The first day of the session! Like anything new there is always a feeling of nervous anticipation in the air. On these days I am sure everyone see’s camp in such a drastically different light. For the first time camper this place might be a big, loud scary dinning hall. For the veteran senior girl or boy it might be a re-connection with and old friend while passing them on the path. And still for the staff who have been here for a month and half already it might be the awe that still comes from meeting a new camper and the feeling you get when creating those bonds that you know are so valuable. Those bonds that you instantly know are going to help you to grow, not just them, but yourself as well. We as camp staff know that with every new bond we make with a young person there is growth to be had from both parties. That growth may be overt in the sense that with the connections we have made with that camper they are now open to our coaching on how to set up a tent, or make their bed, or solo a canoe. It may also be more subtle growth, that same kind of growth we get when we learn something new about someone and what makes them happy or sad, when we learn to be more intuitive to that persons needs who doesn’t open up as easily. This growth can be almost more powerful.
On the first day of the session we see this all in abundance. The air is thick with this nervous excitement and we just know that things are going to go well here. You can tell it from the little things that we see around the site on the first evening. Things like the senior boys listening with rapt attention as their section head discusses with them the type of men they want to be this summer. The inter girls proudly singing their cheers around the camp fire all while making sure the new members of their section are not left out even though they might not know the words yet. These are the things that might get brushed off as inconsequential if you didn’t know the importance of them, but to the trained eye they might be the most crucial indicator of the times to come. This is a community that listens for the important stuff, it cares for all its members, and it is ready for another wonderful session on the shores of Tepee Lake, in beautiful Algonquin Park.