We all know that pile, the one that goes on for days and never seems to dwindle despite the best efforts of every unit leader, camp counselor and director at camp. Kids have a knack of dumping and running, living in that very minute and mindlessly walking away from any number of items their loyal parent tirelessly and carefully packed for them, it’s just what kids do. But what about that pile, look closely and it may just take on new meaning. Within that deluge of excess, you will find a variety of objects all with different origins, functions, strengths, appearances and so on. Some have labels, some remain nameless, but all hold value. When you think about camp and the “laundry” list of reasons parents and caregivers alike decide to send their kids to an overnight camp it’s easy to list the benefits. As discussed in an American Camp Association article by Audrey Monke entitled “The Impact of Camp Experiences on Social Skills and Happiness”, she writes “As positive relationships predict happiness, the camp environment is an ideal setting to improve happiness because of the focus on building positive relationships. Children at summer camp have ample, daily opportunities to connect with other people and therefore, are — in fact — “happy campers.” So, what about that magical pile, each item representative of a camper with their own unique look, strength and origin. It’s funny how that pile comes together so easily and just keeps growing by the day. At Camp Blue Ridge, those items represent new friendships, learned understanding and an appreciation for things we may have never seen before.