While physically building Somerset and watching our property come to life has been a remarkable (and ongoing) process, it pales in comparison to the (also ongoing) excitement and importance of building our camp program and culture, much of which has been done by the creation and adoption of new traditions.
Thanks to years of planning, so many camp traditions have come to life even stronger than we could have hoped…the excitement of revealing the new League teams, the drama of Sing Song, the surprise of the Somer Cup break, Sunday pie night, patch ceremonies, or the Somer Seven, just to name a few.
Equally exciting are all the traditions that we didn’t plan for or expect. Who knew that Dirty Day would be so epically amazing? And how do we top it each year? Those are some real camp director problems right there.
While those mentioned above all originated in our first summer, 2019 brought us even more to carry forward into the future, including our beautiful candle lighting ceremony at campfires, the Somerset alma mater, and the dance show. Even after only two summers, the list goes on and on, with each event, experience, and moment getting better with age thanks to the energy, enthusiasm, and knowhow of veteran campers and staff.
We all love returning to camp to witness the changes from one summer to the next…new facilities, counselors, special events, trips, and surprises. But as things change, even more special are all the things that stay the same. In this overly complicated, chaotic, and stressful world, especially for our kids, there’s safety and reliability at camp, as elaborate as two Somer Cup captains emerging from a helicopter or as simple as singing your cabin cheer, arm in arm.
Traditions are not just customs that take place from one year to the next only to eventually feel routine. Reveille in the morning is wonderful, but, let’s face it, rather routine. Instead, these timeless traditions are moments in time that provide deep meaning and unparalleled feelings, like the thrill of being part of a team, the pride of earning your first ring patch, the anticipation of finding out the League head coaches (and the hope it might be you one day), or the heartache when you realize it’s time to say goodbye.
P.S. Hat tip to Jim Nantz for the headline.