The Good Stuff

  • A little over two weeks in and our campers, and this community, never cease to amaze me. I wake up every morning grateful to be a part of this crazy, funny, everchanging family and every Friday afternoon, around noon-ish, I start to reflect on the past week. I’m quickly reminded of the camp-wide movie night we had on Sunday, the tie-dye frosting I got to make with a group of Bogs on Monday, and the departure of our two-week campers on Tuesday. The special events, the activities, all the things that fill our programming calendar, those are the things that lay the groundwork and the foundation for the good stuff to happen. That special moment when a brother and sister who hardly see one another during the week got to share a blanket and backrest for an uninterrupted hour and a half during Moana. The absolute and honest look of awe on the face of a Bogrim camper (it takes  A LOT to do that) as they watch Molly demonstrate how to make 5 colors of frosting look like something straight out of Arts & Crafts. The feeling of accomplishment as we said farewell to 13 of our two-week campers, knowing the impact that their counselors and this place, had on their confidence and independence. That’s the good stuff.

    The good stuff happens in the in betweens, the late nights and the heart to hearts. Shabbat is always the perfect time to take that deep breath, relax, and then eat and dance a whole lot. Have you heard we have matzo balls in our soup this summer!? I repeat: MATZO BALLS. AT CAMP. Our food has been fantastic and Shabbat dinner has been no exception. Our dancing? It’s been absolutely outrageous. Everyone is up, enjoying and engaged, and I can always assess the quality of a Rikud session based on how many of the Bogrim boys we have to ask to keep their shirts fully buttoned (we installed three large fans as a proactive measure to address this). Saturday programming is always more relaxed, with a variety of mitzvot projects and opportunities to enhance our connection to camp and one another, but the good stuff, that happens at Havdallah. There’s something incredibly powerful about all of camp gathering together at dusk to welcome a new week. Arms linked, slung over shoulders and hands held, we say goodbye to another Shabbat and quickly scoot off to one of my personal favorites, the CTN Talent Show. Talents range from joke telling, to gymnastics, singing and magic and while the spectrum of skill is varied, I am always blown away at the confidence that these kids get on stage with. Four hundred people in the audience, and these kids are able to overcome a fear, sometimes with a counselor or older camper by their side. Each time their nerves are met with a standing ovation and enthusiastic cheers from the audience. The respect each camper receives, the undivided attention and silent support the audience provides as a camper stumbles through a line or two of their performance, those are those perfect moments.

    Winning the Bog Volleyball tournament at Tevya and the Double Tennis tournament at CYJ on Sunday, was fun and seeing and feeling the energy of a very excited group of Bunk 18ers pull into camp, sprint to the beach and “lake it” in celebration, feeling their pure joy, that was the good stuff. The girls beamed with pride and the victory was only sweetened when we heard that Sam and Talia would be arriving soon with another trophy to add to the collection. Our campers often join teams and participate in game days as an opportunity to wear their trip day shirt proudly, travel to another camp, and have a bonding experience outside of camp. The feeling of pride and accomplishment and the satisfaction of working as a team. They participate because they know with it come the moments that will stick with them.

    Party Excitement was amazing, a camper favorite, new mixed tables always bring a welcomed change, and the weather was still cooperating, but Tuesday brought a different story. It felt fitting that the day we had to part ways with our Taam campers also gave way to the skies opening up and yet still, we got to see the good stuff. The super tight hugs, and teary goodbyes meant we did something good here. Memories and friendships were made and bonds were forged. I asked a departing camper as he helped pack up his parents’ car, “so what’d you think of camp?” His response…”this was the best year of my life!”.  He may have been a bit on the over-dramatic side, but it has been a pretty fantastic two weeks.

    The last two days have been similar in weather but great in spirit. In many ways, rain doesn’t mean what it means in the real world. At home you’d stay inside, your soccer game may be cancelled and you’d lay low. While there is certainly a shift in activities on rainy days, (and yes, we did have a couple of lazy  mornings/afternoons!) they open the door for lots of the good stuff and perfect moments to happen. Bunk 11A played the Game of Life in their bunk, 9B built an immense, and wildly impressive fort throughout the entire cabin, and Bunk 14 decided to opt out of the indoor activities and jumped into the lake with Jayme, their Head Counselor. Bunk 9A invited Bunk O (our pre-campers) over for some games and quality time. Their counselors reported incredible patience and creativity as they hung out with little ones. Some kids slept, spent time with the counselors they adore, and it goes without saying that the previously mentioned Maryn’s Nail Salon was absolutely slammed with business. It’s incredible what happens so naturally when our campers are provided with a little extra TLC and some unstructured, supervised free time.

    Our 9th and 10th graders headed off to their long awaited overnight trips to North Conway and Maine. While our 9th graders had a bit of a shift in itinerary due to severe weather, the group made the best of the change in plans (the second day of their trip was cancelled and they headed to Fun Spot instead)…and their Attitash shirts are already being shipped to camp! Bunks 8 and 18 headed down the rapids of the Kennebec and reported a very cold but very fun trip. We were thrilled to see their buses pull into camp yesterday, it was much too quiet without them and we were eager to hear about their adventures!

    Every day feels like an adventure here, and we are so grateful for all of the people, parents, and staff that make it all possible. Perhaps it was the departure of our Taam campers on Tuesday, or the approaching Visiting Day, but we feel the growing urgency to take it all in, enjoy every moment and enjoy the good stuff. We know it won’t last forever, but we certainly wish it could! Shabbat shalom!

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