My desk is clear. My email inbox is empty. The office is quiet. It must mean that another camp season has come to a close. 2009 was a most memorable season. What stands out most in my mind? Well, the endless amount of rain we received during the first half of the season, and our counselors’ ability to keep our campers safe, happy and engaged during this stretch of wet weather. It really is a testament to the quality of our staff.
In addition to our ability to persevere despite the bad weather, the timeless values of a summer at Chewonki emerge as a highlight. As I prepare to leave for the season tomorrow, I know I will miss the camp life, much as your children are missing life at camp as well. I hope they have shared with you the details of the magical conclusion to the season.
So much has happened since I last posted an entry in this space- Friday’s Treasure Hunt and Talent Show, Saturday’s final Scouting Games and Sag/Hoc Field Day and Waterfront Regatta, the last Campfire Saturday night, the final Sunday Service out at the Point, and our closing Banquet under the tent. I hope your son has shared details with you. As always, it was a special end to the summer.
At our final Sunday Service, I shared some thoughts on living the Chewonki life even when you are back at home. A recent trip to a doctor’s appointment reminded me of some of the frustrations of life away from camp, namely traffic jams and road construction. The trip reminded me how simple life is at camp, and I thought I would share those thoughts here.
A few ideas for living the camp life all year long.
Start your day with a swim or some physical exercise. You will feel better all day long.
Eat a two, three or even a four course breakfast.
Make your bed each morning and clean up your room.
Closely examine things, even if you don’t have your binoculars with you.
Use resources wisely- water, food, fuel, energy- and advocate for the natural world.
Walk or bike to as many places as possible.
You don’t have to be best friends with everyone, but you do need to do your part and be a good citizen to all others.
Take a rest hour at some point in the day for you to sleep, read, or relax.
Eat a fruit snack in the afternoon.
Sing, cheer and give thanks often.
Try new foods. Meet new people. Challenge yourself by doing new activities.
Take your family on a wilderness trip- go for a day hike on a local trail or park.
Be flexible and open to change. Remember, we now eat sun butter and jelly sandwiches!
Cover your cough!
Look for a natural history mystery and try to solve it with help from teachers or the internet. Why do leaves change colors in the fall? Why do the days get shorter?
Take time on Sundays to slow down and reflect.
Keep track of your stuff.
Run in the rain. Play in the mud.
Embrace and seek the simple gifts.
Now there is no challenge activity to sign up for. You are living the challenge activity. Go for the moonwalk!
Come back in 2010!
FOR THOSE JUST RETURNING HOME:
I’ve shared this with our families before, but it bears repeating. Campers have their own way of sharing their camp experience with you. Some will be eager to tell you all of the details within the first 24 hours. Others will prolong their stories, and want to fit right back into their home routines. Every once in a while throughout the school year, you will undoubtedly hear another camp story – “At Camp, we’d always…….!” Some campers may actually be “camp sick” for a few days, as they struggle with the separation of their close community and adjust back to their home lifestyles. One tool to help with these emotions is our camp newspaper, The Train Issue, our final edition of the Chronicle that contains camper addresses. Most extended trips also kept journals, including contact information of campers and leaders.
“So how was Camp?” is so broad a question that it is too much for most campers. Most will be able to express not much more than “Fine. Fun.” for a few days. Try asking questions about specific parts of their summer. “Who was your best friend in camp?” “What were your counselors like?” “What was your favorite activity?” “What was the most fun part of camp?” “Where did you go on your wilderness trip?” “What was the best day you had all summer?” “What did you accomplish that you did not think you would be able to?” “How was the food?” “What was your favorite special event?” “What kinds of songs and skits did you see at campfire?” Often times the more specific questions produce the most interesting responses.
Our full summer and second session campers and trippers will receive notes written from their counselors and trip leaders in the mail over the next few days. We hope that they will be helpful to you in evaluating your camper’s experience.
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2010
Enrollment for 2010 is already underway. We want to reward your loyalty and encourage you to plan for next summer by offering a $300 discount to all returning campers if we receive a registration and deposit by September 1, or a $200 discount if the same materials are received by October 15th. Program dates and prices are posted on our website under the Registration and Dates and Tuition tabs on the left. You can register by clicking on the account login button on the right of our webpage: https://www.chewonki.org/camp/default.asp
You will be registering via our online registration provider Campminder.
Later in the fall, we will be informing you of reunions & gatherings around the country, for the purposes of getting together and sharing plans for next summer. If you’re interested in hosting one of these reunions, we’d welcome your invitation. We also hope you will not hesitate to recommend Chewonki to family and friends.
Thank you for sharing your children with us this summer. We have enjoyed playing and learning on the beautiful coast, mountains and rivers of Maine, and the Canadian wilderness. Most of all we have enjoyed having your child become a part of our Chewonki summer family.
Director, Chewonki Camp for Boys