I believed it, but I had to see it with my own eyes. Jenny arrived from China at changeover as one of our second session originals. She came with a huge smile and a big heart but lacking proficiency in English. Her bunkmates had all just arrived too, with their own set of apprehensions and nerves. They had to get to know one another. They had to figure out their schedule. They had to learn how camp worked. They had to be leaders.
But amidst all this, Oak Lodge took it upon themselves to help out a bunkmate that was even more out of sorts than the rest of them. With their counselors’ assistance and some camp-sanctioned technology, they translated the schedule and attached sticky notes to virtually everything in the cabin, from the mudroom water fountain to the bathroom towel hamper. Jenny might have had the steepest learning curve, but they were all in this together.
I truly believe that this shared experience created a unique bonding experience for this cabin and allowed our entire camp to witness a remarkable act of kindness and selflessness. They did not have to do it, they were not asked to do it, and, frankly, the idea never even crossed our mind. This was their idea because this is who they are. Being a good friend was not something we had to teach. As we as we age up one grade each summer, these girls will remain our oldest campers, leaders, and role models for years to come. For that, we are grateful.