A little over a year ago, I was at home up in my attic searching for something or other, and came across a very special notebook that had not been written in, in 21 years. It was the notebook which I kept during my Gamma summer here at Camp Green Lane in 1996. In this notebook were print-outs of skit sheets, pieces of costumes from the camp show, silent meal napkins, brochures from camp trips, color war song sheets, and so many other mementos from my last summer as a camper.
It got me to thinking about returning to my beloved summer home with my own children (5 and 7-year old girls) but this time as one of those lucky adults that got to proudly wear one of those shirts with the letters, S-T-A-F-F on the back. After a few days of letting the idea marinate, I called Uncle Jay and passed the idea by him. “Come down for a visit with your girls and your hubby”, he said. So, we did! My husband had never been to summer camp so he never really “got it” when I spoke about the summers I spent at CGL. He thought that the idea of me and the kiddos leaving him for the summer was crazy, until we passed under those magical arches that lead into Camp Green Lane.
We took the regular tour with Uncle Adam, making some special stops to find my name written on camp walls and painted on bunk plaques, and even got to go behind the counter in the canteen; a bucket list item that was beyond awesome to check off! I knew that my husband was beginning to be encompassed by the CGL spell, but it wasn’t until our drive home with our girls rattling off what seemed like a million different reasons of why they wanted to go to Camp Green Lane. The one that pulled at my heartstrings the most, you ask? “Because you went there, Mommy!” I was sold and we made the decision to come for the summer of 2018!
Coming back after 22 years has been surreal, nostalgic, amazing, and feels as if I’d never left. For the past few weeks, getting to watch camp through the eyes of my kids and through the eyes of every child who is lucky enough to call this place home has been a truly powerful and emotional thing. While I understand that every camp is special to the campers who attend, there is just something different about this wondrous place. It’s our own paradise where friends become instant family and home becomes so much more than those 4 cabin walls.
Camper or staff, it’s always been my summer home!
Aunt Jess “Cooking” Becak