Img 3827.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

We said goodbye to our Mini I girls yesterday morning. This was a special group for us as there were so many first time campers in the session. Since I was without a voice for the entire first week, I had a lot of ground to make up this last week with them. If you have been around Keystone, you know that I promise to know all of my campers’ names. It is much easier to learn them when you are able to engage in conversations with them, but I was able to learn them all.

Very fortunately, I had enough of a voice to share thoughts about the lessons we learned in this Mini I session at campfire last night. Several of our first year campers struggled at the beginning with homesickness, and I am sure you read my blog about the first Wednesday of the session. The nodding heads and the smiles as I talked about where these girls arrived at the end of their session was a thrill to watch. It is a tremendous gift to understand you possess the ability to conquer a challenge that seemed insurmountable when it began two weeks earlier. The awards these girls received for their activities highlighted the turn-around they experienced and provided them with tangible, public recognition of their success. These girls now know that they can enter any new situation and successfully navigate the experience. They have gained confidence in their abilities: in making new friends, in group living, in learning new activities, and in making their own decisions.

Img 3690 2.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

I also share stories from Keystone’s history at campfire. Perhaps the favorite story for first year campers is how each of our cabins got their names. As I told the girls, having named cabins is one of the special features of Keystone, and for most all of our cabins, an interesting story accompanies that name. For example, try guessing the origin of L’Orioso, YoHo or Nokomis…and let’s not forget Tuck Shop! The girls were so engaged in the stories. As soon as I finished, hands shot up wanting more information on Miss Fannie, Miss Florence and why we are called Keystone. The role of storyteller resided with my father when he ran camp. Early in my career, I would pump him for information prior to each campfire so I would have a good story to share with the girls, and there are so many stories to tell from our 102 year history.

I love that the girls want to know more about their camp and its history. Since it has been in my family for 4 generations, the stories are more than those of a business; these are stories of my family and our larger camp family which also enjoys 4 generations of campers.

This morning was my first time leading flag raising this session, again due to the lack of a voice for so long. When I hiked up the hill to assume my position, the girls applauded. Many commented how much they had missed me, and I realized I had greatly underestimated how much my being in that spot conducting the ceremony meant to them. They look upon my presence at flag as one of our “traditions.”

Traditions play such an important role at camp. They tie us to those who came before and allow us to have a shared experience with other generations. We lean on traditions when change is swirling around us, but camp traditions can also ebb and flow. Some become more important than others at different points in time depending on the needs of the camp community, and new traditions are introduced as well. Traditions ground us in our camp experience. They are the “constant” of camp, and they make our Keystone experience unique from that of another camp.

Img 0898.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

Traditions play such an important role at camp. They tie us to those who came before and allow us to have a shared experience with other generations. We lean on traditions when change is swirling around us, but camp traditions can also ebb and flow. Some become more important than others at different points in time depending on the needs of the camp community, and new traditions are introduced as well. Traditions ground us in our camp experience. They are the “constant” of camp, and they make our Keystone experience unique from that of another camp.

We hope that coming to Keystone each summer becomes a tradition for your daughter. We want to share our tradition of growing strong, independent, and capable girls.

Growing strong, independent, and capable girls.

Share