It’s interesting to me that the more complicated our lives get, the more we yearn for simpler times. There are websites and magazines dedicated to helping us simplify, and they are BIG business. I’m pretty convinced that a lot of the angst in the world is born in these layers of complication. For me, the “Big Lie” is that technology is going to help make me more efficient and as a result, I’m going to have more time for the things that really matter…relationships, hanging out…enjoying friends and family. I’m pretty good at adding layers of complication as ideas come to me fast and furiously, and I have yet to learn how to set a good one aside. Summer is my savior. Camp is all about simple living. At its core, a great deal of its intrinsic value lies in the opportunity to “take a breath.” It is my time and excuse to “step off the train” and allow things to slow down…because that’s when camp is at its best.
A recurring theme for me that has survived the transition to adulthood has been that of summer. It’s a little odd, as my “job” really happens in a ten week period. Those of you who know us well understand that we work hard all year to make sure that those ten weeks are “off the charts.” But, since this is our busy season, its a little strange that my fantasy persists. It harkens back to the days of my youth when we had the run of our neighborhoods…I grew up on a small tract of land big enough to raise chickens and horses in the middle of urban Nashville growing like a weed around us. As I got older, I spent time with my grandparents in Nantucket, and we were like roving gangs of really good kids (really)…playing Kick the Can, and building bonfires on the beach, cooking BlueFish when we caught them…which was pretty often. We hitchhiked from end to end, and rode our bikes when we had to…not a care in the world.
Camp took the place of those careless summers. I can’t tell you that all the cares of the world cease when girls arrive in this heavenly world, but I can say with some confidence that most do…the layers of complication are starting earlier and earlier. Our own girls feel them…certainly. School and academic pressures for most…for some, there are other struggles. In A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway wrote, “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” I guess that’s our hope…if we can’t insulate our girls from the world…that they become stronger with each experience.
I marvel at the things that only camp can set the stage for…I walked past a group of older campers that would probably be begging you to go to the mall, or the pool, or somewhere else if they were home. Instead, they were working on the choreography for their brief time on stage tonight during evening program. Air Band! Maybe the most popular evening program at camp. Each cabin group gets their time to shine and to be applauded. Music, costumes, choreography, counselor participation. Big Fun!
Really, simple living at its best…our days are framed and progress by the ringing of bells. We value and thrive in the relational. In fact, what more is there? Amazing mentors…young women who the younger set can picture themselves one day being just like…dedicated to providing an amazing experience for these campers. Good, healthy food…and so much activity that there are few worries about eating too much…sleep that comes easily at the end of a sun-filled Carolina blue sky day. These are the days…