By Sunil Arora
We often live our lives consumed more with the things we don’t have - scarcity - instead of appreciating everything that wonderfully surrounds us - abundance. The shift from a scarcity to abundance mindset typically occurs as a result of an impactful but ephemeral experience such as a transformative event in life or a travel experience that connects you to a different culture or existence. The increasing popularity and discussion around meditation and mindfulness are part of a needed movement to understand how to effectuate this shift on a regular basis in the course of our daily lives. Something that is not typically considered, however, is the possibility of turning scarcity into abundance. How can you take something that you don’t have and turn it into an appreciation of abundance? Experience Camps answer this challenging question in a beautiful way.
Experience Camps bring together kids who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. The scarcity is real and it is deeply painful. These kids have to contextualize death at entirely too young of an age and navigate their lives without an integral part of their family while being surrounded by peers who do not have to deal with such a predicament. It would be understandable, if not expected, for these kids to focus on who and what they don’t have in their lives. But every year, hundreds of kids leave Experience Camps appreciating and celebrating the love, community, and support they have in abundance.
It serves as a wonderful example for us as adults who often think about wanting more - love, time, money, recognition, and many other things - when in reality we are immersed in abundance. Taking a difficult circumstance of loss that alternates between a dull ache and a sharp pain and turning it into something that constantly reminds you of what you still have is no easy task but Experience Camps make it happen. The resilience of the kids is combined with an appreciation for the duality of grief - it hurts but also binds those who share it - to create a truly special community.
The best part of all of this is that, for the kids, this all happens at camp while just being kids - laughing, playing, bonding, and competing their way through games, recreation, and carefree silliness. As counselors and staff, we go to Experience Camps to guide and help the kids with a missing part of their lives, but we come away with a much bigger lesson on learning how to see and appreciate all the abundance that surrounds us in our daily lives.