So it’s been a little while since the last time I was at camp. I started as a camper in 2010, was a CIT in 2015, and spent the next 3 summers after that on staff. But in 2018, I knew it would be my last summer. So with the exception of helping out for a week in 2019, I left. I moved on, lived my life, and left camp in the rear-view.
So when I found out I had the chance to come back this summer, I was nervous. Every single person from my CIT year is gone, almost all of my friends from staff are gone, and even most of my old campers have left. I spent half of my life at camp, but as the years went by away from it, it began to seem more distant. Some memories started to fade, I went longer and longer without seeing old friends, and seeing camp continue every summer without me made my time there begin to feel insignificant. So I was excited to be coming back this summer, but I was also scared, and didn’t know what to expect.
That is, until I moved in yesterday, and it felt like I was returning home. I’ve seen some of my old friends from staff, I’m lucky enough to see my old campers being the new leaders of camp, and even a couple of my old counselors are still kicking around somehow. I’ve been reminded of the things I did in my time, from little things like being asked about a game we made up in landsports 4 years ago, to the important stuff, like an old camper sharing how my Co and I helped influence his life. In just one day back, you have all made me feel like I never left. After forgetting much of it over the years, you’ve all reminded me of my impact on camp, but more importantly, all of your impact on me.
So why does this matter, why am I telling you this now? It’s because I’m not unique. Every person that steps foot at camp leaves an impact. I’ve see the current staff talking about the impact my old friends had on them as counselors, I see the way they interact with you campers to give you the best 2 weeks possible, and I see the way you campers bring the life and energy that makes camp special. Every single person in this ring, whether it’s your 1st year or your 20th, has made Coniston what it is today, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In a couple of days, this session will be over. Some of us will be here the rest of the summer, some of us will be back next year, and for some of us this might be it. No matter what happens though, whatever you do, don’t take these last days for granted.
I challenge you to use these last days to make the best and biggest impact on the rest of camp that you possibly can.
I challenge you to say thanks to the people who have left an impact on you over the last two weeks, two years, or however long you’ve been at camp.
And most importantly, I need you to never forget how important you are to this place, and your ability to impact people’s lives. Because as you’ve all taught me, you’ll always have a home back here on the lake.