The Summer of 2012 Draws to a Close
For Mindy and I, the sight of that last busload of campers rolling past us and out of camp certainly is a sad one. While it represents the completion of a great summer for the both of us, it means that this large family that all of us have created together will now be a part for what seems like a really long time. It is why for more years than I’ve owned the camp I have begun my count down to next summer the very moment the buses roll down the hill.
I often wish that parents could actually see their children at camp. Yet, I know that if they could, their children would be different and it wouldn’t be “camp.” What happens here is magical. Children who arrive here tentative, quiet, perhaps a bit homesick, are transformed in just seven quick weeks. The little boy who cried uncontrollably during the first week of camp, that counselors thought for sure was “a goner” not only stayed, succeeded and flourished, but he gave us all a big smile while he stood outside his bunk on the last night crying his eyes out because he was going home and didn’t want to leave his bunkmates and counselors. That’s camp.
Watching the excitement when the Teen Boys won the Jacobs Cup, the girls took the Melter Cup Softball Trophy and the middle camp boys won the Owner’s Cup Baseball tournament were all great moments. The campers jumping up and down, hugging their teammates and coaches were moments they won’t soon forget. Equally as impressive, and certainly as important, was the resilience you saw in the Gordon Cup Hockey Team after a heartbreaking defeat in their finals. Were they sad? You bet they were. Tears were flowing. They had worked so hard – so very hard for so long. But they bounced back quick, appreciating every moment of a great experience and the great bonds of friendship that grew out of their efforts. And, in the end, while on the scoreboard they came up short, not a single one of them came up short when it came to character. That’s camp too.
As I mentioned before, parents rarely get to see camp as it really is. Visiting Day is about seeing your child and the place that he or she is spending the summer. You meet your child’s counselor and are introduced to his or her friends, but you don’t get to see “camp.” You don’t see the last night, after the awards are given out, the video presentation has ended and the alma mater has been sung, campers and counselors in tight groups, arms around each other, swaying to a tune that they sing now somberly one final time. And you don’t see them and their counselors, tears streaming down their faces, hugging on the Tiger’s Den basketball court as Burn Out ends with the burning of the year 2012. It is in that moment, standing there, silently, watching the emotion all around us, that we can see what camp is really all about.
That moment is created in the countless games we’ve played together, the adventures, the quiet moments where two friends sit together, the collections of life lessons learned and the simple things that aggregate over time into big things in the lives of each of us who share our summers on top of this mountain in this special place. On that final night, campers and counselors stand hugging each other crying not because they are going home, but because they are leaving it. Camp is their home – their summer home.
And so, as we return your children to you for the next forty-five weeks, we hope that they share with you as much as they can of the special experience that was camp. Not all will be pretty, not all will be perfect. Neither is it in life. But together, the experiences and their impact have changed your children, we trust, for the better. We DO miss them and all of the tumult and action that they create for us.
We thank you for sharing them with us for these past seven weeks and wish you a great, successful and (selfishly) quick fall, winter and spring seasons. We’ve got a lot of great things in store for next summer and we can’t wait to get everyone back!
All the best,
312 days until camp.
Jay & Mindy Jacobs