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When we broke into the house…

Oct 11, 2023

You know Pippi Longstocking, right? She is so wonderfully famous on the whole planet. The writer of Pippi, Astrid Lindgren from Sweden wrote many more amazing stories for children. My all time favorite is: “Ronja the Robber's Daughter”. Of course. I’m named after the fearless girl who loved to stroll through the woods named after her father: “Mattis forest”. If you’ve never heard about this book I can highly recommend it to you. It’s as beautiful to read for grownups as for kids. My favorite quote of Mattis is when he teaches Ronja to not be afraid of the woods, “You have to become part of it!” Always, when I’m alone in the woods, I think of his words and they feel so true. As soon as I’m part of the woods and not an intruder, I relax and feel safe.

This book was the inspiration of a robber-camp with our cup scouts. We have been to this one camp-house in the Swiss mountains many times over the years and we knew it was the best place for that theme of the week. We always went up to the house we rented before the little boys arrived on Monday to prep and decorate the whole place. This time (it was in 1996) we prepared a robber’s bar in the common room and a lounge with comic books. It looked sooooo cool! Then we had the idea that we could break into the house and conquer and claim it to begin the camp with a BAM.

There was one window which was ideal for that buuuut they had to get by the bar which should have been a surprise for the first evening. So, we blacked out the whole room really carefully and when they climbed into the house we gathered at the end of the room before we snuck in one by one with one flash light without them seeing anything of the bar : ). They were too nervous to be quiet enough as we were robbing this house. These little boys were IN the story completely. That was always the thing that motivated me the most. To prepare adventures where they were the heroes and experienced the story to the fullest.

Of course they were all decent young fellows so one asked very concerned even though fascinated: “Are we allowed to do this?”, while climbing through the window : ). “We are robbers and we are in scout camp and that’s why it’s totally ok to do this”, I reaffirmed to him.

One thing I’m proud of bringing into the camp organization was: Drawing a plan of all the bedrooms in the various floors. Usually before I had this idea everybody was so stressed to run to the rooms and pick the best bed first and hopefully next to a buddy.

Not anymore. We wrote down who wanted to sleep next to whom and who wanted to be in a room together. Until every single one of them was very happy on paper we didn’t go anywhere. I always witnessed the relief on these boys' faces with a happy smile. Then they could go upstairs with their biiig backpack totally relaxed as they knew e.g.: I’ll be next to my brother and bestie and all is fine.

These camps were the BEST. Some elements were always there: A full day hike with lunch on some mountain. One afternoon was reserved for various crafts from creating amulets from soapstone to knot friendship bracelets in different styles, helping with printing the camp's print on the scout shirts… This time we did a robber’s olympics with high jump into the mud and other robbery disciplines with a mandatory shower for all the boys afterwards…we had a blast.

Hanging out at the bar was the daily superhit after dinner for them. They could earn robber-dollars for various activities during the day so that was the currency to pay for their fancy drinks and snacks. We even served the syrup and juice-mixes in glasses rimmed with sugar. Gooood times. Such good times.

And now they are all grownups with their own family. I ran into one of them when Prita was here and we went standup paddling and swimming at the lake I grew up at. He told me that he still has the letters we wrote together in those camps. Letters? Of course, we always had a camp-mailbox where we wrote letters eagerly to each other. The leading team always made sure that everybody got a letter every night.

Stories have such an impact on ourselves. Experienced stories are even better than a book or a movie or a theme park. YOU are IN them. We did this every year in spring and fall for these boys and in the end we “big kids” had soooo much fun too.

Let’s treat our lives like this too. As much as possible! We are living this adventure. We are IN IT! This is REAL. And YOU are the main act of your story!! YOU choose the soundtrack and the script and even who else is getting leading roles. YOU are in charge and in power. Not for everything (well I believe we can influence a lot more than we think we can) but for A LOT of things. Like all areas of our life deserve to get the attention of YOU, the main act. How do I want to live? Who gets to spend time with me? What do I do on this stage of life?

I had a big breakthrough last week about how I can say what I do in my work in one sentence:

“Hey, I’m Ronja Sakata and I help you to create joy and lightness every day in every area of your life.” Boooom! I have a big smile on my face writing this.

Every day.

In every area of your life.

And did you see the important part: Creating joy! Not waiting for it or searching for it. No. CREATING it.

That’s so powerful and beautiful and creative and very very important: Totally individual. That’s what we do in Joy Academy. You find out how you want to create joy every day in every area of your life YOUR way.

Let’s create fun robber’s bars (your version of it) with sugar rimmed glasses (your version of it) and make sure to sleep next to your bestie(s) upfront so that you feel safe, seen, happy and full of joy.


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