In the last update, I really enjoyed sharing so much about all of the STUFF we do at camp, and the wonderful opportunities created by all of the choices we offer at Nebagamon. But truth be told, to me, as much as I love all our programming here, camp is just as much, and probably more, about the relationships and friendships born at camp.
It is particularly fun to observe these relationships over the first few days of camp. When a cabin group first gets together, whether it be for the very first time ever, or for the first time after a long school year layoff, there is a genuine sense of euphoria in these groups. For the old timers, the chance to get back together with their best friends in the world feels absolutely amazing. They start with lots of “remember when” discussions which quickly transform into whatever in-the-moment goofiness or random thoughts collectively jump into their heads. It is really fun to observe these groups as they reconnect in the way that only kids can….
Our new groups, too, are wonderful to watch in these first few days as they discover each other. They are all in the same boat and are eager to form new connections and friendships. And they are good at it. At this stage in their relationship, all of the little quirks are seen as charming. That boy with the really loud voice is thought of as a really funny guy who tells great stories. That kid that tends to dominate and boss the others around a lot is thought of as being really helpful at organizing things during cabin clean up. And the guy who is so unorganized that his clothing can be found in everyone else’s cubbies, is thought of as great at sharing! Now certainly, this phase is time limited….but that is an update for another 10 days or so down the road…..Stay tuned!
Today is our first Sunday of the session. We started it off by giving the kids a chance to sleep in for an extra 30 minutes. This was a welcome bonus for our older boys that have been staying up too late enjoying the aforementioned euphoria! For many of our younger boys…..well the extra 30 minutes before the wake up bell means an extra 30 minutes of card playing in the Big House living room in order to allow the others in their cabins to get that extra sleep. I enjoyed hanging out with them this morning and playing some cards myself….since I can’t sleep in either….the curse of mid to old age. (I’m not sure how I am supposed to label my 51 year old self!)
After wake-up, we headed to the Rec Hall for a favorite breakfast of coffeecake, hash browns, fresh strawberries, cereal, and hard boiled eggs. Now to be clear, if any of you are among those that do not believe that a “sugar rush” is a real phenomenon, I would invite you to the Rec Hall on a coffeecake Sunday. You would become a believer in no time! It’s real folks…..I promise!
Then we headed off to the Shrine for our first Sunday Service of the year. The Shrine is a very special place in camp that allows us, as a camp family, to take a deep breath and enjoy the beautiful sounds and sights of the North Woods. The space just puts us all in a contemplative mood. The story behind the Shrine centers around Chuck Hirsch, a camper in the 1930s. During one off-season, Chuck discovered that he was very ill and chose to spend what he knew would be his last summer at Camp Nebagamon. To honor his memory, the next summer, his cabin mates built the beautiful birch structure where we share our Sunday Services every week. To be clear, our Sunday Services, while wonderfully thoughtful and spiritual in a campy way, are total non-religious. We learn each week about values. Today, we were asked to think about integrity, humility, and bravery….The Nebagamon Way. Great stuff to keep in mind as we move into our second week of camp.
All is well in the North Woods…..