Friday, July 10, 2009

Camp Jewell

The summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I became staff at Camp Jewell in Colebrook, Connecticut. It was my first adventure in a co-ed camp - previously, I had stayed within the realm of the Girl Scouts - and it was my first experience on staff.

For the entirety of three summers, I worked at Jewell. The first year was spent in the office, and on "Linda's rock", the other two, as counseling staff.

I worked with the youngest girls - eight and nine years old - for two weeks at a time. I have campers that I will never forget: their sweetness, their innocence.... their homesickness. I will never in my life forget the one, who when I first lay my hand on her shoulder nearly jumped out of her skin. My guess was that her life had been a little harder than most, on many levels. Apparently, we connected over those two weeks, for at the winter reunion, I heard my name being yelled. I turned to see who had called me, and I see this child IN THE AIR, preparing to hug me for all she was worth.

I connected with the staff as well. Many of the staff, I kept up with for many, many years - a few I am in touch with still. The memories are right there, waiting for a song or a word to bring them forth. Say "short sheets", and I think of Gordon, "Prince" reminds me of the day the reveille tape *SOMEHOW* got exchanged for a copy of "When Doves Fly". (which then flashes the scene into my head of the camp director SPRINTING up from his residence to the office). The letters "O" "A" "C" remind me of friends and a silent trip from Connecticut to Maine that I would have missed if I had been on time.

They were wonderful years - years that changed my life for the better

I thank You, God for the opportunities and relationships that were developed at camp. May I connect with campers and staff alike, and seize, without hesitation, the opportunities you lay before me.

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