Candles, Birds, Campfires, Collage and Relationships

-Lynn Grainger

2022 was the first year I planned the activities for Kingswood’s programs. It is a challenge to come up with economical options that appeal to everyone from age 4 to 94. 

One Saturday morning craft I had more adults than children making candles using 5 or 6 different methods. I was a bit overwhelmed melting wax over the fire and pouring wax upon request. But I looked at the joy in each face, and I knew that this is what success looks like at a Kingswood program. The same is true when adults asked for gloves and an owl pellet to dissect alongside their children. One morning two adult campers who knew lots about birds came to the program just to dissect an owl pellet, an experience they had not had before. Our conversation went well past noon.

As fun and as engaging as the programs are, I have come to realize that the most important part of the Program Director’s job is building relationships. Campers routinely ask about Ginny and Holly. They share their stories about these women. They don’t remember what they cooked, what they made at the craft area or where the hike went. They do remember how Ginny and Holly valued them and made the time at Kingswood special. That’s my goal for my team and me.

Two young boys at different points in the summer were struggling with their big emotions about leaving Kingswood this summer. We all feel the sadness when it comes to leaving Kingswood, but these kids couldn’t put into words what they were feeling. Everything was ugly and stupid. Fortunately, I sat down to talk with the child while playing with the kinetic sand. Once I realized what was going on, I was able to offer a bit of Kingswood to each boy to take home for show and tell. I gave them part of a skeleton of a fox that had been found earlier in the summer near Overlook by some older boys. They left with a token that changed their mood and will carry them through to next summer.

I look forward to seeing you in 2023!