The girls at camp come back year and year again, there are hucksters (5 years), double hucksters (10 years), triple hucksters and so on and so on. 2017 is my first year as a returner and I can surely say you see camp in an entirely different light, I know some of the newbies have been feeling kind of homesick or a bit ‘lost’ at camp. At first, I found this kind of odd, camp is the best place on earth, they are about to have the best summer of their lives and they already miss home? But then you remember, they have absolutely no idea what is just around the corner, despite the reassurance of returning staff they have no solid reason to believe that this summer will make them feel the kind of happy you can’t put into words. They can’t predict now how many tears will be shed saying goodbyes in August, or just how difficult it really is to explain why you love camp SO much to your friends and family at home. After lunch, today we devoured our first moose tracks, one of the girls announced, ‘it’s just a big cornetto’ as we all turned to her with horrified expressions. It’s the little things that make camp what it is, things that may seem so insignificant now but will undeniably hold a special place in your heart by the time you come to leave camp. Three days back at camp have held a lot of firsts, the little things that define how you mean to go on this summer, and there are plenty more firsts to come, especially when the campers arrive. Eventually they are no longer firsts, it is just the way we go about our daily lives at camp and then, before you know it, fourth sessions come around and without realising it you’re onto your ‘lasts.’ So, although these things may seem so insignificant, stupidly specific or obvious I’m going to mention the few firsts I have experienced since I arrived on Tuesday.
Our first campfire, after dinner as it starts to get cooler what more could you ask for than to be sat round a roasty toasty camp fire with people you love.
An obviously our first camp fire goes hand in hand with your first smore! For those of you who don’t know a smore is a graham cracker, topped with Hershey’s chocolate and an almost perfectly roasted marshmallow which possibly caught a light and left you in a panicked state of puffing and shaking it out.
Moosetracks, ahhh our first moosetrack, I loved all 500 calories of you. An ice cream cone, topped with in copious amounts of chocolate sauce and mini reeces peanut butter cups. Usually enjoyed outside the program lodge after an all camp cook out. Moosetracks are the mid-week pick up you need, a sugary burst of energy that allows you to smile a little brighter and sing a little louder. (In case it’s not painstakingly obvious I REALLY REALLY love moose tracks.)
The answer to a hot day? That first dip in the lake, as you dip your toe in, decide it’s not too chilly but are left breathless after taking the full plunge under. The waterfront in general is just a beautiful place to be all summer, a peaceful get away during rest hour or the place to listen to the endless laughter of campers during free time.
Reading this you may think I’m being entirely ridiculous, pining over an ice cream, but these are the things you think about when you’re stuck in grey England missing camp, the things that don’t change, what makes camp camp and I am so grateful for. Each day for the next two or three weeks will entail many more firsts, first hugs, first songs, first grilled cheeses (one I am particularly looking forward to.) I am so excited to get the ball rolling this summer, going to sleep each night wondering what firsts tomorrow will hold. I’m really excited for the new staff to realise what it is that has made me return, what it is that has made the American staff return for ten years, fifteen years, fourty eight years. I have a feeling it is going to be a great summer.