Laughter Is An Instant Vacation
By Mary Gomillion, Director of Children’s Education – CNC
Comedian Milton Berle coined the phrase Laughter is an Instant Vacation. He probably knew that a rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling. I think this is why my toddler grandson waddles around with that cute, dimpled smile of his most all the time. With bright eyes and a flushed face, he belly laughs which brings about laughing in those lucky to be within earshot of him. Laughter actually is spontaneous and contagious. In the November 2000 issue of Psychology Today research shows that the irresistibility of others’ laughter has its roots in the neurological mechanism of laugh detection. The fact that laughter is contagious raises the intriguing possibility that humans have an auditory laugh detector – a circuit in the brain that responds exclusively to laughter. Once triggered, the laugh detector activates a laugh generator, a neural circuit that causes us in turn to produce laughter. I don’t know about the rest of you but my laugh generator works just fine. It developed at an early age and being around my grandson lets me know the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Spontaneous laughter is clearly under minimal conscious control. I remember well as a youngster trying so hard not to laugh with my sister while in church. I can’t really remember what was so funny except that we had this unspoken connection at that moment in time and it was hilarious. The fact that we were required to be quiet and pay attention just made it worse. My sister and I had instant vacations while in church on several occasions and my parents were not too happy about it. Laughter is like that. All the right factors come together to make a great moment of laughter happen.
Have you noticed that it is hard to re-create the kind of recreation that contributes to a perfect fit of laughter? There are ways to plan for the greatest potential of a high definition laughing experience that fits perfectly into what is right in this world. This is recreational planning at its best! At the Cibolo Nature Center Summer Day Camp we plan for laughter in all stages of camp planning. We know that most of our campers will have just spent 180 days inside the four walls of a school classroom. Summer campers have earned their right to laugh out loud! Get them outside parents and guardians and give them what they deserve!
Laughter binds people together and that makes for a happy camp and happy campers. When campers arrive in the morning at the CNC we have the Greeting Gauntlet which is a welcome tunnel of counselor arms cheering on every camper. They call each camper by name and let them know that the camp day is that much more special because they are there! To get the campers all together in the morning and see bright shining faces we have the welcome circle. Inside this circle is a breed of camp counselors that transform themselves from mild mannered teenagers into a troupe of crazy-fun. The goal of this exercise is to demonstrate to those nervous and not so happy campers how to just BE FREE TO BE – which they all eventually do. The transformation is amazing! By the 2nd day of camp even the most inhibited camper is now inside the circle showing off an amazing display of the Chicken Dance in an effort to get his lost and found baseball cap back. All during this camp ritual is the wonderful sound of laughter and silliness – the way summer should be! Our camp counselors are all very good with the campers. Most of them were once CNC summer campers themselves and have come back year after year. They have a small amount of time to make a huge impact on our campers. When someone can make you see this imperfect world as beautiful – even if only for a short while- they are worth keeping around.
The Cibolo Nature Center Summer Camp has two camps – nature camp and art camp that run for seven individual weeks during June and July. Nature camp is from 9:00 am to 1:30 pm and art camp is from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Campers can have a full day of “in your face” nature play and creative fun right here in Boerne. We guarantee to send them home tired and happy. More information about our summer camp program is on the CNC web site at www.cibolo.org . Plan for summer and plan for laughter at the CNC.
Every Saturday in June
Farmers Market at the Cibolo, 33 Herff Road, Boerne
8:30 am -12:30 pm
The Farmers Market at the Cibolo features locally produced,
high-quality organic or natural foods and products such as vegetables
and fruits, heritage lamb, pork, farm-fresh eggs, exclusively created
baked goods, artisan chocolates, edible ornamental plants and organic
gardening supplies – plus a demonstration organic veggie garden.
Enjoy breakfast and listen to live music while you shop.
Cibolo Nature Center Programs
JUNE 1: Rain Dance Festival, Location: Herff Farm, 33 Herff Road, Boerne
Time: 10 am – 2 pm, Cost: FREE
JUNE 8: Kid’s Club: Insect Hunt! Location: CNC Visitor Center
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 am, Cost: $5.00 per family
JUNE 10-14: Summer Camp Week 1, Nature: Creek Week, Art: Impress Me!
JUNE 17-21: Summer Camp Week 2, Nature: Camp Apache, Art: Sculpture Week
JUNE 18: Mother Nature’s Storytime: Dragon Flies! Location: CNC Visitors Center
Time: 10 – 11 AM, Cost: $5.00 per family
JUNE 22: Moondance Concert Series! – Brother Fork & The Spooners
Location: CNC Stage, Time: 7:30 – 10:30 pm
Cost: $7.50 members; $10 non-members; $5.00 age 65 & older; kids 12 & under are free.
JUNE 24-28: Summer Camp Week 3, Nature: Let’s Go Fishing! Art: Art Expedition
Call 830.249.4616 or go to www.cibolo.org/calendar
for further details on any of these events.