The truth about camp withdrawal
A camp colleague recently asked me how I feel at the end of camp. I answered without hesitation but the reality is so much more complicated than the simple answer that I gave in the moment.
There is a relief, certainly; another season has come and gone successfully. The campers and staff have spent weeks laughing, playing, and bonding and while we wish that it would never end, there is a large exhale that happens when you know that they have all returned home safe. There is also the small joy of knowing you can sleep a little longer and take things as they come now that the camp schedule has loosened its reigns a bit. Then there is the profound sadness that sets in when you realize that this is not just a weekend away, that they are not coming back for whole another year. The wonderful, irrational beauty of summer camp is that even though we know it is only for a few weeks, we set up a home. We convince ourselves that those seven or eight weeks will stretch towards infinity this year and we won’t have to leave. So as August creeps in and the temperature drops at night, we slowly let the realization set in that we can’t stay forever and the day is fast approaching for goodbyes punctuated by tears and tight hugs. In the aftermath of it all, the fields that once swelled with laughter are quiet and for those of us who stay, there is a real loss that it felt in that silence.
So that is the truth. Camp is over and we are relieved, proud of all that happened this summer, slightly better rested and undeniable sad to have to say goodbye to such the wonderful group of women who called Fleur de Lis Camp home in 2014.