The Intentionality of Happiness

02 Sep 2020

The smell of Pumpkin Spice Lattes is around the corner, which means that it’s time for schools to begin. Administrators and educators are working diligently to reopen schools up around the country in a time when every day is more confusing than the last. At NCSY Camp Maor, we took cues from the way schools dealt with non-traditional learning to help create our program and now it’s time for us to return the favor. I believe that the lessons we learned in camp this summer can help schools support children’s Social Emotional well-being during the 2021 school year.

This summer our overnight performing arts camp, NCSY Camp Maor, pivoted to Maor@Home, a one month program entirely on Zoom. Campers and staff joined together from over 25 different cities in the US and Canada to join together as one community during our summer of “Gratitude to Greatness”. Our staff re-envisioned how to direct plays, teach harmonies and choreography and engage campers in experiential Torah study. We even recreated interactive night activities just like we would have in camp. Some of our favorites such as Garbage Bag Fashion Show, where campers created unique fashions using only garbage bags as their “fabric”, and a Murder Mystery starring some of our very special staff members.

What was behind our success this summer? We used a three pronged intentional approach which unintentionally mirrored Jonathan Haidt’s Happiness Hypothesis. According to Haidt in The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, there are three factors that contribute to a person’s happiness:

Improve your personal connections by showing gratitude.
Utilize your unique strengths at work.
Embed yourself in a community.
Improve your personal connections by showing gratitude.

Continue reading at the Times of Israel

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.