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A Juneymoon Summer

A longtime camp mom recently jumped into the world of children’s books with Juneymoon. It’s a sweet story about the adoption of a new dog after losing their beloved, longtime pooch to old age. The subtitle explains the book perfectly: the story of a perfectly imperfect dog.

While my boys are a bit past the age when they’ll let me read to them, I’m always on the lookout for something to read my young nieces. Juneymoon is perfect for them: it’s about a high-spirited dog and the young girl who is trying to train and welcome it into the family.

And, as most things do these days, Juneymoon reminded me of camp.

Summer 2019

For those who were a part of the family in 2019, we had a tremendous summer. The weather was beautiful, the kids frolicked without a care, and the food was the best yet. (I still miss that salad bar….)

Campers and staff arrived from 15 States and 14 different countries. We had our first camper from Saudi Arabia, more former campers on staff than ever, and a group of CITs who were among the first kids I met while rebuilding camp.

Visiting Day was a complete blast. Families streamed in anxiously awaiting their kids. Chef Daniel knocked the food out of the park and the weather, much like it had been all summer, was glorious. And our staff… wow. They were just fantastic from Day 1 of Orientation all the way through the frenzied last day of clean-up.

Summer 2020 had to be just as good, if not better… right?

Juneymoon’s Summer Camp

Well, we all know how that turned out. Last summer got derailed by an unexpected virus. Thankfully, we’ve learned a lot since then. We’ll be ready to make Summer ’21 amazing… if a little different. Our kids need it. So do I!

In the story, young Izzy struggles with new dog June because all she could remember were the great times with her old dog, Eli. To Izzy, “Eli was absolutely perfect.”

Our returning campers will arrive remembering that perfect Summer 2019. Enjoying this summer with masks on, Covid-tested, and ‘podded’ over the first several days of the session will most likely make Summer ’19 look all the more fun.

It’s a very natural and expected response. When we look back on our past, we remember a lot of good. We rarely remember the easily-forgotten “bad” things: an argument with a friend, rain canceling our tubing time, the counselor who you felt was a little too strict, the sad moments after speaking with your parents, your tribe or team failing to win.

While we can certainly look back favorably on Summer ’19, we also have to realize it wasn’t perfect.

Campers, we’ve got to look forward to Summer ’21 even more. In spite of the fewer number of international kids and staff members. In spite of the daily health checks and the greater number outdoor activities. In spite of the masks when we are mixing and the all-bunk activity program for the first week.

A Perfectly Imperfect Summer

Yes, this coming summer will be different than past summers. Here’s the funny thing: camp is always a little different each summer. Campers, while you don’t feel like you change much between the summers, you do. So do the staff. And so does camp.

Yes, we’ll have some new things to get used to. But that’s the same every summer. There are always new staff members, new amazing evening activities, new kids in the bunk. This leads to a bit of getting used to things each summer.  

No matter what, these little frustrations will be totally worth it. Why? Because we’ll be together. And, I bet the more you get into the experience, the more fun you’ll have and the less likely you are to worry about things that may be different.

Get ready for a perfectly imperfect summer, Weequahic. We can’t wait!

PS: If you’d like to purchase a copy of Juneymoon, you can find it here. It’s very well worth the read!

A Farmer’s New Year Lesson

We are so grateful to enjoy such an amazing community of campers, parents, staff and friends at Camp Weequahic. The love, fun, and support of so many has been a highlight during a tough year.

While 2020 was filled with a number of challenges, it also taught us several of important lessons. As we move into ’21, a story told around the campfire came to mind. We couldn’t resist one last campfire of 2020 and thought it would be fun to hear from some of our campers and staff once more.

We hope you’ll enjoy this short video about “The Farmer and the Fruit Tree” as well as the fruits our community gathered from the past several months.

To all in our fantastic Camp Weequahic family, we wish y’all happy end to 2020 and wonderful start to ’21!

*If anyone needs help with video ideas or creation, Ben Marshall has done all of the short videos we’ve produced over the past few years – including this one.

Binary Opposition

The body is an amazing thing. To curl your arm from an extended position requires the contraction of one set of muscles and the lengthening of another. A push-pull, if you will.

It’s the same with any movement: throwing a ball, playing a piano, blazing and building in Fortnite or peeling off a sticker. Each movement requires a series of ‘push-pull’ systems in your body. When you sleep, you let these systems rest and find balance.

I raise this idea this to set you up for something bigger, something called ‘binary opposition.’ Simply put, two things exist are linked together but are at odds with one other. When one gets bigger, the other gets smaller. When the two are balanced, things are calm. When they are not, there is stress.

Yin and Yang

The classic visual symbol of ‘binary opposition’ is the yin-yang symbol. The idea is that two things are not only connected but also hold something of the other inside it. The koi pond in Avatar is a nice example of this. Here’s another:

In ‘The Dark Crystal’ there are two opposing groups: one that is thoughtful, wise, and gentle, while the other is angry, greedy, and violent. Between the two are the inhabitants of the land who suffer due to standoff between the two major groups.

(Spoiler alert!)

Turns out these warring factions were actually two parts of the same beings that had been magically splintered. When they are reunited by a selfless hero, the land returns its fruitful ways and peace reigns.

If you’ve been at camp long enough, you’ve heard story of the two wolves around the campfire. It’s a similar idea.  

Push & Pull for Heroes and Camp

Heroes are an interesting combination of binary oppositions: strength and gentleness, courage and fear, creativity and ‘the basics’, adventure and home, and many more. Yes – heroes experience fear all the time. Without it, they couldn’t develop their courage.

Life at camp has similar push-pull experiences. Take, for example, the combination of ‘community’ and ‘individual choice.’ The balance of the two is desperately important. In our opinion, too much structure and you wear each other out. Too much individual choice and you fail to develop connections. At Weequahic, we need to find the balance of this push-pull situation. Same with ‘fun / safety’, ‘new ideas / tradition’ or ‘fruit / chocolate chip cookies.’

There are several binary oppositions I’d like to explore with you over the coming weeks. Specifically, we’ll look at some of the big ones heroes wrestle with and apply them to our own lives. I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Don’t worry – there will be a lot of talk about camp, too!

Have a great week, Weequahic!

PS: I know I mentioned ‘stickers’ up above. If you are looking for a fun holiday gift, check out our favorite sticker maker​. They’ve been fantastic over the years. Their service is top notch and prices very reasonable. Enjoy!