This little pearl of wisdom spilled out of Gary while he was on the phone. He was explaining how we feel about the kids being counselors at camp. In these times of rising unemployment and stiff job competition it is hard to let go of the idea that internships and job experience are the only route to travel. Unless of course you understand the need they have to fill by going back to camp because you too, have known it first hand.
I have gushed about the way we feel about camp ad nauseam here, but bear with me on this one.
Read the title of this post and really think about it for a moment. If you ever went to summer camp you are smiling and nodding your head. If you have not, let me try to articulate the importance of this statement.
Camp is the essence of the freedom of summer. It is the place where you leave the social and scholastic pressures of the ten previous months at the threshold and you don’t look back for eight weeks. You can breathe and just BE YOU. The sweet core you without the hinderance of all that life piles on you. Yes, even as a kid. Or, in these times, especially as a kid. Sure there are social issues and competition, but somehow the aura that surrounds you at camp is one of tolerance. Kids of all kinds mesh into the fabric of the place.
When you walk into an alumni weekend at a sleepaway camp like we did this weekend, you see droves of young (and not so young) adults converging on the promised land of their childhoods. Some have just begun their journey down the path of adulthood. Some come back with their spouses in tow, trying to show them exactly why this place is so much a part of who they are today. Others are bringing their children to see the place in hopes that they will want to attend next year. And still others, like ourselves, watch our own kids become the leaders of the place.
How’s this for full circle? I watched my daughter tour a prospective camper around the place, giving her the full flavor of why she would want to be a camper there. This 7-year-old? She was the child of a woman who was my camper when she was ten. And the kid looked just like the mom did when I had her.
History. Love. Belonging. A sense of place.
Camp is short. And life is surely long.
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6 responses to “Time to Cry Tuesday – Camp is Short and Life is Long”
I love this post my friend. Life is long…but filled with memories of freedom, right? Those fleeting moments when all*is*right*with*the*world.
My memory – Camp Kear Sarge – White Mountains NH. Blueberry Island; we would kayak and pick blues. And kayak back. If only I knew then…
BTW, I have always wanted to return to camp. But the Liz version – saunas, steam, massages, gourmet food, and escape. Wait; that’s called a spa, right?!
No time to cry but I did…
You put it so eloquently – it’s what I know but never said. Thanks. For me there’s one more piece. I learned what being a part of a community meant at camp. 1972. Hurricane Agnes. Huge numbers of campers were brought to camp – no bags, no anything – and knowing there was no home to go back to. The camp, the rest of the kids, the parents…they made it safe for these kids. We all brought extra clothing, extra everything. We learned what loss was and what community means. I was 10.
When I think about camp, I think about growing up, freedom, friends, songs, Judaism, folk music. But mostly about being a part of something more important.
I agree. My kids look back so fondly at that time. No one gets to live like that anymore if they don’t go to camp.
What you wrote was so beautiful (and I thought that even before I got to the part about me and my 7 year old daughter!)
She had a great time and is looking forward to her first summer as a CNW girl!
Seems that there are many who share the sentiment here. I even received some emails and phone calls from those who are less bold about commenting.
Sharon, welcome. So happy to hear your daughter will be a camper next year, she is a natural.