A most wonderful welcome
When I first came to Fleur de Lis, it was mid-spring and the buildings that would soon be filled with eager staff during training week had not yet been opened for the season. While 120 Howeville is a truly beautiful place, so much of what makes this place the destination that we all look forward to returning to is the people who return along with us and the ones who arrive for the very first time. So without the people, camp is, well, just not the same.
So as, Lady Carrie showed me empty building after empty building, I could sense the potential, the magic leftover from previous summers but it was just the shadow of what actually happens here. That is until we entered the Barn. As she explained Mid Birthday and EP and Senior Banquet and several other things I both understood but also did not get, I could see it all. The campers waiting for the play to be revealed, the chaos and excitement backstage, the mix of silliness and bravery that accompanies Air Bands and Talent Show, and this beautiful wooden building in the center of camp standing as a place to perform, celebrate, and gather as a community.
Needless to say, my experience with the Barn has exceeded my first impressions but I find that each time I gather there, I am reminded that it just may be my favorite building at camp. As the curtain closes between scenes, my gaze wanders to the chandeliers and up the wood walls to the banners above. When our voices rise in cheers or song, I can’t help but think how natural it seems for us to be a group, even when we have only been here together for a few hours. It also never fails to astound me what our campers manage to accomplish in a week. If you had the pleasure of joining us last week for Pocahontas or last night for Wicked or at any point in the past, you know the wonder that hits as all the hard work shows through.
So even though, it was a disappointment to have indoor campfire last night, I would not have traded the experience of hearing Peace sung in such wonderful harmony for a night under the stars. It made me wonder if the reason that the Barn never truly feels empty without us is because of how much of our memories, heart, effort and very selves we leave there. If so, it all adds up to a wonderful welcome to those of us who find ourselves introduced to camp before camp.