Have you ever passed a kid biking down the street and wondered if he, like you, is thinking of camp fires and canteen? Do you wonder if that elderly gentleman you passed in the supermarket, inexplicably humming a tune that we sing in the Dining Hall or Starlight Playhouse every summer, is lost in thoughts of a boyhood spent boating with his bunkmates? Maybe it is because of an overactive imagination or just a bad case of campsickness, but I find myself thinking–or hoping–they could be!
In fact, it’s hard not to miss summer when your primary responsibility is to, as David instructs every camper and staff member at lineup each morning, ‘Have a great day!’ and going to “work” means playing in the lake, learning how to waterski, cooking a tasty snack, maneuvering a ropes course, building a rocket, writing a blog, or making a really cool craft project? As I find myself daydreaming of Fruit Call, 3 Short Neck Buzzards, and, of course, sunsets on the lake, I wonder if others are so lucky as to have found a place to which they long to return as much as I long to return to Camp Starlight. Is there a whole world of people out there, young and old, reminiscing about summers past?
Sometimes I find myself thinking that the Starlight experience is so dear that there is no way anyone could possibly feel the same way about their own camp. Then I realize that, for generations, summer camp has been a magical place for campers and staff alike. My experiences are only the tiniest piece of a massive web of memories treasured by campers and counselors of summers past, present, and future. Oddly, such a realization intensifies my recollections of Camp Starlight, making them even more precious!
Summers at Camp Starlight make me a—all of us–a part of something really big, really special, and timeless. I have a permanent bond not only to the campers and staff I met at Starlight but to anyone who has ever or will ever call Starlight home! I’m also linked to millions of people past, present, and future who have, do, or will attend summer camp. It gives me an identity, a bond, and a connection to this wonderful thing, known as summer camp, I have come to love so much.