August 12, 2016
These are my GPS coordinates as I write this blog. I am in our home, which also doubles as our meeting spot, cabin meeting area and hotel (we have had 8 different people stay in the house this summer).
Some people might also say that these coordinates are the location of “camp”.
They would be wrong.
Camp is not a place or a location. It is a community. It is friends and heroes. It is laughs and the occasional tear.
Tomorrow, our last campers of the summer will leave around noon. Tomorrow evening, we will have a final meal with all the counselors where we will say goodbye and sing “Golden Champions” for the final time this summer.
Last year, a sister of a long time camper joined us as a counselor. During orientation, she explained that she is a stoic that had not cried in over 5 years. “Unlike my sister, I am not very sentimental.” As the summer progressed, she started to talk about how much her campers meant to her and how “real” her friendships seemed.
When we gathered for the final time and sang “Golden Champions”, she broke down. I would be lying if I said that this did not please me. This young woman who had declared herself immune to the pull of camp was weeping because camp had become part of her.
So after tomorrow night, “camp” will no longer be here. This site will become an exceptional outdoor education facility and a lovely backyard, but it will not be camp.
But rather than mourn that loss, I want to savor these last 24 hours.
Tonight, we will have our awards ceremony followed by Memory Lane. During Memory Lane, all the campers line up so that the campers can come by, give them a hug and say thank you.
This is perhaps my favorite camp tradition. I believe we do not thank the people who enrich our lives as often as we should; be it our parents, our teachers, our coaches, our teammates or our friends. Tonight we get it right. We celebrate each other and share our appreciation.
Tomorrow, camp will end, so we will embrace it while we can.