Camp News & Blog

Lesson in the Woods

While Kate traveled with our middle son to a college visit recently, I took over the enjoyable task of walking camp dog Maverick. Not too far from our home sits a relatively new network of paths through a beautiful wood. Being a lovely Saturday morning, we took a field trip to the trails. Little did I know it would lead to a lesson.

The trails had been laid out by a family wanting to leave a positive impact. It wound through the woods, across and alongside streams, under a patchwork canopy of beautiful leaves for just under 3 miles.

But the path itself… there are stumps and rocks and roots. After stumbling a few times while watching Maverick bound around, I realized it was important to pay attention to on the path itself. That’s when I ran into the spider webs….

I’m not talking about little spiders and simple little webs. The newly arrived Jurro spiders are really something and their webs like to stick. (They look a lot more dangerous than they are….)

Against Me? Nope….

The stumps, the rocks, the webs, the spiders… for a moment, it felt like everything on this beautiful trail was out to get me. But, as Mav rollicked by me, I realized all those things had nothing to do with me. If I wanted to make it out of the woods safely, I needed to pay attention to the path and what was around it. But if I wanted to enjoy the experience, I needed to take some time to look around and enjoy the scenery, the leaves and the dog.

So how does one do both? I think it’s by accepting that, as we walk along a beautiful path, there are going to be bumps and bruises, a few spider webs and maybe even a tree branch you run into. Those things aren’t out to get you. They weren’t traps set just for you. They were simply the result of sharing this world with all of the plants and creatures and nature itself.

As many with many things, this reminded me about camp. Camp is BEAUTIFUL. Sly Lake glistens, the trees are tall, the grass green and the bunks comfortable. And, sometimes, you get bumped into in the Dining Hall and your food plops to the floor. You get a great note from home that actually makes you miss home a bit more than it props you up. Or, try as you might, you can’t quite master getting the wakeboard under your feet.   

Your Choice

Do these (very natural) setbacks take away from the beauty and joy of the experience of being at camp? They can… if you let them. However, if you realize these things are ‘not out to get you’ but rather simply the small bumps that you’ll inevitably get when experiencing camp (or school or working or… life!), you’ll be able to take more moments to look around and enjoy it all.

Remember, in a beautiful walk through the woods, you may stumble on a root or have spider web or two clinging to your shoulders. That’s ok. Those just add to the experience of a beautiful journey. We should be grateful for these little bumps and reminders!

No Words….

I’ve been trying to put all of the feelings and concerns and thoughts about this past week in Israel and Gaza into words. For the first time in a long while, I don’t think I can do it in a way that would communicate the heartbreak I’ve felt this week.

So, I’ll say this:

We have a number of friends and families who have been directly affected by all that has gone on during this past week. We stand with y’all and will support you however we can.

For our campers who are frightened and confused by this violence and all the news coming out of Israel and Gaza, I’ll pass along one bit of wisdom introduced to me by Munner, my grandmother. One of her favorite verses from the Old Testament adorns more than a few Temples and schools I’ve visited. It seems appropriate to remember and put into action now.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

  And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

  And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Love y’all. If we can help, let us know.


For a long time, I’ve had these little mirrors on my desk. They are about the size a quarter and fit easily (and safely) in a pocket. Kate got them for me a long while ago after we’d heard a story from a teacher we both admire.

A long time ago in a war-torn land, a young man was found walking around with a small piece of broken mirror in his hand. He’d use it to look underneath over-turned tanks, under rubble-strewn building lots and other hard to see into places. When war comes through your land, it’s good to be resourceful and look everywhere for something useful.

One day, some sunlight had reflected off his little mirror and shown right into someone else’s eyes. (Can you imagine how startling that would be?!?) These people had been trapped in a fallen building and the boy’s mirror woke them up. The young man was able to find help to get what turned out to be a family out of the wreckage, all safe.

That young man went on to become a teacher and would hand out little mirrors to his students, reminding to always let their light shine into the dark places around them.

Star Stuff

There are a number of song lyrics and quotes and stories about ‘letting your light shine.’ In fact, the famous astronomer, Carl Sagan, once said ‘We are made of star stuff.” (Which, when you look at what makes up a human body, it’s true!)

So, you were made to shine. And you were made different than me, your parents, your friends, the barista at your favorite coffee shop, that dude who never quite gets things right on the game, etc. This is not just a good thing – it’s a GREAT thing. Your light, when you truly shine, will be different from everyone else’s. You’ll stand out.

Two Big Ideas

Here are two ‘big thoughts’ when thinking about shining:

“The longer I live, the more deeply I learn that love is the work of mirroring and magnifying each other’s light. Gentle work. Steadfast work. Life-saving work in those moments when life and shame and sorrow occlude our own light from our view, but there is still a clear-eyed loving person to beam it back. In our best moments, we are that person for another.”

Maria Popova

Maria is one of the great readers and thinkers of our time. She focuses on ideas which have not changed, things that speak to our human nature. The importance of shining and reflecting light to those we love is hugely important. It’s hard to know what someone is struggling through. But, when you let that good light of yours shine on them, it’ll help move the gloom, even just a little bit.

The second thought is shorter and may seem a little scary… at first.

What gives light must endure burning.

Viktor Frankl

Now, I’ve spoken about Dr. Frankl often in these pages. He wrote one of the more influential books in my life and went to generously think and donate his time and knowledge for many, many years.

You are made of the star-stuff. You were made to shine. AND… you were made to withstand that shining. It’s not always easy to let yourself shine forth. There will be some (a small, probably vocal few) who would like to dampen your light or tell you something is wrong with it. If you are to ‘give light’, you’ve got to be strong enough to keep shining.


Want to know how to rekindle your light when it starts to gutter? A friend, shining their light upon you will help. Some time with a loved one with rekindle the spark. Thinking gratefully on the blessings and gifts already in your life feed the flame.

Shine forth, Weequahic. Give your light to others. You are strong enough and they are worth it.