Blog 1

Where time stands still

This morning I had a rare moment of solitude. I was in the office and was actually alone. I am almost never alone at camp. It’s actually one of the things I love about camp. There is always someone who needs help, needs someone to talk to, or a problem to be fixed. Yet this morning I found myself in the office at 7:02 with some free time. I thought I might actually get some book keeping done, but I was wrong. Our longtime waterfront director/camp psychologist Cabe Knight ambled into the office to chat. Cabe had no particular agenda this morning, it was just nice for the two of us to talk and for it not to anything in particular. We had a great chat and talked about a variety of topics such as our own children, camper progress on the ski dock, staff, etc. The topic changed to the title of our favorite camp song, “all my life’s a circle” and we joked about how funny it was that his son John recently helped Cabe teach my daughter Raya to water ski (when I was a kid, Cabe taught me to ski).

We joked about how funny it is that there are so many photos of him teaching kids to ski 30 years ago. Now, 30 years later they are parents of campers and Cabe is teaching their kids to ski. After he left the office I found myself thinking about the importance of the continuity staff members like Cabe provide.

For many of our campers camp is their rudder, their stability. It’s something in their life that does not change. The smell and the look of camp stays the same. Sure we improve the buildings and upgrade equipment, but the feel of camp is timeless. For those of you that have returned to your childhood camp you know exactly what I am talking about. To literally have your kids learning from the same staff member who taught you is not only remarkable, but it’s very comforting. It’s nice to know that some things don’t change.

For many of our campers the world can be a scary place. Our kids live in a world of 24 hour news, constant social media updates and most are never more than 5 feet from their phones. Camp is the opposite of this, we provide a place for our campers to be silly, enjoy downtime, and practice failure without fear of academic consequences. Having a place to decompress, relax and feel comfortable in your own skin is wonderful. Knowing that this place will always be there for you is priceless.

All to often we see our campers, staff, and alumni walk into camp, spend a few minutes here and just relax. I love watching that change take place, seeing the calm in their faces and watching them realize that they are home. It’s a great feeling to be a part of that process. Thanks for sending your kids here this summer and allowing them to have a place that will be a stable rudder in their lives. Thanks for allowing them a place to relax, decompress and be themselves. We hope you see the difference next week when they come home ready to re emerge from camp life into their regular life recharged and ready to take over the world.

One thought on “Where time stands still”

  1. Oh, Gabe, You manage to put the spirit of camp and the feel and emotion of it into words. Coming back to Birch Trail centers us in a way no other place can. The smell of the lake, the feel of the wind, the familiarity of the path to Tamarack Village — all bring us home both literally and figuratively. Thank you for understanding and continuing the legacy, while at the same time bringing our beloved Birch Trail into the 21st century. How!

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