Camp Memories: Saying Goodbye

Camp Memories: Saying Goodbye

Day 18, Saturday: Tell a story from your childhood. Dig deep and try to be descriptive about what you remember and how you felt.

My best memories from my childhood are from camp. My mom went to the D. P. F. Nassau County 4-H Camp when she was a child. As soon as I was old enough, she put the three of us into our Chevy Van and we headed out to camp.

Herb, Andrea, Cynthia on the way to camp

We spent summer after summer at camp and I had no idea, at the time, I would benefit in so many ways. I can honestly say my time there made me who I am today.

I will definitely be writing more posts about camp in the future, but for the sake of sticking to the challenge , I’ll share just one memory for today.

At the end of each summer, we would have our annual Candlelighting ceremony. This was the last event of the summer where everyone grabbed their towels and tissues and headed to the archery pit. The archery pit is basically a giant downward hill with targets at the bottom where the kids shot archery during the day. But for candle lighting, the counselors would transform this usually fun spot into a place of mourning. They set up an old tractor for a stage, lined it with giant #10 can candles, and set up a microphone and stereo system.

As campers, we arrived with our counselors and set up our blankets complete with friends and memories. As the night sky turned dark and the stars came out one by one, the music began to play. As the saddest songs by Ani DiFranco, Billy Joel and Green Day were played, the waterworks would begin.

Annemarie just texted me this picture (from one of our camper’s Facebook!). This was a Candlelighting ceremony they actually had on the beach. Add the sound of the ocean waves to the sad music and you’d better be sure to bring the tissues.

Campers went up to the stage in small groups or individually, reciting poems and songs of sadness, reflecting on the last 8 weeks of an amazing summer. And in turn, the audience would all sob mourning the end of the summer. Long would be the days of Beach Sundays, Cabin Nights and Council Fires. School would start in just a few days and life, as we knew it, was over.

When it was all over, we would walk back to our cabins, still drying our eyes. When we awoke and went to breakfast in the morning, our address books and gel pens in hand, we made promises to write letters to keep in touch. As parents came to pick up their children, one by one, we would tearfully say goodbye and promising to be back next year.

Such great memories. And I’m so excited to be in Montauk with some of the fabulous ladies I’m talking about and excited to write more about camp in the future. I’ll be sure to break out some old photos, too.

Now we’re off to enjoy this gorgeous weather. Hope you can too!



3 Responses

  1. Such wonderful memories! I’m going to find my staff soccer shirt, wear it and light some candles!

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