Today is the second day of Sukkot, a traditionally festive holiday filled with large meals and time spent sleeping out under the stars. Sukkot was traditionally a pilgrimage holiday during the times of the Temple. It was meant to mark the end of the harvest. This holiday also serves to remind us of the Israelites’ experience wandering in the desert.
Today is also National Face Your Fears Day, a not-so-famous holiday started by Steve Hughes. According to Steve’s blog post from 2007, this holiday is meant to be “a one-of-a-kind catalyst designed to give people the permission, the encouragement, and the little nudge they need to step up to their fears and say no more.” This holiday serves to deliver a meaningful and powerful message.
I cannot help but draw a correlation between these two holidays and the experience of going to summer camp. In wandering in the desert, the Israelites were asked to put trust in new leaders and a new way of life. They were asked to face the ultimate fear: the unknown. They had no idea what this would entail, but it brought the promise of entering the Holy Land. It seems like a similar experience to that of kids going to summer camp. Campers are promised the best, albeit unknown, summer of their lives by parents, friends, and staff. This similarity gives way to the journey of our own Israelites (campers). It will be a difficult journey but everything will be provided for them. The campers, like the Israelites in the desert, will meet new people, learn new skills, face their fears with new challenges, and go through the process of discovering their identities.
So, on this day, the second day of Sukkot, we challenge you to embrace National Face Your Fears Day and push yourself to take a journey. Choose a fear and go after it. If you’re looking for a safe space, why not chose summer camp? It is a lot closer than the desert.