Thursday night was our first campfire of the summer.  At Birch Trail we have our own lingo and campfires are called council fires.   I love all our council fires, but this first one I both love and fear.  I’ll start by telling you what I love.

  • Our council fire ring is located twenty feet from the lake and the campers and staff enjoy a beautiful view of the sunset at every council fire.
  • The whole camp sings our favorite songs together, no matter what their voice sounds like.
  • Many of the songs include hand motions and dance moves that campers have choreographed over the years. It is so much fun to see the whole camp join in on our own versions of classic campfire songs.
  • We share stories and traditions about what makes Birch Trail special at each council fire.

Now, you should know that the only time of year I play guitar is at our camp council fires. I pretty much forget every song over the winter and fear that I will completely mess up in front of the whole camp!

Well, this council fire was amazing.  The sunset was spectacular, traditions were taught, stories were told and the whole camp sang as one group.  The best part of the night was our campers.  At our key log ceremony the campers impressed me yet again.  For a explanation of our key log ceremony please click here.

When I listen to the key logs our campers give I often hear common themes. The theme for this week was parents and sisters.  The parent part is just what you would expect, but probably never hear.  Our campers stood in front of the camp and thanked their parents for the gift of camp.  It’s wonderful to hear such heartfelt thanks from our campers, and I truly wish you could hear it.  Your children appreciate what you do for them and they do a great job of verbalizing this at the council fire.

“This keylog is for my parents for sending me to Birch Trail.”

“This keylog is for my family for allowing me to come to this special place.”

“I’m so grateful that my parents sent me to camp, I love them so much.”

The sister part might not be what you expect.  It’s not for their siblings at home, but for their cabin mates here at camp.  The bonds that our campers form are friendships that last a lifetime.  Our girls feel so comfortable with each other that they refer to their cabin mates as sisters, and the key logs they give one another symbolize those relationships.

Watching another amazing BT sunset while listening to our campers say thanks to their families and friends was a great way to close out the day.  I am happy to report that our campers are settled into camp, safe in a place of non-judgment and acceptance.

The icing on the cake for me was that I remembered all chords to the songs we sang. Had I forgotten a chord or two, nobody would have minded.


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