Today we welcome Guest Blogger Rachel G. — one of our 2014 Encampers. Enjoy this peek into ENCAMPMENT 2014!


When entering the Encampment family meeting place this morning, the Encampers were surprised at the sight in front of them. Names were written on pieces of cardboard and placed into the center of separate boxes. It appeared that everyone had been grouped by who they spent the most time with, or in a box of “isolation” if they were seen as people who didn’t spend much time with others. Annoyance seemed to be the common feeling amongst the Encampers, as one of the staff members went on to explain the activity. Encampers were told to answer three questions:

  1. Who is in your box and why?
  2. Who is not in your box and why?
  3. Is this okay?

The staff then left the Encampers to tackle the questions.

After the staff left the room, the youth began to yell about how the staff had no right to box them, and how it was offensive. But after the group began to simmer down, many members of the group began to speak up and were well received. We all believed that we had our core groups, but that we all reached outside of our groups and did not isolate anyone. And for those who were told they were isolating themselves, they spoke on how they even reached out to everyone, but felt comfortable in being alone. To prove our point, we lifted the tape creating the boxes and created an even larger box, putting all members of the community inside.

Once the staff came back in, we discussed the conclusions we had reached. The conversation slowly transformed into a discussion about love, and the idea of expressing “simple love” in all of our interactions with each other. Through tears, anger, and laughter, the Encampment group came to the conclusion that in order for our community to thrive, we needed to learn how to love not only each other, but ourselves.