I don’t want to believe that summer is almost over, but the signs are hard to ignore. The evenings have a crispness in the air that hints of fall and days are shorter. Before we know it the kids will be back in school, leaves will be turning colors, and we will be trading backyard BBQs and popsicles for apple picking and pumpkin flavored everything.
At the Y, we also notice the seasons, but in a different way. Summer is traditionally one of our slowest seasons for adult members, as we see fewer people during the warmer months when everyone is busy exploring the outdoors and taking well deserved vacations. Summer is also camp season. This summer the Y offered seven different camp options for youth entering kindergarten all the way through high school age. They ranged from a traditional day camp experience complete with arts and crafts, fun games, and water play, to specialty camps like our teen climbing camp that visited a different off-site outdoor rock climbing location each day.
This week marks the last week of summer camp here at the Y. While many of our campers join us for just a week or two, some campers have spent their entire summer with us, and for them, the last week of summer camp can be hard. Many are sad to leave their counselors and new friends. They don’t want the fun to stop, and we sure can’t blame them!
I have always thought that part of what makes summer camp so special is how short it is. Just like the long warm sunny days of summer, camp itself is fleeting. All of the laughter, fun, games, friends, and play seem extra special because we know it won’t last, but the memories sure do.
Memories like the time in climbing camp when one participant tripped while galloping around a climbing site pretending to be a horse. When he fell, he neighed a sad, desperate neigh and it made all of us laugh so hard our abs hurt (he was ok, and was probably laughing the hardest of all). Or how Peter Sebert, Stacy Wilbur, and I managed to beat 13 teenagers in a game of ultimate frisbee – twice! I’ll think about the potluck we had in girls sports camp, where we feasted on fresh fruit, veggies, and chips and dip between sports matches, and ended the day with homemade cupcakes. I’ll remember how proud I was all of the times I challenged my campers and they surprised themselves by being successful, or when they demonstrated the Y’s core values – respect, honesty, responsibility, and caring – without me reminding them. This summer is full of memories for me, and I am just one of hundreds involved in our summer camp programs. It’s pretty cool how camp at the Y can have such an impact on so many people!