How far we have come together! This last week of the session has been building to a crescendo, the height of which will be realized tonight at final campfire. With each passing day, you feel the strength of the group building, and you become very aware of the confidence the camp experience has instilled in the girls. As I watched our dance, gymnastics and a capella groups perform last night, the energy in the room was palpable. The girls on stage stood proud and tall as they presented their efforts to their friends, their fellow campers and our staff. The members of the audience provided incredible support of each and every performance: cheering, calling out individual names, applauding loudly and celebrating the success of each performer. Many hugs and many tears concluded the evening. If asked, I would guess the most commonly heard phrase this week was, “You’ve got this; you can do it.”
I was especially touched when a group of our CITs performed a song I had never heard before: Taylor Swift’s “Never Grow Up.” These girls have been together for six years here at camp. They are rising seniors in high school with college applications looming over them in the fall, and they are definitely growing up! After playing the song through a couple of times today, I certainly understand the poignancy of the lyrics for them, and for all of the girls at camp. Camp protects the magic of childhood, and we all share in that benefit. Because we are together day-in and day-out for weeks at a time, we can slow down. We really get to know each other: our strengths, our weaknesses, our highs and our lows. Our relationships are deep and strong. We cannot hide our true selves. Camp becomes the constant, reliable and consistent place for us to be who we really are.
The time your daughter spends at camp is truly special. She becomes part of a strong community of women and girls who exist to support her and to nurture her. She is able to take steps to discover strengths and talents she didn’t know she had. This is particularly evident in our group of girls striving for their Silver KCs, and in our girls who overcame homesickness. These girls have pushed themselves out of their comfort zones to achieve more than they thought possible at the beginning of the session. Their internal struggles are evident on their faces as is their determination. I am very proud of what they have discovered within themselves this summer, and I know these lessons will stay with them always.
I also appreciate the shared experience. As much as our girls learn from our counselors and our staff, we learn from them. I relish the sense of fun and adventure I see in the campers. The counselors not only provide much of the magic of camp for the campers, but they, too, enjoy the fun and adventure. When the campers offer a dance performance, the staff will also perform. After a group of our campers performed their sychronized swimming routine for all of camp this morning, a group of counselors entertained the crowd with their quickly planned, but oh so original routine. When the shaving cream comes out, campers and counselors alike are covered from head to toe. Childhood is the connection we all share and camp keeps childhood alive in each of us.
The child you receive back into your home tomorrow is stronger for having been at camp. She has formed friendships and bonds outside of her family with people who love her and value her for who she is. She has learned that she is in control of herself; she alone decides her attitude, her approach to a situation and her response to others. She is responsible for her choices, and happiness and joy are things she can choose. From our slogan of this summer, “What a time to be alive!”
Thank you for allowing us to share your girls,