One Down, One To Go

It’s been a traumatic few days… but traumatic only because it’s been so hard to say goodbye to the campers I’ve gotten to know over this past four weeks. The banquet went really well, and the recognition campfire was just awesome. Each camper came up and was recognised for their contribution to camp life… and several of my favourite campers were awarded with the top awards that are voted on by campers and staff. It was such an emotional evening: I really don’t think I’ve ever cried so much, and many of the staff, campers and parents joined in too. These past few days have really brought it home to me just how much this place means to so many people – and why so many come back year after year – and I’m beginning to feel it myself.

And now they’ve all gone. One camper gave me a speech to proof read and suggest additions before he delivered it at the banquet… it was from a camper who has been pretty quiet but has enjoyed himself a lot. It was awesome to read how he felt like he had made a whole new family, because of the “brotherhood” kind of ethos we seem to have out here. And he’s so right.

I feel like I have a huge hole in my stomach and I’m missing some vital things. I got really close to a lot of them and the others I still cared for a lot. It was hard to find a bad kid… and of those that turned up a little wayward, by the end it was so brilliant to notice that they’re now so much more confident of themselves and not mean to the other campers any more. One of them in particular I’m really proud of… this camper liked me a lot and was in serious tears at the recognition night and the chapel we held the day after. I feel great that I’ve helped these kids out; I’m sure as hell going to miss them. Sometimes they didn’t show their appreciation very well, but I understood them. I know a lot of them liked me a lot… and I could tell that last night by the way most of them hugged me before they had to leave. It’s nice to feel wanted!

I’m looking forward to the next term, but I’m getting the feeling it’s going to be really hard to leave come August because I’m going to be doing this all over again, only this time with 60 kids instead of 40. It’s just so weird that I’ve met all these kids, got to know them and now they’re gone. There’s a good chance I won’t see most of them ever again. Life is cruel.

I would say this is getting close to being the best experience of my life. Right now I’d like to come back next year, but only a few days ago I was totally the opposite. I should give it longer so I can make a more balanced decision.

The new campers come on Wednesday. I hope they’re as good as the last lot.

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1 Comment

  1. Wicked news that this is turning into an experience you are valuing so highly. Hull must seem a fair way away…

    Reply

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