Farewell, Second Sessioners

Greetings from Hilltop. What a session it was. With camp suddenly quiet, it’s hard to believe that the campers are gone. I know they had a wonderful experience here, and I look forward to seeing them back next summer.

We had a beautiful final Evening First last night. There’s nothing like hearing the whole camping singing in unison in the Lodge. It still gives me chills after all these years, particularly at a final Evening Fire. The ways to build community aren’t always immediately obvious, but we stick to it when it works.

Travel day was not without its challenges. Being on an island makes travel difficult in the best of circumstances. We’re pretty good at it, and we can adjust to things that go wrong to a point, but when enough goes wrong, we can have late campers and bags. Washington State Ferries has been in rough shape for the entire pandemic, and the last few days have been particularly challenging. Airlines are struggling right now as well. All affected families are aware of any delays affecting their children or their bags. Fortunately, all the campers will get where they are going today, and bags are on their way. Thank you to everyone who was patient with the challenges today.

Your children are coming home to you, and I expect they’re tired and happy. I hope they regale you with stories of their adventures, funny moments, new friendships, and their counselors. I hope they share songs with you, and perhaps even offer to help clear the table. A month spent at Four Winds is one of the most fun things a young person can do, but also spurs positive growth in wonderful ways. A lot of the things kids love – screen time, sweets – are things we adults try to dole out in moderation, or feel a little bit guilty when we give them too much. Camp is that beautiful thing that kids crave, but we adults can give to them guilt-free, knowing that it is good for them as well as unbelievably fun.

At Evening Fire last night, I asked the campers to think about all the great stuff that has happened here this month – the belly laughs, the activities, the friendships – but also the challenging times – when they didn’t get something they wanted, the quarters were too close, or when they missed home. I asked them to think about whether, if they went back in time and had the chance to do it all again, knowing in advance the good and the bad, would they do it? I know for me, and I suspect for the vast majority of campers, the answer is yes. If so, it must be a lesson that hard things are not always things we should avoid. That’s why camp is good for kids – it’s the mix of the good and the hard, just like life.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this month. They made it a great session. We look forward to seeing them next year.