Today is Kindness Day at CTT! Led by our 6th graders, Kindness Day is a new Timber Tops tradition this year! 6th graders woke up the camp, made signs and banners to decorate the dance pavilion, and announced today’s mission at lineup: Practice KINDNESS! Complete with a “Kindness Corner” to share kind deeds on post-it notes, camp felt extra happy, friendly, warm and kind today.
With KINDNESS as a backdrop, today was another action-packed one here at camp. We sent girls out for a dance competition, a climbing competition, a canoeing competition, a Top Cooks trip, and a hiking trip. We also hosted a swim meet here at CTT! It was good practice: friendly, kind competition is the name of the game today and what we strive for every day at CTT!
But the real culmination of Kindness Day is tonight’s Warm Fuzzy Campfire.
There’s an old Timber Tops tradition of the warm fuzzy campfire, and tonight it’s happening. An especially beautiful, starry night will set the backdrop for another perfect evening by Lake Selma, sitting around the campfire in our red and white, watching the head staff act out the warm fuzzy story in the moonlight. Then the entire camp will receive and exchange warm fuzzies. In fact, many Timber Tops alumni out in the world still have their old warm fuzzies: on bulletin boards, in desk drawers, in college dorms, even in baby nurseries across the country and around the world. There’s just something about those warm fuzzies that leave a lasting impression on our hearts.
A Timber Tops campfire and tradition doesn’t get much better than this story that has stood the test of time. It’s a story of inclusion, kindness, and compassion, and we can’t think of anything more important. There’s a song to go with it too which we’ll sing tonight while exchanging warm fuzzies: “I will give you a warm and gentle fuzzy, ’cause I love you as you are! If you want a warm and gentle fuzzy, open up your heart.”
For your reading pleasure, we give you the warm fuzzy campfire story:
Many years ago in a beautiful Rocky Mountain Valley isolated almost totally from the outside world, was the exciting little village of Swabeedoo. The people of the village called themselves Swabeedoo-dahas. These people went about their land always with broad smiles and cheery greetings from everybody. One of the happiest of these Swabeedoo-dahas was the family of Jim Golly-Wog. This family of Jim, his wife Molly, his son Gary and daughter Becky, lived their lives without ever uttering a cruel word or having a hateful thought about each other or anyone in Swabeedoo.
One of the things the Swabeedoo-dahas liked best was to give Warm Fuzzies to one another. Each of these little people carried over his shoulder a bag, and the bag was filled with Warm Fuzzies. Whenever two Swabeedoo-dahas would meet, each would give the other a Warm Fuzzy. Now, it is an especially nice thing to give someone a Warm Fuzzy. It tells the person that they are special. It is a way of saying, “I like you.” And, of course, it is very pleasing to have someone give you a Warm Fuzzy. When you have a warm fuzzy held out to you, when you take it and feel its warmth and fuzziness against your cheek, and place it gently and lovingly in your fuzzy-bag with all the others, it’s just extra nice. You feel noticed and appreciated when someone gives you a Warm Fuzzy, and you want to do something nice for them in return. The people of Swabeedoo loved to give Warm Fuzzies and get Warm Fuzzies, and their lives together were very happy indeed.
Outside the village, in a cold, dark cave, there lived a great green troll. He didn’t really like to live all by himself, and sometimes he was lonely, but he couldn’t seem to get along with anyone else, and somehow he didn’t enjoy exchanging warm fuzzies. He thought it was a lot of nonsense. “It isn’t cool,” was what he would say. He thought “Someday when I get the chance, I’ll get them all to be like me”.
One fine summer day the entire town of Swabeedoo was enjoying their annual town picnic in the beautiful little park at the edge of the village. Jim decided that it was a perfect day to take a walk throughout the beautiful forest that surrounded the park. As he was walking, he saw the troll trying to hide behind a large tree.
“Hasn’t this been a fine Swabeedoo-dahas day?” said Jim with a smile. “Here, have a Warm Fuzzie. This one’s special, and I saved it just for you, for I don’t see you in town that often.”
The troll looked about to see that no one else was listening, Then he put an arm around the little Swabeedoo-dahas and whispered in his ear.
“Hey, don’t you know that if you give away all your Warm Fuzzies, one of these Sawbeedoo-dahas days of your, you’re going to run out of them?”
He noted the sudden look of surprise and fear on Jim’s face, and then added, peering inside his fuzzy bag, “Right now I’d say you’ve only got about two hundred and seventeen Warm Fuzzies left in there. Better go easy on handin’ ‘em out.”
With that, the troll padded away on his big green feet, leaving a very confused and unhappy Swabeedoo-dah standing there.
Now, the troll knew that every one of the people had an inexhaustible supply of Warm Fuzzies. He knew that as soon as you give a Warm Fuzzy to someone, another comes to take its place, and that you can never run out of Warm Fuzzies in your whole life. But he counted on the trusting nature of the little Swabeedoo-daha and on something else that he knew about himself. He just wanted to see if this same something was inside the people. So he told his fib, went back to his cave and waited.
Jim wondered back to the picnic, but he really didn’t enjoy the day like the rest of the Swabeedoo-daha.
The next morning, as Jim came down to breakfast, Molly noticed that he didn’t kiss her like he usually did, nor did they exchange Warm Fuzzies. She knew that something was wrong. “We must save our Warm Fuzzies or we will run out and then our lives will be miserable”, said Jim, and immediately Molly thought “Run out? That can’t happen!” And together they securely closed their bags of Warm Fuzzies.
When Gary and Becky came down to breakfast, they were told to tie their bag of Warm Fuzzies and not give any more away. Gary and Becky both cried out “Why? We love to give Warm Fuzzies.” “Shut up” said Jim “and do as you are told.” The children had never heard their father talk this way before. “We must save our Fuzzies or we will run out.” Jim told them. “Now go to school.” So the children left the house very sad, but knowing they had to save their Fuzzies.
Well, it didn’t take long. The first person to come along and greet Jim on his way to work was a fine friend of his, with whom he had exchanged many Warm Fuzzies before. This person was surprised to find that when he gave his friend a Warm Fuzzy this time, he received only a strange look. Then he was told to beware of running low on his supply of Warm Fuzzies, and his friend was suddenly gone. The Swabeedoo-daha told three others that same evening: “I’m sorry, but no Warm Fuzzies for you. I’ve got to make sure that I don’t run out.” The children that day at school, and play, also did not share their Warm Fuzzies with their playmates. They too were afraid they would run out
By the next day the word had spread over the entire village. Everyone had suddenly begun to hoard their Warm Fuzzies. They still gave some away, but very, very carefully. “Discriminatingly,” they said.
The Swabeedoo-dah began to watch each other with distrust, and to hide their bags of Warm Fuzzies under their beds for protection at night. Quarrels broke out over who had the most Warm Fuzzies, and pretty soon people began to trade Warm Fuzzies for things, instead of just giving them away. Figuring there were only so many Warm Fuzzies to go around, the mayor of Swabeedoo proclaimed he Fuzzies a system of exchange, and before long, the people were haggling over how many Warm Fuzzies it cost to eat a meal at someone’s house, or stay overnight. There were even some instances of Warm Fuzzy robberies Some dark evenings, the kind Swabeedoo-daha had enjoyed for strolling in the parks and streets and greeting each other to exchange Warm Fuzzies, it wasn’t even safe to be out and about.
Worst of all, something began to happen to the health of the people. Many of them began to complain of pains in their shoulders and backs, and as time went on more and more Swabeedoo-dah became afflicted with a disease known as softening of the backbone. They walked hunched over or (in the worst cases) bent almost to the ground. Their fuzzy bags dragged on the ground. Many people in the town began to say it was the weight of the bags that caused the disease, and that it was better to leave the bags at home, locked up safely. After awhile, you could hardly find a Swabeedoo-dah with his fuzzy bag on.
At first the troll was pleased with the results of his rumor. He had wanted to see whether the people would feel and act as he did sometimes when he thought selfish thoughts, and so he felt successful with the way things were going. Now, when he went into town, he was no longer greeted with smiles and offerings of Warm Fuzzies. Instead, the people looked at him as they looked at each other – with suspicion – and he rather liked that. To him, that was just facing reality. “It’s the way the world is,” he would say.
But as time went on, worse things happened. Perhaps because of the softening of the backbone, perhaps no one ever gave them a Warm Fuzzy (no one knows), a few of the people died. Now, all the happiness was gone from the village of Swabeedoo, as it mourned the passing of its citizens.
When the troll heard about this, he said to himself, “Gosh! I just wanted them to see how the world was. I didn’t mean for them to die!” He wondered what to do. And, then he thought of a plan.
Deep in his cave, the troll had discovered a secret mine of Cold Pricklies. He had spent many years digging the Cold Pricklies our of the mountain, for he liked their cold prickly feel, and he loved to see his growing hoard of Cold Pricklies, to know that they were all his. He decided to share them with the Swabeedoo-dahs. He filled hundreds of bags with Cold Pricklies and took them into the village.
When the people saw the bags of Cold Pricklies, they were glad, and they received them gratefully. Now they had something to give one another. The only trouble was that it was just not as much fun to give a Cold Prickly as a Warm Fuzzy. Giving a Cold Prickly seemed to be a way of reaching out to another person, but not so much in friendship and love. And getting a Cold Prickly gave one a funny feeling, too. You were not just sure what the giver meant, for after all, Cold Pricklies were cold and prickly. It was nice to get something from another person, but it left you confused and often with stung fingers. The usual thing a Swabeedoo-dah said when he received a Warm Fuzzy was “WOW!” But when someone gave him a Cold Prickly there was usually nothing to say but “UGH!”
Some of the people went back to giving Warm Fuzzies, and, of course, each time a Warm Fuzzy was given it made the giver and the receiver very joyful indeed. Perhaps it was that it was so unusual to get a Warm Fuzzy from someone when there were so many Cold Pricklies being exchanged. Suspicion was still there in the minds of the people of Swabeedoo.
You could hear it in their comments: “Warm Fuzzy, eh? Wonder what’s behind it?”
“I never know if my Warm Fuzzies are really appreciated.”
“ I gave a Warm Fuzzy and got a Cold Prickly in return. Just see if I do that again.”
“You never know about Mabel. A Warm Fuzzy one minute, a Cold Prickly the next.”
“If you won’t give me a cold prickly, I won’t give you one. Okay?”
“I want to give my boy a Warm Fuzzy, but he just doesn’t deserve it.”
“Sometimes I wonder if Grandpa has a Warm Fuzzy to his name.”
Probably every citizen of Swabeedoo would gladly have returned to the former days when the giving and getting of Warm Fuzzies had been so common. Sometimes a person would think to himself how very fine it had felt to get a Warm Fuzzy from someone, and he would receive to go out and begin giving them to everyone as freely as of old.
But something always stopped him.
Then one bright sunshiny day, a stranger arrived in the town carrying her bag of Warm Fuzzies. The stranger, whose name was Lovey Generous began to greet the Swabeedoo-dahs and hand them Warm Fuzzies. She couldn’t understand why everyone looked at her in such a strange way and avoided even talking to her.
As she passed the Gollywog home, Becky and Gary were playing in the yard. She went over and gave them each a Warm Fuzzy and saw the excitement and joy in their eyes. And as she talked with them, they explained why they were not allowed to give Warm fuzzies. Love explained to the children that Warm Fuzzies meant friendship and happiness and they were wrong to hoard them.
That night after Jim and Molly had gone to bed, Gary and Becky went up to the attic and unlocked the beg trunk that all of the families Warm Fuzzies were kept in. They took out their bags and crept back to their bedrooms and went to sleep with many happy thoughts dancing in their heads.
The next day, the children went off to school carefully hiding their Warm Fuzzies. When in school they told their friends the story of the stranger and began to notice how excited the children were. When Becky and Molly got home that night, their parents wondered why they seemed to be different. Finally Gary and Becky, bursting with happiness told their parents what they had done. Jim and Molly after listening to the children knew the children were right. So they too went to the attic and got their bags of Warm Fuzzies. “Maybe,” Jim said, “if we start to give Warm Fuzzies again, others will too.” So the next day the whole Gollywog family passed out Fuzzies to everyone they met. Even the troll was glad the Warm Fuzzies returned for he had finally realized that suspicion and hatred made everyone miserable, and when last seen he was standing in the town square happily giving Warm Fuzzies to everyone. The Gollywog family and all the Swabeedoo-dahs still live happily in their beautiful Rocky Mountain home.
And now we would like to share with you that same feeling of happiness, friendship and caring. We have for you, your very own Warm Fuzzy. We give it knowing that you too will share your Warm Fuzzies with everyone you meet, and someday all the people of the world will know about and share Warm Fuzzies.
Together sing: “I will give you a warm and gentle fuzzy, ’cause I love you as you are! If you want a warm and gentle fuzzy, open up your heart.”