Friday, June 3, 2016

The News from Magruder 5/29 - 6/4

We're seeing this pleasant mix of Spring and Summer out on the coast these days. There's still a slight chill in the mornings and evenings. We're not quite to shorts and T-shirt weather all the time, but it does feel great to be outside, and in those moments when you grab about 30 minutes of sunshine on you're shoulders, it's positively golden.

Magruder started its week by concluding our Memorial Day Retreats that got to spend an extra day with us because of the holiday. We had Camp to Belong, a large camp that works with foster families, and our own Memorial Day Family camp, which this year had nearly 40 participants. On Monday morning, I woke up at about 6:30am to meet a brave group for Memorial Day family campers for a polar bear swim.

The schedule had not listed a polar bear swim, but Jocelyn had requested it, and if you truly want to pursuance people to do something the best tactic is having a cute, 6 year old ask for it. At 7am, the sun has technically risen at Camp Magruder, but it's still hiding behind the coastal mountain just east of camp. The world feels a little different before it emerges. It is quieter, mistier, you feel like the world is still waking up in the same way you are still waking up. What's better to wake you both up than to jump into a big lake that has been steadily chilling all night?

I was excited to see that there were adults joining the kids in this delightfully insane activity we do throughout the summer. There is something about jumping into the cold water that feels very much at the heart of being a kid. In our adultiness, we must spend so much of our day doing important, serious things. Things that legitimately must be done, that make our life better. As we do those things,
though, we slowly train ourselves to let go of some of that childlike wonder that keeps us full of joyand fascination with life, with this wonderful world we get to live in. I love to see adults latch back onto that childish spirit, sharing it with the young people in their life, giving them hope that growing up is basically code for "giving up all your joy."

During the week, we hosted one of PDX Village School's 8th grade classes. This was essentially a time for this group of youth, many who had been together since starting school, to be together one last time before parting ways and moving on to different high schools. It was a time for them to debrief, to play together, and to think about what their time with each other had meant. I led the challenge course with them, and before we started I asked what they hoped they would get out of the experience. Most said they wanted to be closer, to spend quality time together a little bit longer, to feel like they trusted each other more. We did some trust building exercises: simple trust falls, blindfolded walks. We did the criss-cross.

It's so humbling to step in a be a momentary part of a group's story. To pick up on some of the relationships, the baggage, the bonds, the joy, the longing to grow in the groups you encounter at camp. We get to step in a try to help them grow, to give them a space to focus more fully on that. I see so many people get closer to the idea of who they truly want to be. I see so many groups leave with a clearer picture of how they want to live in the world. These youth are like any other youth. They are figuring out how to form relationships, doing inspirational things, making goofy mistakes, for maybe the first time really asking that question, "Who am I? Who are we?" I love to be a witness to these growth points, to times at camp when a set of dots get connected. I hope that this 8th grade class takes this experience and it helps the inevitable challenges of high school be a little easier to deal with. I hope they are motivated to push on because of what they have seen from each other and themselves.

This week marked the final week of Outdoor School's Spring term. The staff that has been here for months now will pack up their stuff soon and ship out. Some are traveling to the other side of the country for new opportunities, some are going to California for the summer, one is going to Alaska. Some will hop into summer jobs and be back with us in the Fall. Others we may never see again. On
Thursday night, they did their last camp fire. There was lots of silliness. Lots of stuff that was incredibly confusing out of context (and probably still confusing in context). Everyone laughed. I noticed a few sneaking out a tear or two. As they transitioned to the more quiet reflective part of campfire, and people began singing, I started to look around at people, wondering what they were experiencing. The teachers here for the week, who got a chance to step into a slightly different role with their students. The students in a different sort of classroom, seeing their peers in slightly different lights her around the fire. The staff who had watched many schools come and go, who could do a campfire on autopilot. There were probably moments from this night some of these people would remember the rest of their lives. Which ones were they? What was it about the moment?

The staff sang their final song and the students were dismissed. They hung around the fire, making jokes, talking about some of the campfire acts with each other. It was the last night of the last week. In the moment, exhaustion and responsibility have a great deal to determine how we approach them. That is in the moment. Years to come, what will these moments mean? How many times will we go back to them as we grow older? As our older self, knowing where we've come, which moments will we see as the ones that shaped us most, that altered our path most crucially? Maybe they just
happened. Maybe we saw our self in a way we never had before, maybe it helped us get closer to who we are now or who we want to be in the future. Maybe jumping in the cold water, telling someone we wanted to trust them, standing up in front of our peers and singing--maybe that was one of the most important things we would ever do. Maybe not. But, it could happen at any moment. It might have already happened, or it could happen in the next 5 minutes. I hope we are ready for it. I hope we remember.

This weekend we welcome PNW Kiwanis, Mountain Park Church AWANA, Banks High School Graduation, and a few summer staffers getting trained as life guards. Share with us thoughts, prayers, and gratefulness that we get to share the journey with so many.

1 comment:

  1. We enjoyed Family Camp so much! Thanks again for the special polar bear swim ~ Joc & I will never forget the fun we've shared at Magruder. <3