Yes. AND! by Nana
One of the things I was taken by while working at Stomping Ground was the amazing aura of positivity; it surrounded everything we did. It was organic, genuine, and infectious. We started the day with a meeting to let everyone know the plans for the day. Somewhere along the line, Laura and Jack began singing “Tell me something good!” to the tune of one of my favorite songs by the same name. Kids and staff would get called on, shouting out random good things that were happening. “I saw a newt in the lake!” “We had chocolate croissants at breakfast!” “It’s not raining!” I looked forward to thinking of things I could say at the meeting; it wasn’t hard to come up with suggestions.
Imagine working at a place where, at any moment, someone would call out your name, with a big smile on their face. “NANA!” I loved my camp nickname, and heard it multiple times a day. I loved walking past groups of people and sticking out my hand, knowing I’d get a high five from at least three people.
Ideas were always met with a concept I learned from taking Improv classes. It’s the concept of YES, AND…in improv, when people are onstage, one person has an idea, and the other person, or people, go with it, no matter how ridiculous it is. “I saw a dinosaur behind the bathroom!” “YES, and we’re gonna need more toilet paper!” When I had ideas about camp, I was always met with a yes, even if the idea never came to fruition. Can you imagine a place where you hear, “That’s a good idea! Can you write it down?” more than, “Hmm, I don’t think that would work.” One time I got cocky. Jack said to me, “Here at camp, you’ll be walking more than you usually do.” I puffed up my chest and said, “Well, actually I walk 10,000 steps a day…” Jack immediately responded with, “Well, you’ll use your arms more, then!” He disarmed me (pun intended) with positivity.
My last example is one I use all the time now, and I encourage others to also. I kept hearing Jack say AND instead of BUT. “You’ll be working a lot of hours…AND you’ll have a great time!” “It’s raining…AND we have lots of ideas for activities!” I heard it over and over, and I took note of it every time. It’s amazing how one little word can change one’s perspective.
Next time you’re with a friend, colleague, or family member, try a little YES, AND…guaranteed, it’ll put a smile on their face and yours.