Every once in a while, we have a Guest Blogger, I am sure you will enjoy!
“Hey Say, Color War’s over…” So go the words to an old Color War song (and something of a camp anthem) that we CGLers hold dear. As a former Color War Captain, I have the pleasure of going up to camp for Sing every year. Other than Visiting Day, it is my favorite day of the year. Not only do I get to give my kids a quick squeeze, but I get to be a part of the spirit, excitement, and tradition of the night. Coming off of yesterday’s nail-biter of a Steeple Chase, the entire camp was literally vibrating with anticipation. Last night, the score was close enough going in that the winner of Sing would win Color War. While both teams sang their hearts out to some amazing songs, the Green team was victorious in the end. After the winner was announced, the Green and the White teams raced across the Globe to high-five and hug one another, congratulating each other on a war well-fought. Then they lined up for a well-deserved canteen treat and headed back to the cabins to talk through the entire week that had passed.
There were, however, some tears last night. This is my 8-year-old son’s first summer, and I was interested to see how he would react to Sing. While the judges were off discussing who would win the night, I saw him making his way across the room to me…. and he was crying. When I asked why, he said “I don’t even know,” which is funny because it’s the same exact thing my daughter said at her first Sing 4 years ago. Being the die-hard CGLer that I am, I knew exactly why he was crying:
He was crying because Color War is a very emotional week. You wait for it all summer: anticipating the break, talking about what the themes will be and who the captains will be. Once those booms go off, you learn your team colors and lock in for battle. By the time it’s over you are emotionally and physically spent, but in the best way possible.
He was crying because two of the songs we sing at Sing, the Friendship and the Alma Mater, bring up all sorts of emotions. You look to your left and right, and know that you are surrounded by your teammates. You look across the Globe and see your friends who have been on the other team for a week. While both teams are using different words to convey their feelings, the sentiments are the same: the friendships we make at Green Lane are unlike any other and how this place is, and will always be, our summer home.
He was crying because in the weeks leading up to camp he was so nervous. Nervous about the new friends he would make. And about sleeping somewhere different. And about doing it all without his parents to catch him when he fell. And now, at the 6-week mark, he was a changed person. More mature, more sure of himself, knowing that he was surrounded by not only friends, but a whole new family, that would catch him if he fell.
He was crying because in just one week he was going to board a bus and head home. And while he’s excited to see us (but mostly the dog) he is going to miss camp. How is he going to sleep in such a quiet room, all by himself? Where will his new brothers be when he thinks of a funny joke that only they’ll get? Why is the dinner table so quiet and why don’t we stand on our chairs and cheer every night?
He was crying because he found, in Camp Green Lane, a home. One where he can be exactly who he is and wants to be. Where his friends and counselors are there to cheer him on or put an arm around his shoulders when he needs it. Where ridiculous amounts of fun, laughter, spirit, and love are crammed into 7 short weeks, and now the 10 for 2 begins as he’ll count the minutes until he boards the bus to head back next summer.
And now I’m crying. And kvelling. Knowing that my kids are happy and safe in our summer home. And they are making the same kinds of memories and friendships that I started making over 30 years ago. And that they are doing it alongside my best friends’ kids. And that new families are being brought into the fold so that they can become a part of this incredible place and summer family for generations to come.
Yours in Camping,
Robin Stern Raskin