I know that I am not alone in expressing my absolute amazement at the fact that tomorrow is packing day for our first session campers. As impossible as it is to believe, in just about 40 hours, 84 of our brothers will be bidding us adieu for the long off-season. It seems incredible to me that every year the time here seems to go faster and faster. One session done already? Impossible. I feel like I have only told the 2:30 dentist joke a dozen times. How on earth am I going to squeeze in the requisite two dozen more in the next day and a half?
Without a doubt, for all of us, this is a bittersweet time. For the 84 that will be boarding busses on Sunday, there is excitement and, yes, even joy at the prospect of heading home to be reunited with parents, friends, and non-rubberized mattresses! The idea of getting home and rejoining their lives away from camp is a comfort. Yet, for the 84, there is sadness as well. It means bidding farewell to non-stop action, non-stop activities, non-stop sleep over parties, and to friends that they connected with in a way that is simply not possible at home. It will be very tough to say goodbye to all of that at the busses on the Lower Diamond on Sunday morning.
For those of us that are staying on for another month, this is a bittersweet time as well. The rapid approach of Sunday means that we will have to find the strength to say goodbye to nearly half of our family for another “off-season.” We have grown so close to them and, indeed, they have become absolutely integral parts of our camp experience. We will miss them tremendously. Additionally, the end of the first session is a stark reminder to all of us that our time here is limited…indeed halfway over. We find ourselves desperate in the realization that the first half has flown by so quickly and there is still so much that we want to do here.
On the other hand, for those of us that will remain after the busses depart on Sunday, there is still great opportunity that is staring us in the faces. Just two days later, the empty bunks in the cabin will be filled again with friends. Some will be old friends that we have already known for years and have been SO anxious to reconnect with. Some will be brand new friends whose eagerness to come join the family will buoy us all with their freshness, new ideas, and excitement. Also, those two intervening days will be packed with special activities that only a family of such diminished size could partake in. (Yes, to me, a family of 90 seems small!) For those that have been here for a changeover period before, we LOVE those two days. There is great excitement for those of us sticking around!
But right now….there is just today. One final day of projects, a day and a half left to cement those friendships, a day and a half left to enjoy our brothers, a day and a half left to address the little challenges that invariably plague any cabin group, and a day and a half left to laugh and play with this wonderful and special group of campers and staff.
Laugh and play we will. As I just mentioned, this afternoon we will enjoy our final projects, and this evening we will all attend our final GTC (talent show) of the session that is sure to be packed with fun acts. In addition, we’ll get to enjoy a slideshow recapping the session, a slideshow that will tug at the heart strings of even the toughest in the group. Tomorrow we will engage in the (admittedly somewhat miserable) process of cleaning out our cabins and packing, followed by our terrific awards ceremony, followed by mandatory showers (I promise that EVERY kid will shower tomorrow afternoon. And yes, I too will shake my head and marvel at how dirty they are able to become in just a few hours, most of which will be nighttime! But they really did shower…..I swear!) Then it will be off to the Council Fire Ring for the final Council Fire of the session. One more chance to laugh around that big fire, one more chance to learn something around that big fire, and one more chance to express gratitude to our brothers around that big fire. Bittersweet to be sure.
If my update today seems a bit melancholy, I suppose that accurately reflects some of my mood today. This has been a WONDERFUL session and the prospect of it coming to a close makes me somber. Thank goodness I will be forced into snapping out of it tonight when the crowd insists that I lead them in the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Just the kind of humiliating kick in the pants I need right now!
A housekeeping note…..I will be headed to Minneapolis on Sunday with the departing campers. I will be there until the new kids fly in on Tuesday. (Yes, I get cheated out of the Changeover fun!) Consequently, I will NOT be writing an update on the 14th. Look for the next one on the evening of the 16th just after our new brothers have arrived.
All is well in the North Woods….