The Beginning of the End

Greetings from Hilltop. Last week I wrote about how camp warps a person’s sense of time. Now, a week later, it’s becoming clear to everyone that our time together is short. The end of session feeling is starting to take hold, and that’s a good thing. If you could bottle this feeling and send it all over the world, it would do an extraordinary amount of good.

One thing that’s making it clear to everyone is that Seniors return from trips today. All the trips are back at camp and the campers are reuniting with friends on other trips, and also strengthened by new and deepened friendships within their trip groups. Seniors getting back from trips mean our whole Second Session family is back together, but it also is marker for everyone that we’re nearing the end.

Tomorrow will be another big marker of the end of the session. We’ll begin the series of four evening activities that end every four-week session at Four Winds. Tomorrow will be Talent/No Talent, the camp talent show. On Tuesday, we’ll have Pins & Slides, in which we’ll award activity area pins and have a slideshow of the session. On Wednesday, we’ll have the CT Dance, blow off some steam, and dance the night away. Finally, on Thursday night, we’ll end the session with our final Evening Fire.

There are many great things to say about this way of ending the session. First of all, these evening activities offer lots of opportunities for celebration and reflection, and having as many brains and hearts in those modes at the end of the session is great. Secondly, ritual is pretty underrated in today’s world, but it can be really powerful. Doing this the same way every year helps us to come together as a community.

People often use the word “magic” when they talk about their Four Winds experience. I get it, because it can be difficult to capture camp feelings in other settings, and those feelings can be intense, genuine, and wonderful. But I also bristle against the use of the word (with no bad feelings to those that use it) because it implies that something going on here is supernatural. It’s not, and there’s so much to be gained by learning to understand what’s going on behind your feelings. I think the feeling at the end of the session that often gets described as magical is the feeling of us all feeling similar things together. We know our time together is short, so it’s valued all the more. We’ve just been through an extraordinary shared experience, and we’re automatically connected to those that have been through the same experience. We’ve known what it feels like to connect in a genuine way, and we don’t want that feeling to end. That’s what people are talking about when they call these feelings magic, feelings that will be in spades over these next few days.

Thank you, as always, for sharing your children with us. None of this would be possible without that choice. We appreciate it, and we’ll savor these next few days.