Once we start noticing intention, we see it everywhere, in everything. We relax into the glorious intentional care of a restaurant that notices all the details, and we get irritated at the default intention of the furnace-repair company that doesn’t follow through on its promise to let you know when they are on their way.
The summer camp my kids grew up going to is a model of consistent intention. Everything they do is a reflection of who they are and the experience they create for the kids at camp. It’s an (intentionally) small camp, nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, held on a working farm. The kids have chores (like tending the garden, taking care of the cows, and setting the table for meals), and they spend almost every waking hour outside. The camp has been run by the same family for three generations.
They send their communication via snail mail, and I know just when to expect it (quarterly). More than that, they send mail just to stay in touch—they send photos they took at camp on a holiday card, they send a letter in the spring giving us an update on the farm animals and the garden, and they say hi. The letters include a pen and ink drawing of some place on the camp grounds. This has been their standard for at least 30 years—I grew up going to this camp as well, and the look and voice of their letters has always been the same.
The family that runs the camp believes in the values of good, simple food, lots of time in nature, and contributing to the community around you. The kids don’t bring technology of any kind to camp, and parents and other loved ones are asked not to send candy or junk food. They believe that one of the best reasons for kids to go to camp is to have an experience away from their regular roles and responsibilities, so parents don’t visit and don’t phone, and the camp doesn’t post photos or have a live feed of what your kid is doing. It’s for them, not you.
The look of their communication, the type of people they hire to be counselors, the responsiveness of the staff, the families they ask to host small gatherings to help get the word out about the camp…every choice supports the place they are and the values they hold. That’s intention.