July 29, 2011
I have such mixed feelings about this night.
I hate the realization that many of our campers would be leaving.
I love the fact that we celebrate our community and each other.
Tonight we had our awards night. The night is broken into three parts.
We begin talking about “what we do” and what we have accomplished. We acknowledge campers who have gained skills and excelled in different activities.
Second, we talk about “who we are”. In this segment, we honor our most outstanding cabinmates and our Spirit and Bearer of the Torch. As we tell the campers, everyone of us make the fire that is the torch. The Spirit of the Torch and the Bearer of the Torch are simply the persons that we have chosen to represent our community - the first among equals.
Finally, we line up all the counselors in a giant horseshoe for Memory Lane. Memory Lane, like wedding rehearsal dinners, is special because people take the time to tell people that they care about them. Every camper gets a chance to say thank you to every counselor. It is a great way to end our evening - appreciating our community.
When I returned from Memory Lane, I saw the following message from a first time camp family whose son will be leaving tomorrow. Here it is (to respect their privacy, I have changed the camper’s name to Elliot Ness (no reason for that name - seems as good as any):
“A heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to the counselors and staff at CC for sharing your time, energy and consideration with Elliot Ness. It was a tremendous experience for him-especially to be away from home for 2 weeks! Steve, your blog re: “overstated letters home” was timely and very helpful—we’ve got a great letter to show you on Saturday! Susie, like you, awaiting the arrival of children home, I can’t wait to arrive at camp tomorrow morning and wrap my arms around the part of my heart that has been absent for 2 weeks. And, for all of you who touched Elliot’s life w/ a smile, lesson or word of encouragement that we may not get a chance to thank tomorrow, we are humbled and greatful for your presence in Elliot’s life!”
Reading this was a great ending to a great day. I just want to say to this mom (and to all of you) one simple thing: thank you for letting your child be part of our camp family. As we have said before, Susie Ma’am and I want to be partners with you in helping your child grow and flourish. We deeply appreciate the adults who help our children grow. Being a parent is a wonderful calling, but it is challenging and so important. Having allies is a gift. We hope that if we are allies to you, others will be allies with ours.
We cannot wait to see you some of you tomorrow!
The campers who are staying will have a fantastic day of pool parties, special activities and a special movie night. Another wonderful day tomorrow!