When I was a kid, there were very few kinds of camp – day camp, sleep away camp, a handful of sports camps. These days, there seems to be a kind of camp for every kind of kid and every possible interest. Including, marvelously, mindfulness camp. The polls are now closed and the award for coolest idea for a camp goes to mindfulness camp!
I get totally jazzed by the spread of mentally and physically healthy practices like yoga and meditation in schools. It is the best evidence I’ve seen of hope for future generations. So you say that recent generations are self-absorbed and verging on amoral? I respond by pointing to kids learning to live mindfully.
The person I am, here and now, thinks wistfully about how neat it would have been to have learned meditation when I was a kid. I consider myself fortunate to have first learned how to meditate in my mid-20s and, thus, to have benefited from its practice for half my life so far. Imagine, though, if I had had a mindfulness toolkit at my disposal during my teens and early-20s… Aww, who am I kidding? The kid I was – the one that was constantly in motion, perpetually running and jumping and chasing and tumbling and swinging various sports equipment at balls and at other boys – would not have taken well to sitting quietly and still and doing nothing other than breathing.
All the more reason why I am so impressed by these kids who attend mindfulness camp in Laramie, Wyoming. (Check out this story in the Laramie Boomerang.) What do kids generally want to be doing during summer recess? Swimming, running through sprinklers, playing softball and dodgeball and tetherball and stickball and soccer, competing in Color War, building stuff out of popsicle sticks, playing on the computer. These kids are taking a pass on those activities for a week to learn how to quiet down, to breathe, to be aware of what is going on inside them and around them, and to bring those skills into their daily lives. These kids are awesome! Their parents are awesome for sending them to mindfulness camp! Michelle Visser, the founder of Mindful Kids of Laramie, is supremely awesome!!