Our banquet day began with a thunderstorm. This was unusual (not the fact that we had a thunderstorm, but this was actually the first time we experienced one before reveille this year). It was exciting for the girls to get dressed for the day while it was raining. By the time we ate breakfast, it had past, the clouds lifted, and we ran to Assembly to start a famously Great Day at Greystone. On Banquet day, everyone (campers and counselors alike) is giddy with excitement. We have one more day to spend with our friends, one day before our family reunions. It is a day of joyous exuberance. The hours will be marked by expressions of gratitude, joyous laughter, skipping rather than walking, and end-of-summer dance parties. Our counselors are especially excited and a little bit sad at the same time.
Most of our staff arrived in the middle of May and have worked very hard ever since. Their days were long and passed in the blink of an eye as they organized and executed LOTS of memorable moments for the campers. It is a SUPER fun and SUPER exhausting summer job. They now have a deep sense of satisfaction in finishing well. It is a feeling they will remember for the rest of their lives… a wonderful sense of accomplishment in the work and bond of love with eachother. They have completed a difficult task and made lifelong friendships… not a bad way to spend a summer.
Tonight we celebrate with a banquet. It is an event that the campers anticipate with keen delight, ranking it as their favorite EP of the summer. It will be a wonderful ending to a wonderful session… beginning with a fun play introduced at Flag, presented at the Pavilion, and completed in the Dining Hall. We serve camper-friendly food with banquet-style seating, have toasts, present activity awards, and announce the final team scores. So much fun!
Last night, we enjoyed a wonderful Council Fire in the newly renovated 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 participated in such a good way. They are really great campers!
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We are grateful beyond words.