Tuesday was the first day of spring, yet another unofficial checkpoint on the journey toward opening day. It takes a LONG time to get there, more than ten months, but this is the season when the finish line finally comes into sight.
Growing up, there was no countdown to camp calendar on my wall or a 100-day social media post to like. And, like many in the northeast, we were lucky if school was even over by the first day of camp. I used the start of daylight savings time, the end of little league, or my parents gleefully planning a summer vacation without kids as indicators that camp was finally coming and the long wait would soon be over.
Kate and I interviewed a staff applicant the other day and, like many, she asked us why we changed course in our lives and opened a camp which, I assume, is a more polite way of finding out if we’ll be good bosses or if we’re completely unstable. Come to camp and find out! Anyway, my response is always the same: “camp is the only place I have ever spent time where I always believed that everyone wanted to be there for the right reasons.”
Go to school, and people don’t want to be there. Walk into an office building, and people don’t want to be there. How about the gym? Everyone looks miserable!
This is not to say that we don’t have bad days at camp. We do. Because while camp is our bubble, it’s still part of life. Some days you argue with a friend, you scrape up a knee, or you don’t like dinner. But tomorrow you make up, the knee heals, the meals are your favorites, and things are amazing once again.
While I genuinely feel this way about camp, I equally believe that surrounding yourself in this feeling has to be earned through patience. If we were at camp every day, then it would be just that: everyday. The waiting is what makes the experience so unique, the atmosphere so spirited, the relationships so special, the memories so vivid, the emotions so deep, and the appreciation so profound.
While many of our families are feeling daunted by the packing list right now (sorry about that), I, for one, can’t wait to pack up my car and head north in six weeks. (Yes, that soon). I’ve already started mentally preparing, and a week out I’ll start organizing and laying things out around my home for which I will be deservedly chastised and forced to put it all away. I’m okay with that, though. It means the wait is over.