Today we awoke to a slightly overcast sky. Girls wore sweatshirts to breakfast, a fact I noticed keenly after reading that much of the country is experiencing a heat wave. Little blessings like the weather are deeply appreciated at camp. We make note of nuances that are not noticed elsewhere, it is a subtle but significant thread of the tapestry.
The girls loved the Counselor Talent Show last night, and I honored Eleanor (a counselor) with a moment on the microphone at Breakfast Club. Eleanor did a solo Breakfast Club routine for her talent (complete with a four-fold talk and “short story”). It was so well done… she got a big round of applause, and everyone appreciated that memory as she stood by my side today!
I teared up during the 4-fold talk at Breakfast Club. Really didn’t want to do it, but at this point of the summer my heart is soft, and tears flow much quicker than normal when having a DMC. That is what happened at Breakfast Club… a Deep Meaningful Conversation with just one person talking and hundreds listening. The subject was Spiritual Growth, and I REALLY wanted the girls to hear what I was saying. That is hard when talking about “spiritual growth”… many just turn off their ears and wait for the joke. I get it. I would have done the same thing.
I encouraged them to take Spiritual Growth seriously in their lives. Wrestle with the question “Is there a spiritual component to life”. Frankly, many of us tend to just ignore the question (particularly when young). If there is a spiritual component, what is it? We, as a Christian camp, put our faith in Jesus. The Bible has a lot to say on the question and what it says is so amazingly good. I encouraged them to listen to last sunday’s sermon on doubt. Several times. Doubt is good, it forces us to seek answers… but I know that many of us just accept the doubt as reason not to believe and skip the “seeking answers” part of the process. I so want them to hear me and I know I can trust them with my emotions.
I am sure the girls appreciate and value emotional honesty at camp. Sincerity is foundational to every camp relationship. It is a hallmark of any friendship and the bedrock of family life. If I talk about something I really care about, emotion should be a part of that moment. At this time of camp, it is impossible to do otherwise.
Tonight is a much-anticipated Evening Program… The Senior Celebration (a Senior camper talent show) and Queens Ball. As each girl is introduced, she feels the significance of the moment. A pinnacle point of reference that they have known would eventually arrive and is now here. They are growing up and approaching moments of significance as the high school years slip through their fingers. Their camping years are drawing to a close and this is the first shot across the bow. An encouragement to look back and look forward. It is very sweet moment for each girl. We use this time to lavish attention on the Seniors one by one.
Every girl will perform (most of them with their cabinmates by their side, sometimes doing solo acts). Such an agenda turns into a long program that will be marked by laughter and tears. The last portion of the evening will feature the crowning of the Queen and her Court (girls who have been chosen by their peers as shining examples of unselfishness and love). Afterward, the seniors will have a little party under the twinkle lights that have been strung by the eastern shore of the lake. They will enjoy a special devotion and receive their silver charms (handcrafted by Marilyn, who taught many of them the art of metal jewelry). Most significantly, they will be given sweet heartfelt cards hand-written by their counselors at bedtime. These cards are wonderful beyond words and have consumed the Senior counselors’ days for the past week. The cards are affirming in a very specific way (listing how each girl stands out with particular character traits) and will be cherished forever. The entire night is wonderful and worthy of the moment.
Things might be going crazy in the real world, but here in the bubble, life is about perfect. We anticipate every day with keen interest. The girls chatter constantly, the murmur of little voices not stopping at normal times… it is hard to settle them down for announcements and who can blame them? There is much to be excited about! Every class is important (as they strive to finish projects and pass levels), every EP a big deal (each one marked on the calendar… every moment steeped in traditions and keenly anticipated). The girls know that time is running short and they are excited but also nostalgic.
One of the best parts about camp is its ability to make a 10-year-old feel nostalgic. Girls of all ages sense the emotions that come at transition points in life. Walking Catherine down the aisle was a joyful, tearful, thankful, proud, and nostalgic moment… the father of the bride risks becoming an emotional wreck at such times… I was one of those. I felt each second pass slowly yet 60-minutes evaporated in a blink and the night was suddenly over. Margaret and I were left with a quiet house and full hearts.
Camp can replicate such moments in some small way at this point in the summer. These moments are reason enough to attend for all those years. Each year is distinct, and each adds differently in ways appropriate to each girl. Not all will cry. Not all will laugh. All will smile and feel the warmth of a job well done. The sense that God is good and all will be well. We hope it will be a cherished moment for a lifetime.
Thank you for checking in… such a pleasure to do this work.