each other through hardships, and spread the values that we practice at Frost Valley throughout your communities at home.

 

Once you become part of our family, you are part of it for life. Thank you for being part of my community.

Ubuntu, I am because we are.

Peace, Love, Bibbley,

Lindsay

Happy Wednesday All!

 

It has been a warm start to November here in the Valley, and we are excited to kickoff #CoreValuesInAction for this month highlighting COMMUNITY! Community is represented by the color orange, and was one of the more recent additions to FV’s list of values. We added community (along with diversity, stewardship, and inclusiveness) a few years ago, to make our list of values stronger. We feel that community is a strong and positive value that encompasses a lot of what we do here in our programs: teambuilding, living in a cabin with strangers, and being part of something greater than yourself.

 

Here is how community is defined by some of our campers from Summer 2016:

“Community: I love working together to make things happen” – Sophia, Susky Village
“Community, because everyone here gets along and acts as a family… This camp is the definition of fun… I love this camp so much and I feel like myself around other kids my age” – Justin, Outpost Village
“On the night of my overnight, the threat of thunderstorms loomed overhead, making it unsafe to sleep outside. So, as a result, my cabin (Turrell) all slept in our main room, on the floor, and talked all night. We really bonded, and a powerful sisterhood was formed.” – Lakota Camper
“I displayed community by helping the first year campers in my cabin.” – Outpost Camper
“I like community because all of the core values fall under it. To make or have a good community you need to hace all of the core values!” – Roxana, Susky Village
“It let me bond with all of my new friends that I couldn’t have without a community.” – Beckett, Outpost Village
“Helping to create a welcome atmosphere in the cabin and village” – Milo, Forest Village
“I like community the most because all the campers and the counselors felt like a mini community inside of camp.” – Jack, Mighty Village of the Trees
IMG_5845

The Session 1 Camp Wawayanda Community!

If any campers have a story that puts community into action in your communities, please send them to me at lhutchinson@frostvalley.org. I will feature your story in our blog and send you an orange core values tshirt!
Looking forward to hearing your stories!
Peace, Love, Bibbley,
Lindsay

#CoreValuesInAction has been brought to life in a big way at Woodstock Day School, thanks to the hard work by a few of our Outpost Campers. Zach, one of our campers during Summer 2016, wrote to me with an awesome story of how he and his classmates, also Outpost Campers, were putting Core Values into Action:

 

Hi Lindsay This is Zach 3rd Session cabin 39. I wanted to tell you this story and it might work for this month’s caring core value. There was a new girl in our class and she is sick and can’t come to school. We are going to send a video card to her each week as a class, and 1 kid will send a hand written card. Also we will cook meals for her family. The two students who came up with the idea Paix and Niko both Outpost session 3 campers . Jerome (Cabin 38) and Ben (Cabin 39) will be a part as well because we are all in the same class. We feel that by doing she will get to know her class better.

outpostphoto

Outpost Campers Niko, Zach, Ben, Jerome, and Paix

This project has been designed entirely by the students of the class, making this a very special  project. Regularly, the students of the Woodstock Day School complete Community Service projects, but this one is very unique and very personal, showing how much kindness and generosity our campers have. Here is a picture of the campers with the letters that they have written. They were making cards with lists of movies, books, tv shows etc. for the student who is sick to watch or read so she doesn’t get bored. They came up with some really good (and funny) ideas!  Last Friday, the parents of the students in the class dropped off a load of food for the family as well!

 

When everyone at Frost Valley heard this story, we knew that we had to share it with the rest of the community!  Zach, Paix, Niko, Jerome, and Ben, you have been an inspiration to everyone here, and we hope that you know how much of a positive impact you and your classmates are making in your community! You have demonstrated so many of our Core Values, especially caring, and we are so glad that you shared this story with us!

 

 

If any of our campers have a story about putting the #CoreValuesInAction, please email Lindsay at lhutchinson@frostvalley.org and you too could be featured in the Frost Valley Blog, as well as receive a Core Values TShirt. During the month of November, we will be featuring the Core Value of Community! Looking forward to hearing your stories!

 

 

Peace, Love, Bibbley,

Lindsay

#CoreValuesInAction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday we had our first all camp event, celebrating all of the cultures that come together at camp every summer at the Small World Carnival. We had representatives from loads of amazing places and our campers we able to enjoy the booths created by counselors from Hungary, Colombia, Scotland and many more. We had a beautiful day weather wise which gave us the perfect excuse to cool down in the spray of the fire hose and kick around a ball among all of the activities and games. It is always amazing to see how great the sharing of culture brings us all together at Frost Valley and we expand out community every summer by sharing in the beautiful experience.

IMG_9292

 

IMG_9450

 

IMG_9425

IMG_9416

IMG_9405

IMG_9351

IMG_9313

 

 

Hiring International Staff, Creating Cultural Exchange

Cultural exchange is inevitable at camp; put a child in a new situation, with new people, and role models who foster the building of relationships, and our campers are bound to learn something new about someone. This exchange involves so many concepts: where we are from, what we eat, how old we are, and our past experiences at camp. Frost Valley even teaches core values of Community, Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Respect, which all contribute to this cultural exchange.  We make it a part of every day at camp, and we make it a comfortable situation, encouraging our campers to learn about one another, creating curiosity about the world around them.

One of the most celebrated ways of this cultural exchange begins even before the campers arrive.  While we work in the office during the cold winter months, missing our campers and the warm sun, we spend weeks interviewing and hiring the staff members that will be the counselors for the upcoming summer.  When we hire the staff for each department, we look for role models that commit themselves to our core values.  I truly believe that the staff that we hire are the best examples of ways that we can create cultural exchange, hiring staff that are respectful and accepting of those different than themselves.

The Activities Team, also known as the A-Team, provides the campers with a variety of Specialties, Feeling Goods, Evening Programs, and Theme Days that highlight the amazing talents that our staff bring to camp, focusing on the cultural exchange for the entire community. When the Tacoma and Lenape campers go to Woodshop, they will learn techniques that Nicolas learned growing up in Columbia.  When Pokey Totem  learns a new dance routine, they will be taught by Suleyman, who was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance Turkey.  When swimming in the lake, all of our campers are watched by lifeguards from England, Wales, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and the United States.

And our counselors are committed to this exchange as much as we are. Gina, a Farm Camp counselor from Taiwan describes being an international camp staff as follows:

Taiwan

“It was an AWESOME SUMMER in Frost Valley YMCA! I have a lot of experiences, working in the camps in my country, Taiwan. However, the summer in the Farm Camp was the BEST!! Thanks to my camp director, supervisors and co-partners, I felt supported and motivated to be an international counselor. They were always available to give you a hand and some suggestion to run the cultural programs for our campers.”

To the right is a photo of Gina, teaching the Farm Campers how to use chopsticks.

How lucky are we?  Not only do we give campers the opportunity to learn new skills and hobbies, but they are learning from people all over the world. We have been lucky enough at Frost Valley to have this privilege for a very long time, and now having International Staff at camp is just the way it is.  Yes, it is still novel to the kids when their counselors have a british accent every year, but being surrounded by people that are different from themselves is the norm.  And isn’t that something we should all celebrate?

Columbia

Two of our biggest celebrations are our theme days during session 1  and 2: Its a Small World Carnival and Olympix.  At the Small World  Carnival, all of our staff  members from each country represented  at camp set up a carnival  booth with some type of cultural activity,  sharing with the campers  a part of their home. During Olympix, our  team captains are lead by  the citizens of those countries  represented.  Watching our staff  members share their culture with  the campers is one of the  highlights of my job. When the campers  develop global perspective  and acceptance, the community we  create at Frost Valley becomes  that much more powerful.

So we are extremely excited for this summer’s cultural exchange. The staff are representing 12 different countries, and the campers themselves will come from all over the world. Like every year at camp, we are positively impacted by the people we are surrounded with, and this year we are excited to learn about more cultures, build relationships with more people, and develop more curiosity for the world that we are part of.

And don’t worry, we will be posting pictures and blogs all summer of our cultural activities, exchanges, and friendships!

With excitement for summer,

Lindsay Hutchinson
Resident Camp Activities Director