Tuesday, April 17, 2012
I'm seriously missing camp right now. I wore Keens, cargo shorts, and a Waycross T if that doesn't tell you something. I didn't even wear makeup. I'm so over school and so ready to work with those kids. Waycross is the place I feel I make the most difference. I always loved camp because I felt included and accepted, I felt important and useful, and I HAD FUN. And my whole goal is to recreate that for other kids. For kids who were just like me, for kids who come to me with far bigger problems than I have the power to fix, and even for those kids I hated. I've got one week. I've got one week to make them feel like they can do anything. I've got one week to make sure that even if they aren't particularly religious, that they feel spiritually fulfilled, from the 8 year-olds to the 18 year-olds (even though I'll be 18 the first couple of weeks. Shut up.) I've got one week to facilitate the forming of bonds among children that will last into adulthood. We've got one week. And we do it. The Waycross staff does it every week, again and again--we give kids the safest, most-incredible place to find themselves and to find God. Through music, through nature, through reflection(s ;) ), through their peers, they find that it's acceptable to love yourself and then given the tools to do it.
I can't wait. I can't wait to be in a place that make-up is more than optional--it's a little bit of a joke. I can't wait to be in a place that prizes bruises as battle wounds and going a week without showering--success. I can't wait to hold the hands of a homesick camper and say "only two more sleeps before you see your mommy," or to sit next to an embarrassed little boy who's wet his sleeping bag and say, "you don't have anything to be ashamed of and no one has to know. You'd be surprised how many people have done it here. Camp is a new place. It's just fine." I can't wait to be in a place where high-fives are music and music is the God within me. I can't wait to be in a place that the staff and campers respect the maintenance crew as much as the executive director.
I've loved sharing my world with my younger family members. Julian and Kaleigh love Waycross (duh) and I love having them there. Sometimes I have to learn to take off my Aunt Dede hat and just let them have their own good week. (I get a little paranoid and protective.) But then I remind myself that I didn't have an Aunt Dede there to ask my counselors how I was doing and if I needed anything--and I still loved it enough to be there as a (quasi)grown up. So I take a deep breath and let them have the time of their lives. And when they do, sometimes it makes me cry a little. To see Jude jumping up and down and singing, or to see Kaleigh holding her counselors' hands. It's so perfect. They are so perfect.
This is freakin' Utopia. And for however hard I try to bring the light back into the world, it's never quite the same. First week of June, first week of June... it's my mantra until I get out of dead week, out of finals, out of here... It's my mantra as I figure out seizures, bipolar disorder, and addiction within my family--something no one ever really does figure out. I can't let it go. I'm going to keep holding on until I get there to the perfection that is a culture, that although is not perfect, never stops trying to create a family built on love.
The summer camp stories we told made us laugh
but a campfire song made us cry...