by Rebecca Mikula
Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I watch the majority of my hall walk into Fresh Foods together and find a table. They sit and talk about their day, their interests, and where they come from. Last night after they finished their dinner, they began a rousing game of Monopoly Deal with the table behind them and even found some new friends in the process. Only two of my campers knew each other on day one, but because of meal times at camp, they have become great friends in a few days.
Meal time is one of the best opportunities not only for campers to get to know each other, but for us as counselors to interact with campers that might not be on our hall. Walking around talking to the kids is always incredibly interesting and fun. Since Sunday night, I have had talks about everything from Mao to bracelet-making techniques, and from how a lot of campers enjoy Books, Books, Books to the logistics behind World War Two. I also have gotten tips and tricks to crafting the perfect ice cream cone after a long day.
Additionally, lunchtime allows campers to receive visits from family. One of my campers had an aunt visit yesterday while another has had lunch with her sister multiple times. This can be a nice way for campers who are not used to being away from family every day to hold onto that comfort brought by a familiar face. Campers here at SCATS love seeing family at lunch as a special addition to their day!
Seeing the campers take initiative to meet someone new, sit with a camper who might not have a friend, or even pick up a plate left behind or put a moved chair back really shows just what great kids they are and how they act when they think no one is looking. In less than a week, I’ve seen shy campers come out of their shells over a shared plate of pizza, campers teaching one another new games after everyone has eaten, and countless smiling faces and moments of laughter. Meal times at SCATS aren’t just about the food — they are also about the experience.