The password for Circle is so honored, still so tired.
Here’s the thing we all know but try not to talk about- Camp can be a stressful thing- a wonderful, intense, amazing, but still stressful thing. Actually, it possesses this duel identity where on one hand, you spend the day teaching archery and canoeing, hanging out with campers and friends, and enjoying this beautiful setting and on the other, you are responsible for the health, wellbeing and experience of other people’s children. It is an immense opportunity and a responsibility that we take seriously, very seriously and thus becomes stressful. But it is a stress that we love, that we welcome into our lives with the same enthusiasm that we greet our camp friends at the beginning of each summer.
As Circle of Fleur de Lis had its inaugural launch, this duality was never more apparent. Somehow one week of time translated into seven weeks worth of bonding and experience as we shuffled from activity to activity. We were all in awe of how quickly the kids adapted to being here, how much it seemed like they had been here all summer, how quickly we, as staff, forgot that most of us had just met. Camp worked its unique magic- we were totally relaxed, enjoying working with these kids and each other, and completely stressed out, because they were only here for a week and we wanted them to do everything, to have every experience that FDL provides and yet to do something completely different from all our other campers.
On Friday after the buses left, we gathered as staff to debrief and process the week. As we went around in turns, sharing our impressions of the week, what was repeated again and again what not the stress that we had commiserated over at points but the profound honor that we all felt to be a part of this program. How many things can be both mentally and physically exhausting and still give you more than you put into it?
That will be the legacy of Circle for the staff- a week that brought camp back into the lives of people who thought their days of “Auntie Monica” were long over, that showed us how quickly apprehension melts away in the face of shared experience and enthusiasm, that reminded many of us how much we had to learn from people much younger than we are, that made us feel proud to be part of this and so humbled by the kids themselves, and that was an entire summer unto itself complete with total relaxation and utter stress.