On the last day of camp, everyone (campers and counselors alike) is giddy with excitement. We only have one more day to spend with our friends in the best place on earth, and we will not waste it! Our hours will be marked by expressions of gratitude, joyous laughter, quiet conversations, spirited tetherball games, and end-of-summer dance parties.
Most of our staff arrived in the middle of May and have worked very hard ever since. Being a camp counselor is not a walk in the park! The days are long, and the weeks are short as we organize and execute LOTS of memorable moments for the campers. It is SUPER fun and SUPER exhausting… and school begins very soon. Rarely does one experience the sense of elation that a counselor feels at the end of the summer. They have run a good race and earned their reward. It is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and love. A significant job that gives lifelong friendships… not a bad way to spend a summer.
Tonight we will celebrate the end of camp with a banquet. It is an event that the campers anticipate with keen delight, often ranking as the favorite moment of the entire summer. It will be a wonderful ending to a wonderful session… beginning with a fun play presented on the Gazebo Stage before dinner (the counselors performing an adapted story, complete with costumes, singing, and choreography), favorite camp food served in a decorated FORT, toasts, awards, favors, and the final team scores announced. So much fun!
Let’s take a moment to reflect on yesterday. We had a wonderful Council Fire in the old (traditional) Council Rire Ring. This is an almost sacred spot in camp, only visited at “important” times. The story on unselfishness is traditional; the “mentions” from departments are done in a precise and honoring way, and the old songs are more special when sung together before a blazing fire. Afterward, we silently walked down the hill to Closing Vespers around the flagpole. The girls really embraced the moment (not a word or giggle to be heard as the light slowly spread from candle to candle. It was spectacular and touching. After the program, they kept their candles and resolved to tuck them away in a box of camp memories just like Dr. Margaret did 40 years ago. Whenever that little candle is brought out we hope it will remind them of the simple lessons of light and love learned at camp.
Silence is a part of the Greystone experience… intentionally worked into some programs as an emphasis that makes that program stand out as special. Church, Vespers, and Council Fire are all made more poignant by the absence of sound. In such moments we hear the crickets, birds, frogs, and other night sounds. We hear the wind in the pines and the occasional whinny of a horse in distant pastures. At that moment we can concentrate, remember, think, and commit ourselves to big goals. It is wonderful… last night is a great memory for me because the girls participate in such a good way. They are really great campers!
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We are grateful beyond words.