Sunday, May 26, 2019

Planning for Summer 2019

This will be my fifth summer as the Program Director at Camp Magruder. When Troy and I talk about the summers, we remember the different staffers.  We reminisce on all the characters that have served with us, who've made camp fun and special each year.  We like to talk about the weather, so we compare each summer's climate to the year we are currently having.  We remember summers when the smoke from forest fires filled the skies for the entire season.  We talk about summer 2015, which gave us blue sky after blue sky.  This Memorial Day Weekend has been a wash.  Friday and Saturday were two of the rainiest and coldest days we've seen in a while, but today has been beautiful and tomorrow is supposed to be as well.  You'd never guess that yesterday I changed into dry clothes twice.  I wonder what this summer will be like.

I love Memorial Day weekend.  I say that, but I say that about every group.  I do love family camps though.  I think one of my favorite activities is to stand at the side with parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles.  We spy on their young ones.  We say, "Last year I never would've thought they'd ever wanted to boat!" or "So-and-so is so different from their older brother; it's so cool to see how they both flourish in their own ways" or "It's wild to see them here at camp.  I remember coming with my parents when I was their age." 

My mom was a child development agent when I was young; she was always observing and commenting as she watched my friends and me grow older.  I find it fascinating, too.  One of the most fun things about working at camp over an extended period of time is watching people grow up.  First they're young and prone to the occasional tantrum; their parent worries they'll never grow out of it.  I watch that same kid a few years later teach a younger kid to make a bracelet or boat alone for the first time. Later, I know I'll see them be counselors, and if I'm lucky, they'll be summer staffers, too.  I've known Troy a long time; he watched me through a similar progression.  Even though we know the general cycle, we never know what another year will bring.  We never know what will take root, what will be lost in time.  We, of course, can't predict the unexpected.  That's like the weather.  What will I remember of these camper in years to come?  How will they grow in the future?  Then, will we give them the tools they need?

I hope so.

I get nervous at this time of the year, too.  What will the weather be like?  What will the staff be like?  What will our guests be like?  Can we meet their needs?  Can we offer the space and support they need to grow? 

This weekend several ex-staffers (and some who will continue to serve in 2019) showed up to help me.  Melia, Andrew, Hope, and Trisha all came in to either plan or to lead activities.  This year when I made a call for leadership for Memorial Day Family Camp, we had two people volunteer-- Jessie Connor as chaplain and Jennifer Heine as dean.  With all of them here, I feel really taken care of.  Jessie reminds me to nap.  Jennifer smiles and bustles around taking care of her friends at camp.  Melia, Hope, Andrew, and Trisha are endlessly at my side offering to clean this, organize that, or lead this, in addition to the tasks I brought them here for.  I'm so thankful.

That support has settled me; it's centered me.  It reminds me of all that it takes to make camp work.  Today, instead of feeling overwhelmed, I'm feeling a bit more in awe of it-- the way that people show up, the way so many people's talents form a web of something beautiful.  The butterflies in my stomach bring more excitement than worry for the anticipation for what's to come.

I reminded over and over again all of the preparations it takes to make camp happen.  It takes our volunteers coming to get trained every year -- volunteers to live in the cabins with campers, to dean each camp, to lead us in our spiritual practices.  It takes our summer staffers, with loud voices and smiling faces, to lead campfire songs.  It takes Nick and Peter, our chefs, rethinking our menus to serve as many special diets as we can.  It takes our Program Board to guide trainings and to give us vision.  It takes you, reading this blog and sharing in our community even when you're not here.  It takes me, ready to greet you when you come through the gates to this special place.  How could I ever be worried?

It's said often, but it's worth saying again: It takes a village.  If you're looking for another way to support our community and help us prepare for the summer, Camp Magruder has made an Amazon Wish List for the Summer 2019.  It's a range of things, some big, some small, that we need for the summer.  Dishwashing gloves for tie dye, wet suits for wave jumping, instruments for campfire and worship, a projector for Sherlock Lodge.  We'd love your help in preparing for the summer.  Using this link (https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1KMI0FHYEY7C4?ref_=wl_share) you can visit our list.  We've listed each item's priority level and how many we need for this season.  There are items ranging between $10 and $1,000.  Any gift is so valuable to us.  We hope you'll share this with your family or your Sunday School class or the friends you've attended camp with each year. 

If you are more able to give of your time than your donations-- thank you!  We are also on the lookout for van drivers for our Resident Counselors.  We need volunteers Friday, June 21 (Magruder to Latgawa), Saturday, June 29 (Latgawa to Magruder), Saturday, July 13 (Magruder to Suttle Lake), and Saturday July 27 (Suttle Lake to Magruder).  We, of course, needs counselors!  We'd love to have you serve with us (ages 16 and older).  We serve youth camps June 15-21, July 6-12, and August 3-9.  Contact me at hope@campmagruder.org for more information.

Then, we hope to see you soon.  Camp is just around the corner; register at www.gocamping.org/campsessions.

I hope to see you this summer.  Thank you for being a part of this village that I'm so thankful to call home.

warmly,

Hope