This past Alumni Reunion Weekend was joy-filled! We had so many Alumni reliving the joy they had experienced as campers and counselors here at camp, along with some of their little ones too (future CLCers?). At the end of our weekend, (on the far right of the picture) Betsy Huffman, a camper and counselor in the 70’s and 80’s, was elected Alumni Board president.
Betsy had this to say: My family and I went to the CLC Alumni Reunion a few weeks ago, and it was awesome. We went to a council fire, competed in indoor and outdoor Little Olympics events, watched (and participated in) silly skits, danced the Virginia reel, paddled canoes and went on a hay ride. Wow, were there a lot of activities available! There were opportunities for doing the ropes course and climbing wall, hiking the trails, shooting at the archery range, and playing in the gaga pit. There were games of baseball and ultimate Frisbee. There was even ninja fitness and a polar bear plunge! We carved pumpkins and ate s’mores, sang silly songs and listened to talented musicians. We reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. I’m pretty sure we all had sensory flashbacks, either from staring into the campfire, walking into the unique wood-smoke-and-damp-book smell of the Lodge, or hearing the soft strains of “Symbol of Serenity.” The whole weekend felt like going home.
There’s a Miranda Lambert song called “The House That Built Me” that always makes me think of camp. It’s about someone who wants to go back to the house where she grew up, to touch it and feel it, and somehow to reconnect not only with the place she remembers, but also with the person she remembers being, the person she was before she left home, ventured out into the big, wide world, and forgot her roots.
(Betsy in the back, near the center of the picture)
click on the picture for a larger image
Crystal Lake is the camp that built me. I started going to Crystal Lake when I was four. My mom, who had attended and worked there as a teenager, went back as Girls Camp Head Counselor for the first part of the summer, and so my brother and I got to go, too. Although we had to take a few summers off when she was First Reader, we all went regularly for many years during the late 70s and pretty much all of the 80s. My brother and I were campers and project workers, then CITs and staff. I learned so much at camp. Each fall I would go back to school and look forward to the “What I Did Over the Summer” writing assignments, because there was always so much to share. Not many other kids in my class could write about riding horses through the woods, rock-climbing, rappelling, caving, taking long hikes, jumping off waterfalls, white-water kayaking, or laughing hysterically as a group of random people tried to swing on a rope across “lava” or to stuff each other through a tire. No one else ever wrote about week-long canoe trips, epic quests to capture flags, singing in the treetops, or sleeping under the stars. I never heard a single other person talk about pulling clay out of a lake and eventually turning it into a usable bowl by putting it in a fire made of burning hay and manure and burnishing it with a mess kit spoon. No one else seemed to know the satisfaction of building a one-match fire. Looking back, I can see that those summers at camp, and all the experiences I had… they helped shape who I am.
And it wasn’t just the activities I did or skills I learned. It was at camp that I learned that it was ok to make mistakes in front of lots of people, and that most people really just want to support you and watch you try your best. I learned that it’s ok to be silly or different. I learned how to interact with all kinds of people and appreciate their differences and similarities. I learned how to work within a group, both as a leader and a follower. I learned more about my relationship to God and how to use Christian Science in my daily life. I learned how to make and be a life-long friend. (I even eventually married a camp friend!) I learned how important and how satisfying it is to help.
So, even more than the fabulous and fun activities that we did that weekend, or even the old friends I got to see and be with, I’m grateful for the chance the Alumni reunion gave me to remember the many reasons why I love Crystal Lake. After all, it’s the camp that built me.
(Betsy in the Long House at camp, facing the Dining Hall)
“Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” – Matthew 18:20. This was the theme of our weekend. God was in the midst of us all, so much good was shared! We would Love to have you all for our next Alumni Reunion 2014. So please check out our pictures (click this link) if you haven’t already and consider joining us for a weekend filled with fun camp activities and the splendor of the Fall out here at camp, your home.
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