A recent New York Times article “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing” by Adam Grant shared that “languishing” may be the dominant emotion of 2021. As we move through the pandemic, people may be feeling blah, joyless, and aimless. And, while it’s not depression, which is at one extreme of the mental health spectrum, it isn’t flourishing (which is at the other end of the spectrum) either. When we think of flourishing, we think of camp and how lucky Maine Camp Experience campers are for their summer ahead.
Adam Grant shares that: “Flourishing is the peak of well-being: You have a strong sense of meaning, mastery and mattering to others.” This is exactly what it feels like to be at camp. Each day, campers rise early with a full day ahead and a sense of purpose. They have multiple activities – they’re expected at different places at different times. They are learning and mastering new skills in sports, arts, and in nature. Campers are seen and they matter; they are in a very social environment where they’re interacting with peers and counselors. And, campers depend on each other and they help each other. Cooperation ranges from daily morning cabin clean up to tug-of-war or bucket brigade during Color War where every person counts and working together is the name of the game.
According to Grant, languishing means “not functioning at full capacity.” It “dulls your motivation and disrupts your ability to focus.” “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.”
When we think of camp we think of the perpetual energy that permeates the environment. There’s a buzz and excitement as camp is running on all cylinders. Where every day and night there are special events, traditions, and happenings across all age groups. Even in the quieter times, there’s still that feeling of joy and enthusiasm you’ll see in campers’ smiles or hear in their laughter.
Adam Grant talks about how ‘flow’ may be an antidote to languishing. “Flow is that elusive state of absorption in a meaningful challenge or a momentary bond, where your sense of time, place and self melts away.” This is camp!! Oftentimes, it’s easy to forget what day of the week it is or what time it is because in the camp bubble – those things are eclipsed by complete absorption in the traditions, activities, and events happening. Nothing else matters. It’s this engagement, immersion, and focus that bring joy and allow campers to flourish. Sometimes it’s loud triumphant victories. Sometimes it’s quiet accomplishments. Campers find purpose so many ways: in sailing to a particular spot in the lake, or completing a bowl at ceramics, or scoring a goal in a game, or singing the song in the camp play, or climbing to the top of the rock wall. We can’t wait to have our campers come and thrive!
And, while we parents may not get to experience round-the-clock programs in the beautiful Maine settings that our campers will enjoy, perhaps we can take a page from their opportunities and try to put ourselves in similar situations. Adam Grant suggests: “carving out daily time to focus on a challenge that matters to you — an interesting project, a worthwhile goal, a meaningful conversation.” When we focus on new challenges and experiences that capture our full attention, we find flow. So, with the kids at camp, parents, too, should pull out that tennis racket, put on those running or hiking shoes, make a plan to meet a friend for lunch, or set a goal to accomplish this summer. As Adam Grant would say, get out and get busy. “Sometimes it’s a small step toward rediscovering some of the energy and enthusiasm that you’ve missed during all these months.”
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks). It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates. Then you can research these camps in more depth.
Next, be sure to contact our Maine Camp Guide, Laurie to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge™, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.