The year I finished 6th grade, I went to summer camp for the first time. I thought I’d found Heaven in a Florida state park with a bunch of women who were passionate about community and ecology. And singing One Tin Soldier.
Just now, my girls are at “sleep away” camp for the first time. They’re a little younger than I was. Their mama is a bit anxious. I am crossing all my fingers and toes and hoping that they have as profoundly important an experience as I had.
I had counselors I looked up to. And a director who taught me a lot about following what she believed. In many ways, it was my very early introduction to the Divine Feminine, before I ever knew the words. I also had a crush on the gentle, encouraging guy who drove the camp bus and chased off obnoxious dudes from across the river.
Being Florida, it was really hot. The mosquitoes were everywhere. I got poison ivy. And heat rash. Jean, our director and head bugle player, French braided my hair every day to keep it off my neck.
I learned, when it was my cabin’s turn to sweep the dining room after a meal, to pick the trash out of the dustpan and put the sandy dirt gently back outside where it came from.
I learned ghost stories and camp songs.
Not much of a singer, I found my place, which went on for about six years more, as the one who remembered all the words to all the songs from one year to the next.
(I still remember most of them, though I have a bit of trouble in the middle of Rathbone the Ogre!)
There were no iPads or cell phones in those days, though we got pretty excited about postcards at lunchtime mail call.
And we learned to macrame!
I suspect things are a bit different at Camp these days.
I hope, though, that my girls are having a blast. I hope they’re making new friends that they’ll stay in touch with until Camp next year.
I hope that they’ll feel stronger and more self-sufficient because of what they’re learning.
And I really, really hope that they’ll learn at least the sense of One Tin Soldier even if they don’t quite know the words.
Yes, the world is a very different place than it was 50 years ago. And yet, the things that were important then are still important now. Probably more so.
Relatedness. Respect. Interdependence. Peace on Earth was all it said…
I can’t wait to hear all about it!!!