Thursday, August 13, 2009

Family Ties

As I posted earlier, Amy and I spent brief periods at several camps before ending up at Blue Rill for the better part of our childhoods. What I remember most about camp wasn't the state-of-the-art facilities (not) or swimming pool, or the carefully orchestrated activities or the field trips to the roller skating rink or Color War or anything else that one might think is the marker of a great camp.

What I remember most is Herb.

Herb was the photography counselor, and though I don't quite remember how or when he became such a friend to us, what I remember is this: One summer, when my mother's back went out and she was confined to bed for a few days, Herb went out during camp to buy us milk.

That's what I want for my kids at camp.

I saw it at the camp I worked at this summer, Friends' Central, where Declan spent his second summer and Ronan his first. There were counselors who had grown up at Friends', and campers who were doing the same. All the staff knew and loved them. Camp was a family, open and inviting to everyone.

To me, that's much more important than the specialty activities or field trips or anything else. Because, let's face it, if there's one thing I learned as a camp counselor this year, kids find more happiness in each other than they do in anything else.

So that's why my kids will keep going back to the same camp year after year, to strengthen and build upon the relationships they've already begun. To extend their family far beyond the walls of their home. To have fun and be loved and love in return.

All from a camp.

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