Karamo Brown – Our Top 5 Takeaways
Another TriState CAMP Conference has come to an end! Our camp team spent the week with over 4,000 camp professionals, learning and connecting, and making plans to make summer 2019 better than any before! The cherry on top of our very campy sundae was the closing keynote, a conversation with Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown. We want to share five of our takeaways from the keynote, and how so much of what Karamo had to say resonates with our philosophy at Appel Farm.
#1 – “Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a part of it.”
Failure is a scary word – but not at camp! Nobody is perfect on their first try; at camp we create a safe environment to try new things, and when things don’t go our way, we don’t let that get us down. Campers at Appel Farm know that trying something new takes courage, and we celebrate every step we take when we set off on a new journey. When something doesn’t work out the way we imagined, we ask ourselves how it can be different next time, and see every opportunity as one to learn. Our staff are quick to tell our campers how they too, had to start from the beginning of their own artistic adventures, and encourage our campers to celebrate every milestone along the way. By setting goals each session, and reflecting on our growth at the end, we remind ourselves just how far we’ve come, and how starting out – and sometimes missing the mark – was all part of the path to making our dreams a reality.
#2 – “Self Care is not selfish.”
We value self-care so deeply at camp. From taking time during rest-hour to reset, to fireside chats to check in at the end of the day, we know that taking care of ourselves is the best thing we can do. Our staff get to know every camper at camp, and when someone is having an off-day, we collaborate with them to solve their problems, and get them what they need. Feeling homesick? Upset stomach? Just plain tired? Our counselors, bunk heads, directors, and health center team is readily available to make sure every camper has everything they need to be their best selves. It’s also important that the Appel Farm staff takes time to take care of themselves, so they can be their best for the campers. From themed staff meetings, to fun staff-only activities throughout the summer, our directors and Leadership Team make sure our staff have what they need to feel their best. When we feel good, we can focus our energy on our art and our community – and that makes a positive impact on everyone.
#3 – “The key to success is being 1% better tomorrow, than you are today.”
We say it a lot at camp, that we cultivate a “non-competitive” atmosphere, but sometimes that phrase gets a bad reputation. Being non-competitive doesn’t mean that we stop striving to be our very best, it simply means that we remove the pressure of having to be better than someone else, freeing our campers to explore, try new things, and express themselves without fear. When you remove competition, picking up a new instrument, sitting down at your first ceramics wheel, or directing your first movie suddenly becomes a lot more accessible – and a lot more fun! We love to set goals at Appel Farm, and personal growth is one of our four core values. If you set out to achieve your goals, to move forward each day and build on what you learned the day before, you will be successful at camp – and in life!
#4 – “If you see a sparkly jacket, you stop and appreciate it.”
One of our Appel Farm friends got the chance to attend a meet and greet with Karamo – and the first thing he said was how much he loved the seafoam color of her Appel Farm spirit jersey! He also stopped, mid-keynote, to admire an audience member’s sparkly, sequined jacket, exclaiming – “if you see a sparkly jacket, you stop and appreciate it!”. Everybody shared a laugh. Stopping to appreciate the little things, be they sparkly or seafoam, is so important. When you stop to appreciate someone else, it’s hard to see just how far that small compliment will go. Think about a time when someone stopped to pay you a compliment, and how those good vibes stayed with you much longer than the few seconds it took for them to notice. The more we can spread joy and kindness, through compliments and gratitude, the better off we’ll all be.
#5 – “I am perfectly made!”
In a beautiful call-and-response, Karamo had the entire audience repeat after him: I. AM. PERFECTLY. MADE. The world around you may forget to say it, so we’ll make sure to remind you every day – you are exactly right, just as you are, and you are enough. At Appel Farm, we celebrate each camper for exactly who they are, unique and perfectly made. Every single member of our community brings their talent and interests and experiences along with them to camp, and it’s in learning about what makes each of us different that creates our extraordinary community of artists. No matter where you are in your journey – whether sitting down at the piano for the first time, or taking on your third leading role of the year, every member of our camp family is valued for being unapologetically exactly who they are.