Why GRITS Are Good!

A decade ago, when I first started drafting a personal values statement, I was living on a friend’s couch in San Antonio. Applying for work by day and staring at the ceiling, anxiously awaiting sleep, by night. After spending the better part of two years of being underpaid, underfed, and on the brink of homelessness, despair was sinking in. I was losing sight of the path I’d imagined for myself. To keep myself on track, I began compiling a list of daily affirmations; a mantra to strengthen my resolve and express goals for my personal development. My current list has gone through a decade of re-evaluations and refinement, scarcely resembling the pages of disjointed, stream-of-consciousness ramblings of 2010. They improved me, as I improved them.

Increasing Camp’s Positive Impact

Shortly after joining the Heart O’ the Hills team, we had to travel to Midland, TX for the interment services of my great aunt, and local wonder-woman, Joan Baskin. Inspired by the widespread impact Aunt Joan had, and the number of lives she touched, both in her community and elsewhere, my mother and I immediately began discussing ways to increase the positive impact that our camp has on the lives of our campers. We brainstormed concepts we could integrate into daily life at camp. Seeking to increase our positive impact on the mental health and happiness of campers and counselors alike.

Inspired by our conversation on our return from Midland, and my years of introspection and reflection on personal development, we have produced a fresh Camp Values Statement. This fresh value statement is based around the acronym GRITS.


Grit- noun /grit/  2. Courage and resolve; strength of character

  • Gratitude: encouraging the girls to proactively pursue an attitude of positivity and thankfulness; being keenly aware of the amazing things we typically take for granted, and seeing them as the blessings that they are.
  • Resilience: altering your perspective to view life’s obstacles as opportunities to grow, learn, and strengthen yourself; to call on one’s reservoir of mental fortitude to carry on in times of need.
  • Integrity: doing the right thing at all times, in all circumstances. A consistent, uncompromising adherence to one’s ethical and moral values.
  • Thoughtfulness: being emotionally considerate and attentive to the needs of others; being mindful of the impact one’s actions have on others.
  • Sisterhood: using community and mentorship to uplift and empower our young ladies to be their best self and establish meaningful relationships.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth explanation of each of GRITS. (And a corresponding coloring sheet designed by our very own Rachel Pannell!) If you’re proud of your work, please post it in the comment section of the Facebook post. Or, if you don’t want it online, email it to deen@hohcamp.com!

I’m looking forward to seeing everybody’s artwork!
—Deen Howell

About the Author

Deen Howell

I was born and raised at Heart O' the Hills. I enjoy all things outdoorsy, playing and writing music, jiu-jitsu, muay thai, marksmanship, yoga, meditation, cooking, writing, and astronomy. I'm really excited to be part of the Heart O' the Hills team, and looking forward to many summers of excellence!

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