Camp News & Blog

Something Old, Something New

I recently enjoyed looking over a map displaying the oldest, continuously operating business in each country. As someone with Irish roots, I’m happy to report ‘Sean’s Bar’ has been pulling pints since 900 AD – the third oldest business in the world! I’ve not visited it yet but I plan to the next time I’m on the Emerald Isle.

The map reminded me of a dinner I enjoyed with my younger brother many moons ago. He was spending a year abroad, studying Italian in Sienna, Italy.

I have three distinct memories of my first day with him: the ribollita at a small café outside Il Palio, the after affects of my first (and last) espresso and eating dinner in his apartment… which was older than the United States of America!

Camp – Past and Present

When you put into that context, Camp Weequahic is not old. Founded in 1953 by Mr. and Mrs. Al Lustig, Weequahic grew steadily over the ensuing decades. The camp weathered many financial storms over that time with rising interest rates, an epic flood or two and many other challenges.

Not many communities or businesses have lasted as long as Camp Weequahic. Kate and I are proud to be holding up the torch that was so ably started by the Lustig and Seffer families as we move Weequahic into the future.

There is a lot that is new at our old camp: a new website with a fancy virtual tour, new videos, and more bells and whistles. We’ve got a new waterpark being installed soon. The Health Center has a new exam room and medical storage facility. The oldest boys (finally!) have a new bathroom.

And yet, with all the new, it doesn’t change the majesty and importance of the old. The Tribal and Olympic competitions end the sessions. Campfire is enjoyed every Friday night. Our counselors and staff do all they can to care for our campers… who come to have a blast.

These traditions were started long before Kate and I arrived and will continue (we hope) long after we’ve retired. There is usefulness in good traditions, those that bind us together in positive ways and create a feeling of being a part of something larger than yourself. And, there are some traditions that have outlived their usefulness. (Campfire behind gymnastics, anyone?) As many have said before me, without change, there is no growth. 

So, yes, there is some old and some new at camp, just as there is in your life. We are excited to keep that balance rolling on through at Weequahic. 

Sonnet (19)53

How do we love our people? Let us count the ways.

We love y’all deeper than Sly Lake and taller than the pines surrounding Main Camp when feeling out of sight for the memories of summer using the videos of Ben.

We love you to the level of your favorite EA, by the warm summer sun and flashlight time.

We love you freely, as campers dance and jump and sing at dinnertime.

We love you purely, as staff members serve for the fun of it.

We love you with joy put to use

On rainy days and with a youthful faith.

We love you with an awesomeness we’ll never lose

With the lost and found. We love y’all with laughter of arrival,

Smiles and tears of goodbye all summer and winter long; And, should Fortune choose,

We’ll do it all again next summer because it’s an experience without rival.

*Apologies to Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning on whose wonderful poem, How Do I Love Thee (Sonnet 43), this was modeled. 
Spotlight drama program at summer camp

Spotlight

I really enjoy watching our people up on stage at Weequahic.

Whether it be the entire bunk putting on a skit for MTv Night, Finch and the staff spewing laughter at each other, or the thespians putting on an amazing show… it’s just so much fun. The bright lights, the costumes, the pageantry are all hilarious and fun and (mostly) heartwarming.

Having been on the stage at the end of these shows, I know the power of the lights. They are incredibly bright and shine perfectly down on the stage. The lights make it so you can’t see anything out in the audience or backstage either.

The light drowns out everything except what’s most important: the show on stage.

In the Moment

Here’s a question: when have you felt most glad about being who you are? Perhaps laughing so hard with your friends that you ‘snarf?’ At the end of a great game? Sitting around the campfire and looking out at the lake as some old guy drones on about gratitude, attitude or courage?

(Sheesh… that guy….)

I’m sure there are a lot of different moments and different situations when you’ve felt grateful to just be you.

Do you know one of the things they all have in common? You were complete immersed in the moment.

Whenever it was, whoever you were with, whatever you were doing, you were completely and utterly engaged. The past didn’t matter and the future wasn’t in mind. It was all about that moment.

You weren’t thinking about your homework or next meal or what you were going to text your friends about. What happened yesterday or last week was nowhere near your attention.

It was all about that moment.

Shine the Light

When you focus your attention completely on the moment at hand, you forget the past and put no thought towards the future. You are engrossed with the here and now. And, in that moment, you can dance, you can play, you can interact with the environment and the people around you fully in the moment.

When you turn down the spotlight, you’ll be able to see the audience ahead of you and those supporting you back stage. But you’ll no longer be focusing on the ‘here and now.’ And the moment will suffer for it.

Mind you, I’m not suggesting you shine the light on yourself. Rather, shine it on the moment. You’ll get plenty of light and, more importantly, have the gift of a moment.

Have a great weekend!