It’s no secret that Skyland campers gain confidence during their time at Skyland.
In fact, campers report that they find “their best self” on Skyland Hill. They say it’s a feeling that doesn’t happen anywhere else. It arises out of the risks campers take as they try new activities, navigate new routines, and develop new friendships. It manifests in a camper as she masters the bow and arrow, performs a song and dance on stage with a new group of friends, or takes a horse out of the ring and onto the trail for the first time.
Bunny Brown, Skyland Camp for Girls’ Director Emeritus and camp grandmother, calls it “The Spirit of Skyland.” The Spirit of Skyland allows campers to shine as their best selves: bold, empowered, confident, and unafraid of judgment.
As campers transition back to home routines, we wondered: How can we help campers keep that Spirit burning bright long after the closing night bonfire? How can they tap in to that strength and confidence that are so bold in the summer that sometimes fades when in the midst of the school year, exams, homework and occasional social stresses?
WHAT IF … we could write a letter to our future self that captures the essence of who we are at summer camp, SO THAT we can be reminded of our summer greatness in the middle of winter?
And we did. And the Letter to Our Future Self tradition began!
Each summer, campers and staff take pen to paper with one intention: Imagine yourself at home in the winter months … in the middle of your world-at-home. Maybe there are exams, maybe you’re cold, maybe there’s some stress, maybe everything is perfect. If you could take all of your Skyland power, confidence and how you feel right now at this very moment here on Skyland Hill … and transfer it to that girl in February, what would you say to her?
These letters, written at the peak of our Skyland summer power are mailed during the midst of winter as a personal Valentine to ourselves … to our future self.
Campers love it. Staff and counselors love it. We frequently hear how these letters arrive at just the right moment in a camper or counselor’s life. With a simple (often powerful!) letter, each Skylander learns how to access that special Spirit of Skyland within herself whenever and wherever she needs it.
What better way to weave the benefits of camp into everyday life all year long?
You can participate in the Spirit of Skyland Valentine tradition too! Join our campers in carrying the last rays of summer sunshine forward into winter by writing your own letter (or Valentine!) to your future self.