|by Murray Archibald|
|A Positive Charge
Remember mood rings? Not that they ever really succeeded in describing one's mood, but I did enjoy watching the colors change and examining the little chart that came with every ringthe one that explained the color code in detail. The mood ring chart I found online described dark blue as happy, blue as calm, blue-green as relaxed, green as normal, amber as a little nervous, grey as very nervous and anxious, and black as stressed, tense and harried.
As the summer of '08 heads into its dog days, the mood of the country seems to be trapped in a downward spiral of worry, fear, and a lack of confidence in the economy brought on by the continuing fallout from the mortgage crises, the high cost of oil, the low value of the dollar, inflation, and recession. Our mood is only darkened by the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, uncertainty in the Middle East, and planet wide environmental problems. If we slipped a mood ring on the fingers of Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam, I imagine that the red, white and blue just might turn into the dark grey and black of the stressedout, tense and very, very harried.
On an individual level, most of us face a variety of mood changes throughout the course of any given day. Most of them are minor, to be sure, and not to be at all confused with something as severe as depression or bipolar disorder. Most of us find ways of managing our mood swings, and of keeping ourselves somewhat sanebut what about the country? How do we create a positive, creative, mood that unites our country and helps us all to work together to find solutions for the problems we face as a nation?
Positive and innovative leadership with long-term, visionary goals seems to be a good place to start; as is a willingness to be open to creative dialogue on a wide range of topics. The same holds true for CAMP Rehoboth and organizations like it, as we try to keep up with the fast pace of the rapidly changing world in which we live. So too, like the country as a whole, if we respond to issues out of worry and fear instead of a true desire to find real solutions, our results will continue to be less than satisfactory.
In recent weeks, the somewhat darker mood of the country has sparked an upsurge in minor local skirmishes, some of them hate-related, some of them just bad manners and ill tempers. One local restaurant owner told me last week that he doesn't remember a time when the crowds were quite as rude as they have been this summer. That's a hard statement to quantify, of course, but the very fact that it was made points out the stress and the fear that seeps so easily, and from so many directions, into our lives these days.
CAMP Rehoboth was built on creating a positive change in the world. The very letters that make up the acronym that spells our name contain the word "positive," and our mission statement calls us to "create a more positive" environment in our local area. When life is good and everybody is happy, creating a positive environment is not a hard thing to do. When life gets a little tougher, and our worries and fears start to expose the darker underbelly of our human insecurities a positive attitude can be a little more difficult to inspire.
Over the 18 years since we started CAMP Rehoboth I've witnessed the many rising and falling moods of the organization, our town, and our visitors. Many times I've felt like a cheerleader, being positive in order to create positive results. Somehow I've been the one, self appointed or not, who talks about the "heart" of CAMP and the "spirit" of CAMP. That kind of cheerleading is easy for me because I believe so strongly in the heart, and the spirit, and the work of CAMP Rehoboth.
From my point of view, we could all use a little positive shot in the arm from time to time. We all need reminders that we are, indeed, okay. No matter how good we feel about ourselves, no matter how confident we are in our own identity, there are times when our mood turns sour and we are reminded of the very long road we are still traveling on our way to truly understanding who we are and what that means in the world around us.As long as politicians like Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinhart continue creating homophobic comic books to get themselves elected; as long as the suicide rate for gay teenagers remains higher than that of other teens; as long as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" continues to be the attitude of the military; and as long as the conservative churches continue to demonize GLBT people, we will need places and organizations like CAMP Rehoboth and the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center to effect positive change.
CAMP Q & A
CAMP Questions and Answers
Have questions about CAMP Rehoboth and the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center? CAMP Questions and Answers is a new column in Letters that will try to answer them. To submit a question email it to email@example.com.
What is the hole in the middle of the CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard?
Contrary to popular speculation (no, it's not a hot tub or a fountain), the hole in the CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard is a pit for one of the two trees that will be planted in the courtyard when the construction is complete. The tree will have a grate around it and the brickwork will match that in the rest of the courtyard. Two other trees (for a total of four) will be planted to replace the one removed in front of Lambda Rising.
What is the purpose of the big room in the New Wing of the Community Center?
The large main room of the new wing of the CAMP Rehbooth Community Center is multi-functional. First and most importantly it will be used to improve the ability of CAMP Rehoboth to live up to its mission and purpose (see page two of every issue of Letters). At present, our ability to create new programs and projects that fulfill our mission are severely limited because our meeting space is restricted to groups no larger than 12-15 people. When scheduling permits, the room will be available to other community groups and outside functions.
What happens to the construction if the financial goals of the summer are not met?
The Wish List and summer financial campaign was created to reduce the amount of money that the organization needed to borrow and thus reduce the size of the mortgage. The construction will be completed regardless of the amount raised this summer. Photo captions: The tree pit in the center of the new CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard. The curving "Founders' Circle" window begins to take shape in the new wing of the Community Center.
Thank you to all the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center Volunteers for the period of July 10-July 24.
Billy Bonn Tony Burns Harvey Chasser Joanne Ciconte Terry Colli Chuck Flanagan Tony Ghigi John Hammett Bill Hromnak Myra Kramer Matthew Krull Charlie Lee Jim McWilliams Michael Muller Dennis Nelms Chuck Oakes Jerry Oshinski Mark Owens Barb Ralph Ken Reilly Chris Sampson Kevin Smith John Spangler Martin Thaler Carlotta Whitney Linda Yingst
Rainbow Thumb Club*
Matt Carey Ward Ellinger Rob Freeman Tony Ghigi Steve Hoult Anne Mundel Bud Palmer Ken Reilly Tom White
*CAMP Courtyard Caretakers
Murray Archibald, Founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 10 July 25, 2008