Camp Kindness Day Brings Smiles to Maplewood Campers

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From the Maplewood Department of Community Services: 

The Maplewood Department of Community Services staff spends summertime swamped with programming, pool activities and of course – CAMPS!  “Camp season starts in January usually for us in the Department. We start hiring staff, planning calendars, and opening up registrations knowing these well-laid out plans will take hold in the hottest of days under the summertime sun!” shared Melissa Mancuso, Director of Community Services.

It was during a winter conference that Camp Kindness Day was shared with New Jersey Recreation & Park Association delegates at a camp educational session. Mancuso and Jamie Miranda, Manager of Recreation, decided it was a fun addition to their multi-camp summer season, and aligned with their team initiative of small acts of kindness benefiting the community in uplifting ways.

The American Camp Association dubs the special date of Wednesday, July 19 “an opportunity to raise awareness of the great work that camps are doing to teach kindness in engaging, simple, repeatable, and high impact ways that live on in the daily lives of campers and staff members when they return home.”

For the various camps under the auspice of the Maplewood Department of Community Services, simple acts brought huge smiles in celebration of Camp Kindness Day!

Funky Fun Art Camp, Directed by Denise Hayden, planned fun, vibrant art projects and kindness via a free lemonade booth in Maplewood Village! Residents and neighbors were treated to the refreshing beverage handed out by campers, accompanied by a note of kindness!

The Department of Community Services, along with Maplewood Police intern Miracle, stuffed kindness notes in water bottles and delivered them to their Drills, Skills and Thrills Basketball Camp [directed by Ken Ferrare], and Maplewood Tennis Camp [directed by Jonathan Tierstan] campers. Everyone was reminded that kindness matters, and brainstormed some ways to spread smiles!

MapleCraft Camp, Directed by Sandra Charlap, had campers paint rocks with messages of niceties to keep, share, or hide for others to find as their acts of kindness.

Maplewood Kids Camp, Directed by Kaitlyn Diaz, painted terra cotta flower pots, which were filled with new plantings for campers to gift to their grown ups at pick up to share a homemade, and home grown act of kindness.

“Small acts of goodwill can change someone’s day, and be a real mood elevator to those you love, or a total stranger. Thank you to our awesome staff in Town Hall and at each of our camps for embracing this, and for their relentless creativity helping to make this a new Maplewood Camp tradition. Everyone enjoyed the reminder to keep it kind,” shared Mancuso.

From Maplewood’s Mayor, Dean Dafis: “It’s very fitting that in a pretty place called Maplewood where mutual aid, empathy and intentional acts of kindness are practiced values, our Community Services team participated in the annual National Camp Kindness Day this week. I’m proud of our Rec team that administers our camps and our youth who showed their kindness with their flower pots, lemonade stands and painted rocks – my heart is full, they’re our global citizens.”

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