Welcome to the first installment of Jesse’s Journal. I will be updating this fairly often with my thoughts from the school year, and my memories about the summer. I want to start off by thanking you all for making the summer of 2014 the most fun yet. The only exciting thing about the summer ending is that I know that the next one will begin very soon.
A little background information about me, in case you didn’t know already. I am the Program Director at CGL. I have been at Camp Green Lane for the last ten years, attending summer camp since I was five. In addition to camp, I am a middle school theatre teacher down here in sunny Orlando, Florida. I grew up in Philadelphia, but moved down here for a teaching job that I got because of some amazing help/guidance from friends (well, family really) I met at CGL.
I have been reflecting on this summer a lot recently. Perhaps, because I get to teach many of our evening activities in class during the school year, or because I genuinely miss every second of being between the arches. Now, I know that there is the camp Facebook page, the Twitter feeds and Instagram (campgreenlane18054 in case you are not following it yet) but there is something about that feeling of actually being at camp that cannot be replaced.
I have been in touch with many of our staff, both upper staff and counselors to talk about the summer and catch up on their “real lives.” It’s not the same. I think that is what makes camp so special; the feelings cannot be easily described. I try to tell my students about it, but they do not get it. One of my best friends, a CGL alum was talking to her boss the other day and he uttered words that made her (and my) skin crawl. She was explaining the concept of camp. I understand that it is a difficult thing to explain, but he replied with “You mean your parents ship you away for seven weeks.”
I am sure you have heard these words uttered by someone when you are explaining our summer oasis to someone else. I have heard it a bunch of times. It irritates me so much that I need to rant about it. I hope you all don’t mind.
“Your parents ship you off?!?!” When she was telling me about this, I asked her how she replied. She said, “What my parents do is that they provide the opportunity to have the best summer ever. They are so selfless, that they put my needs and wants ahead of their own. They give me the greatest gift anyone has ever given me, and they continue to give it summer after summer. They provide me an opportunity to grow, to learn, and become a more mature and better person. They let me be myself, surrounded by people who not only accept me, but also love me for it. My parents do not ship me away; they allow me to make a lifetime of memories and friendship.”
WOW. Eloquent, succinct, and spot on. It is true. For those who have never experienced the magic of overnight camp, it is a difficult concept to come to terms with. No matter how much breath you use to try, you can never explain it as much as spending one day between the arches would.
I wish everyone could experience Camp Green Lane. That way we wouldn’t have to try to explain, but simply relive memories.
Until next time,