Greetings from Hilltop. It’s a beautiful day on Orcas as we enter the final days of Second Session.

Before I get into the meat of this post, I want to pause on that beauty for a moment. It’s really hard to overstate it. The weather is beautiful, and we’re in a beautiful, natural place. As we sat today for Sunday Assembly on Boys’ Side, led by Genoa, it really captured me. Looking out over Westsound on a perfect mid-August day, with warm but not hot air, a beautiful breeze, and the sun shining brightly, you could see Four Winds Bay, Victim Island, the other side of Westsound, Harney Channel with its ferries, and Shaw Island beyond. It was just about perfect.

The natural beauty isn’t all of it though. There’s the beauty of friendship, fun, time together, and normalcy. Camp is intimate in the best possible way. In an age where our communication devices give us ease of communication, but sterilize it of its intimacy, at Camp, we communicate face to face. For these campers, they’ve had that benefit for three and half weeks, and you can see it in their faces. I don’t look forward to the end of this session, but I do look forward to all the parents being able to see that benefit in their children. They need it so badly. They deserve it. It’s wonderful to see them get it.

And, of course, part of getting a little bit sentimental about all of it is that our time together is short. Tonight, we’ll start the series of four evening activities with which we end every four-week session. We’ll start with Talent/No Talent, our talent show. Tomorrow night, we’ll have Pins & Slides, in which we’ll award activity area pins and have a slideshow of the session. On Tuesday, we’ll have the CT Dance, a dance (with pop music!) put on by the CTs. Finally, on Wednesday, we’ll have our Final Evening Fire of the session.

Ending each four-week session with these same four evening activities does a couple of different things. First, the activities themselves, each in its own way, offer opportunities for celebration and reflection, which is what we ought to be doing a lot of in our last few days together. Second, there’s a ritual to it. Those that have been to Four Winds before have a reaction that goes something like, “Oh my goodness, it’s Talent/No Talent tonight. Camp is almost over! I’ve been meaning to jump off the high dive/have a conversation with my best friend/sing in front of camp at Evening Fire and I haven’t done it yet, I have to do that before the session ends!” Those that are new to camp pick up that energy from the returners. Everyone, collectively realizes that our time together is short, and thus begins to value that time together all the more. Combine that with the jewelry ceremonies that are happening all over camp, the garbage auction prizes that are being delivered, the last trips returning, a Senior dinner tonight. People often talk about camp as feeling magical. These feelings that happen towards the end of the session, to me, that’s when camp feels magical.

This afternoon, we’ll have Regatta Day, one of the campers’ favorite Sunday afternoon activities. It’ll be a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon on a beautiful day, and a worthy use of our short time together. I look forward to sending these campers home to you in a few days, tired, happy, and fulfilled. Until then, we’ll be here, enjoying the beauty of camp.