Children, motivation, inspiration… I had all of these when I worked in camp for 3 months in 2014. I remembered that time I had a lot of stress because of family issue, of the school, of the money and I just wanted to escape from my hometown and go somewhere far away for a long time. Accidentally I found an opporunity… an agency in Hungary, called Campleaders, brings university students to the USA to work during summer in camp (now also in resort). The opportunity came to me at a good time, and I applied for it. At first my only purpose was to escape from my family, but later I got more than I expected when I was at camp. Working with children, my problem wasn’t just vanished, but I learned how to appreciate what I have and how to stand up and work more for my goal. Here are few points what camp taught me about overcoming stress and appreciate life:
Everybody has talent
It was a camp for poor children, whose parents cannot afford paying much, but still want their children to experience society. The children stayed there for 26 days and nearly in the end there is a talent show. I was surprised by their talent. Some of them sang like a professional singer, some of them rapped like Eminem, some of them danced like a professional dancer. And we are talking about kids at age between 8-17.
What made me surprised is that it didn’t really matter whether they sang or danced well or not, the moment they stepped on the stage and performed everybody congratulated them and gave them a round of applause. That made me realized that it doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, the moment you dare to show yourself to the world you are the King.
Everybody has a dream
When you ask a children what is their dream, they will tell you an anwser. When you pose the same question to an adult, they it’s not sure they can give you answer. Seeing the children didn’t hesitate answering this simple question, made me realized even I have a dream, but I suppressed it as I thought it is not something I can accomplish and that caused stress in me. Those children in camp awoke the suppressed dream in me, and when I arrived home I decided to study and do what I have always wanted to and I won’t do things that I don’t like just to impress other people.
You know what bringing joy to other people mean
I worked as kitchen staff and after a dinner one of the camper around 11 years old came to the kitchen and told us “Thank you for the lunch, it was very delicious.” This one sentence gave me and us more strenght and motivation to work hard and provide the best service for our campers. Then at the end of our contract during a campfire, the camp director came to us and thanked us for our work, as it had been a few years since he didn’t have a good staff in the kitchen like us. This recognition made me feel like every second of the hard work was worth it. The moment you can bring happiness, joy to other people with your work, that is when working become enjoyable.
Money is not everything
Yes, you read it correctly, money is not everything. I acknowledge that without money you don’t have roof over your head, you don’t have food to fill your empty stomach, you don’t have clothes to wear during cold days. Money is important and most of us work to earn as much as we can. And most of us make a mistake at this point. If you look at people around you how many of them enjoy their job? Why don’t they enjoy it, because they only work for the money. And they don’t believe that they can earn money while doing something they like and enjoy, and this is how stress appear in their life. Whether you believe it or not, you can earn money while doing things you love to do. I you haven’t found your dream job yet, then think how your work can help people, that way it is easier to work.
Working in camp taught me about this. I’m not saying I enjoyed everytime of it, but rather than thinking of money, I was thinking of how my work could help the children and the staff. Seeing the children happy face after eating a delicious meal and the satisfied expression from the staff after eating was enough for me to enjoy this work and even work more than my payment was. If you think in different way about earning money, you won’t feel stressed. Rather than thinking how you can earn enough to pay the bills, think how you can help the other while earning the amount of recognition. This way will help working to be easier.
Nature is where we find silence
If you come from a capital or big city like me, you will find yourself wanting to escape to a silent place. This is how working in camp helped me in changing environment. Like most of the camp, this camp was also in the middle of nowhere, there were only tree, grass, ground around. The living condition is not like in Hilton Hotel, everything was harder to reach, there was no stong Wi-Fi connection. And that’s why it is the best place to relieve your stress. The main factor causing stress is that we are overwhelmed with electronics, buildings and we have nothing that can be called natural. That’s why if you want to relieve stress and calm yoursefl down, go to the woods… go for hiking in the hills, spend a time in a camp, where electronics can’t find you, and turn of your phones. When you are relieved you can slowly turn back to your “normal” life.
You will appreciate things you have
As I mentioned above, camp you are in the middle of nowhere and the living condition is harder than your usual life. You might find spider at corner of your bed, you find mouse running behind the wardrobes and you can also find snake under your bed. The bed is not as comfortable as it is at home, you won’t eat things you want. So when you arrive back home you will appreciate everything that you have. Your room might not be the cleanest, but there is no spider, mouse, snake in it. Your room might not be the biggest, but at least it is all yours, you don’t need to share with anyone, you do whatever you want in there. Your mom’s cook might not be the most delicious, but at least it is from original vegetable, not a frozen food. When I arrived back to Hungary after 3 months away I literally bursted out crying the moment I saw the Hungarian writings at the airport. I was happy that I was back and I could see my parents. The moment you appreciate what you have and you don’t crave for what you don’t have you will feel relieved since you realize that you have everything you need in life.
These are the main things that camp taught me and helped me in overcoming the stress that I had at that time. I hope you will try working in camp if not for 3 months then at least for 1 month to experience the same things. Or you can go for a simple hiking for 2-3 days if you feel overwhelmed in your everyday life.
If you have any other tip on overcoming stress, feel free to share it in the comment below. 🙂