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Message from the President: Spread Joy this Summer

June 18, 2024

Dear Members,

Last week, I attended the Savannah Bananas baseball game at Fenway Park with my two youngest children, Cam and Ivy. Cam, a die-hard sports fan, could not wait to see a baseball game at Fenway. Ivy was tagging along because she had nothing better to do and thought it might be fun.

What ensued was three hours of pure joy. There was a ton of singing, forty athletes participating in a full dance routine, a player on stilts, a crawling toddler race, and some baseball. It didn’t matter if you were 3 or 93 years old, a professional baseball player or a ticket taker. Everyone was fully engaged and committed to being part of the incredible experience. I still can’t remember the score or fully explain the rules (e.g. in Banana ball, a walk involves a lot of running and throwing), but the joy shared by thousands was real and, the vibe was undeniable

Ivy, the one who had nothing better to do, literally danced and sang their entire game and said, “That was the best baseball game ever!” She can’t wait for her next game. Little did she know this was not a “normal” baseball game. I wish every game was like a Banana Ball. At first, Cam was serious and really focused on the game and the score, but as time went on, he let go of the need to watch every minute of the game and jumped up and started to dance and found the joy in just having fun.

Driving home that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this game reminded me of camp. You may be packing up the car, already on the road, putting the docks in the lake, or perhaps campers have already arrived. Wherever you are, please remember to bring pure JOY to camp with you this summer.

With everything happening worldwide, our camps will continue to be the haven for thousands of campers and staff. You bring so much of yourself to camp, including joy, but we encourage you to be intentional about bringing joy to your campers and staff. There is no recipe or instruction manual for joy, but we are all capable of delivering it between each other:

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Happiness is the result merely from what happens to us; while pure joy results from the pursuit of what happens for us and others. Spread Joy!

I encourage you to discuss what JOY means with your staff and campers, ask them “What brings you Joy” and “How can you bring JOY to the people around you”.

Finally, search inside yourself and decide what brings you unwavering joy… Whatever the answer is, please take a moment to find your Joy this summer.

In the pursuit of pure joy,

Ian Moorhouse,

Board President, American Camp Association New England

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