The password for today is friendship.
POSTED 7.15.13 Blog

Welcome again everyone to another beautiful Coronation ceremony and Visiting Day. I’m Susan Clinkenbeard, more often known as Lady Clink, and I went to Fleur de Lis many years ago for eleven happy summers, with some of your mothers. I also was a queen, in a long line of queens, of which Queen Cara is the newest, and my mother was a queen too, so being here for this ceremony has special meaning for me. Cara, I’m so proud of you, and Kristen, and Rachel, and Paige. You are upholding a tradition that so many of us hold dear, and you are carrying it on for all of us.

Coming back to Fleur de Lis feels like coming home. Obviously, there are plenty of things about camp that have changed through the years: new buildings, new activities, new tennis courts, new sailboats, new faces. But some things about camp don’t change. The lake doesn’t change. You still have to memorize all the rocks in the pen where you swim, and they haven’t changed at all, and it still hurts just as much if you forget where one is; in fact, part of advancing in swimming lessons year to year means you still get to memorize a new group of rocks. Watching fireworks together on the Fourth of July doesn’t change. The view of this strong gray mountain doesn’t change. And making friends, some of whom it is possible to keep all of your life, doesn’t change.

Why is it that friendship is so important at Fleur de Lis? It’s the glue that holds everything together. It’s what makes the experience worthwhile. Of course, it’s great to learn a new skill or pass a milestone in one of your activities. But doesn’t it make it that much sweeter when you’re doing it together, and you have the support of your friends? If you know that everyone in the dining hall is going to sing Congratulations, doesn’t it make it that much more exciting when you get up on waterskis, or shoot your first ten-bull?  Maybe it even gives you just that little bit more of a push to get yourself up on waterskis, to try because you know your friends want you to succeed.

The most important times at camp are not the big obvious ones, like getting a part in the play or winning an award. Some of the most important times at camp are lying on your beds whispering at rest hour, trying to not get caught, because you’re excited about something you’re talking about. Or the singing that rises up spontaneously when you’re together in the Dining Hall and you get to make up verses about each other. Or the conversation you have with someone new that you’re getting to know better when you’re walking back down to the field after Evening Program. Friendship comes stealing in during the quiet times when you’re not trying to do anything, because you don’t have to do anything except be together, sharing your experiences.

How can you be a good friend? Sometimes it just means listening, making sure you’re giving your full attention, and letting everyone have their turn to speak. It means accepting each person for their own particular gifts and strengths, and differences. Being part of a community means that those differences are a strength, not a weakness, one that helps to make up the beautiful quilt of who we are together. And because those differences are important, being a friend means including everyone, even the person you may not know as well, or the one who marches to her own rhythm. Friendship is the best gift you can give Fleur de Lis, and the biggest gift you will take away. Enjoy your beautiful summer.

The password for today is friendship.

-Lady Clink