August 7, 2015
Usually, I write my blog in the evening. This morning, I unexpectedly have 30 minutes and want to write.First, let me explain how incredibly rare it is to have 30 minutes free at an overnight camp. Camp days are FULL. In a typical week, Susie Ma’am and I will have 30-40 hours committed just to cabin meetings, flag raisings, morning meetings, torchlights and Senior Camper talks. That is before an important parent phone call or a meeting with a homesick first time camper or a blog or special events.
At the first of each summer, we struggle a little bit with the transition from “normal” life to the camp schedule. In “normal” life, I often start cooking around 6 or 6:30. [Note: I really like to cook. I think much of my love of meal preparation comes from the instantaneous gratification it gives. As camp directors, our “product” is young people who are more confident and competent. Helping young people find their inner champion is deeply motivating to us, but it takes a LOT of time. A meal goes from prep to dish cleaning in 2 hours. That is a nice contrast to impacting children.] With a “normal” schedule, the workday normally has a transition into family time around dinner.
During the summer, everything changes. At 6:30, we go to dinner and the workday continues. After the meal, we have 20-30 minutes before we go back out to Torchlight and the evening activities. Some nights end around 11.
Our children are all at camp (or at other overnight camps), so we do not lose the family time, but we are essentially always “on”.
Please do not think I am complaining. We love what we do and it brings real joy. We would not trade a week in the summer for a week any other time. But it is a little hard to be “on” close to 15-16 hours each day.
So to look up and have half an hour with no call on my time is an unexpected serendipity.
We are officially in the nostalgic part of the summer. We can see the end of the entire season is just one week away. All the little inconveniences fade as we realize that this community of special people is about to end.
Campers and counselors often ask us “what is it like to live at camp all year?” We answer that we do not live “at camp”. We live on the property that hosts camp. OK, it is a nice back yard, but it is NOT camp. Camp is the people. Camp is the community. Camp is the excitement of meeting the first time campers and the joy of welcoming the returners home. Camp is being able to work side-by-side with people from a dozen countries and know you are united by a deep sense of love and a shared purpose. Camp is the sea of smiling faces who make friends, build confidence, and learn new skills while they’re here.
So we plan to spend the next week savoring the last days of camp. I hope you enjoy your last days of summer as well!
P.S. The photo is from our Trojan/Spartan games on Wednesday. We had a particularly good canoe race and I thought this a wonderfully “campy” photograph.