Guest blogger, Carrie Murphey, writes a poignant passage about camp here:
In this moment snugged squarely into the season of gratitude and giving, I want to try to share my gratitude for what camp has given me over the years.
While camp is never far from my heart, the truth is, I haven’t worked at camp in five years now. I love my job as a college dean but I must report, the World Outside of Camp (W.O.o.C. for the fellow acronym-makers out there) is ever-so-slightly less amazing than every single moment is of camp. As such, I find myself thinking of camp often. Occasionally, it’s wistful longing for a campfire by the lake, but more often than not, it’s small everyday moments that help keep camp a daily touchstone.
Sitting in a chaotic staff meeting where many voices are trying to be heard and good ideas raised, I recall boisterous meals in the Dining Hall, working to listen with my whole ears – to tales of tag-up, swims in the lake, rest hour shack shenanigans – and add my voice when it is truly an addition, and not just because I am itching to make sure it still works.
Supporting students through their course selection process for next semester, I want them to pick topics in which they have a genuine and personal interest, rather than make a choice simply based on what their roommates or friends are doing. I think often of mornings at the tag-up board where Alex counsels Runoia campers into the same sort of thought process. “Are you really interested in being out on the water today or would you be happier playing tennis?” Making choices for yourself is a learned skill and one you get the chance to exercise every day at camp. I wish for days where all my available choices were as much fun as the ones at camp!
I think of camp at odd times and regular times (from my desk, watching as the sun goes down outside the window, I regularly find myself singing “Taps” in my head), and most often as I reflect on a new friendship I’m developing or an old one that I’m trying to keep active. For all the skills that camp builds, none is more important than those you pick up living in a cabin with fellow campers and counselors. You won’t think of how important your shack bonding time was, or how invaluable opening day name games were, until you come face-to-face with a new person and find yourself able to make comforting and comfortable conversation. Perhaps it is through those conversations that you’re able to develop a friendship out of a chance encounter. If you’re lucky, there’s always the possibility that your camp friendship skills will allow you to develop even a non-camp person (they exist!) into the type of friend you thought was only possible at camp.
This season and every day, I’m grateful for all of the memories I have of wonderful times at camp (and yes, particularly those involving campfire), but the real gift that camp gave me are the countless moments when camp is with me in the World Outside of Camp.
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