It is difficult to describe the significance of Greystone to people who have not experienced it – either first hand as a camper, or through the eyes of a parent watching her girls grow up in enormous ways.
The pressures of the outside world as the years go on, and particularly in high school, are enormous. I saw it in our girls, and for our girls. I don’t recall that I had the same sense that everything was urgent and important every minute, all the time when I was growing up. Moreover, the new pressures created by social media, and its collateral damage of instant gratification and knowing so much about so many things and people every second of every day is overwhelming!
It’s overwhelming to me as a parent– and I know it was for our girls. Once you add in college searches, and seeing other kids their age doing summer SAT prep courses, biomedical engineering TIP camps, astrophysics, at home computer courses — it’s mind blowing. We want our kids to do anything and everything to get ahead, be a stand out – it’s a vicious cycle, and it is very difficult not to get caught up in it.
Enter Greystone. I could not be more thankful that our girls spent a majority of their summers in their happy place, where they are actually slowing the pace of their hectic lives down and enjoying the little things and small moments that, put together, make up life – the important, soulful part of life. DMCs by the lake, dancing without a care in the world, singing with reckless abandon – all amazing gifts that they will cherish for a lifetime.
We know that we can’t protect them from life’s pressures forever – but if we can provide an environment at this vital age where they can discover who they are, and form a deeper relationship with God and their peers, they will be better able to face challenges that will inevitably arise throughout their lives.
We witnessed our girls’ joy and transformation first hand. Through camp photos and their own words via hand written letters (we saved every one of them!), we know that our girls were truly and deeply content at camp–not merely happy. Happy is often circumstantial and momentary. On the other hand, contentment is deep, meaningful, and lasting. In some of their letters home to us, they thanked us from the bottom of their hearts for sending them to camp, told us how much they love us, and told us that we were doing a good job of parenting them. These were truly breathtaking to read.
Every year when our girls returned home from camp (“re-entry” we called it), I would say that they did not come back as different girls than when they left. It’s more that they came home as better versions of the people they already were. I am convinced that it was God working through them, and Greystone.
The Greystone spirit for them has continued to transcend the boundary of the bubble. Both of our girls wrote beautiful college application essays about their experiences at Greystone, combining class experiences such as ceramics, drama and high adventure, with life experiences of making new friends, learning to live together, and the art of face to face communication.
The amazing friends that they made at camp are likely to be bridesmaids at their weddings. They currently attend college with some of them. They have visited Greystone friends on many other college campuses, at counselor’s weddings, and over vacations from school. There is something very special about these friendships that you can’t adequately describe in words… but you can feel in your heart.
So, I’ll conclude the way I began. Thank You, Camp Greystone.
And finally, thank you for loving them.