Spun into Gold
Alumna Annie Lundsten shares her experience sending her daughter to camp:
Fairy tales are rife with stories of people giving away their daughters in exchange for their heart’s desire. The miller’s daughter, desperate to escape a king’s wrath and become queen, promises Rumpelstiltskin her first born child in exchange for the ability to spin straw into gold. The baker and his pregnant wife, craving the taste of fresh vegetables, pledge their daughter—Rapunzel–to the witch next door for a taste of her beautiful greens.
I spent my first summer at Fleur de Lis the year I turned eight and stayed until the summer I turned sixteen. My time there was a gift that, even as child, I understood to be a gift. It was a present I looked forward to receiving all year long and it had many facets; freedom from the limitations of my everyday life at home, loving relationships with a powerful female community and a safe environment in which to build strength and independence in the person I was becoming.
By the time my Fleur de Lis friends and I made our way to the senior field at fourteen, we were already talking about the future generation of girls we would give to camp in exchange for the heart’s desire FDL had fulfilled in each of us. As we grew up and began to have children, each daughter’s arrival caused a flurry of excitement for what would, of course, be a future Fleur de Lis camper. We felt, instinctively, that the gift we had received could only be repaid by passing it on to someone else.
This past summer, I got to do exactly that when my daughter, just shy of eight, became a Fleur de Lis camper. As I watched her set off on her own Fleur de Lis adventure which would, inevitably both resemble and diverge from mine, I felt the thrill of presenting her with this present. And upon her return, I knew the richly satisfying joy of knowing she had spun it to gold.