One of the things I discovered while working as program director at camp, was that for camp to be successful and fun you had to have activities that were "perceived risks" for the kids. For without risk there was no adventure and so no fun. If we wanted children to come, they had to have had some heart stopping adventurous experiences.
Let's go back to the above mentioned zip-line. I have seen many a camper stand for a long while on the ledge, working up the courage to launch themselves into space. It was not only the height but also the fact that they'd be hanging from what seemed like a very slim metal bar for the trip over the threatening pond, which looked like an ocean below.
Even though they were harnessed and belted in to a safety cable, many of them did not seem to understand that they were perfectly safe. That if they did happen to let go they would not fall into the water. Even seeing their friends make it across did not dampen their fears. No matter how much we explained this safety feature, they felt they were facing a major risk to life and limb.
For the child on the platform 40 feet high above the water, this "perceived risk" was a true mind blowing adventure. It was this that made life at camp fun and exciting and memorable for them. It was the participation in these activities, overcoming their fears that brought new confidence and made life at camp so fun and an adventure worth living. Overcoming these perceived risks gave them bragging rights and stories which they could tell to all their friends all winter long. All in anticipation of returning the next summer for more of the same.
So, we, Odia, Wilma and myself are taking the risk, stepping off the edge and putting on an art show. Not only has creating the pieces been a healing experience for us, this perceived risk of deciding to put our work on display feels risky. It feels vulnerable. There are questions. What will people think? Will anyone come? Will people be able to tell that this creative work has had healing affects in our lives? Should we have done this?
Yes, already we see just planning this event, setting a date for the showing has amped up new life, energy and meaning into our efforts. But, the truth is we have stepped into space, the pulley is beginning to hum along the zip-line cable.
But, just a minute....where is that safety harness? ...oh oh!