Letters from Camp: Closing the Gate

Campers One Last Wave Goodbye!
Stephanie Rustem, Camp Assistant Director
There is something incredibly eerie about walking around camp without hearing and seeing campers. The buildings look the same, but they feel incredibly different. The Lodge no longer sounds of cheerful campers, and the Art Shed now lacks tie dyed bandanas and plaster of Paris animal footprints. There aren’t any more skits being performed at the amphitheater, and the waterfront lacks wading fisher-kids. Everything seems still.
Canoeing Class on Cedar Lake Canoeing Class on Cedar Lake
Anyone who’s had the privilege of working at camp knows it’s a fast-paced work environment with little time for reflection. We live from moment to moment and have few opportunities to do some deep thinking about the lifelong impacts we, as a staff, have made on hundreds of campers over the course of the summer. While at camp, we focused on keeping campers safe, fed, and happy. Since the last batch of campers left camp nearly a week ago, I’ve had some time to stop and think about all of the amazing work the 2014 summer camp staff was able to accomplish in 6 short weeks. Over 170 kids became hunter safety certified and over 300 shot archery and .22s. Hundreds of campers learned how to build fires without using a match or lighter and dozens camped for the very first time. Over 20 campers went on a 14-mile backpacking journey, and 20 others became certified trappers and furbearers.
Cedar Lake Cedar Lake
As a staff, we were rewarded everyday with smiles and laughter, high fives and hugs. We grew with the campers in our understanding of the outdoors and learned life lessons from each other. I’d like to thank all of the staff members who dedicated their summers to helping get youth outside. You can’t have a camp without campers, but you also can’t have a great camp without a great staff. To the 2014 summer camp staff, thank you for your amazing work. Most importantly, thank you to all of the sponsors that supported our dedication to conservation through education. You helped hundreds of campers learn about the outdoors and grow into land stewards. Without campers, a camp is just a bunch of empty buildings. To all of you who have followed us during the camp season, thank you for following us throughout the summer. We look forward to what the 2015 summer camp season has in store! Now, it’s time for me to close the gate one last time.

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