Greetings from your blogger-at-large, here after a three-year hiatus with a boots-on-the-ground report from Sing Night. There were a lot of hyphens in that sentence.
Just as we were all so happy to have an in-person Visiting Day again this year (at least most of us were), my fellow past Color War Captains and I were thrilled to be invited back to camp for Sing 2023. I kid you not when I say that I hardly slept the night before, had butterflies in my stomach all morning, and felt the same old electric jolt when I saw the front Arch as we pulled down Camp Green Lane Road. We arrived during rest hour. There were a few green- or white-clad campers and counselors milling about, some heading to Lakeside to finish their CW art, and others, like my son, getting in a quick game of frisbee golf before Steeplechase started, but for the most part, camp was quiet. The sun was shining, the aroma of camp hamburgers lingered in the air, and I felt myself go into low-power mode. Not that I needed to take a nap, although there is nothing better than a rest hour nap, but that I was back in the place where everything is easy, everything is happy, and everything is right. I was home.
As I wandered around camp, walking and talking with my kids and their friends, and with my friends, I realized that I didn’t really have a chance to look around on Visiting Day. I was too busy chatting with my kids and eating way too much food. Not to mention it was virtually impossible to see much through the forest of pop-up tents in the Circle. But yesterday I really looked around. I noticed that the outside of the infirmary had been redone and hand-wash stations had been installed (thanks COVID). I saw the new supervisor quad on Boys’ Row. I admired the updated Field Office (big topic of convo yesterday among alumni… how amazing the new F.O. bathrooms are. Do check them out the next time you are in the neighborhood.). A few of us talked about something being so familiar to you that you become blind to it. You take it for granted. You no longer see it. After not being able to wander around camp for three years, I took the time to really see camp. I saw the brightly-timmed cabins I slept in as an Inter, Deb, Senior, Greek and counselor. I saw racks filled with colorful towels. I stepped around a tree root that I knew was coming because it’s always been there. I took in my favorite view, from Boys’ Row past the pool, down to the lake. I saw the things that have been the same since I stepped off the bus in 1986, remembered the things that are no longer part of the CGL map (RIP, Outdoor Theater), and appreciated everything new that has appeared in its place. And I realized that I love camp exactly as it was, as it is, and as it will be when the next generation steps off the bus. Life moves quickly. Summers, in the blink of an eye. But taking a few hours to sit in the Circle, surrounded by and laughing with old friends, watching campers holding hands while skipping to juice squad, really looking around… being in low-power mode. There’s nothing better.
And because it wouldn’t be a Color War Sing blog without mentioning one or both of my kids sobbing, here you go. It’s my daughter’s last year as a camper. She has been crying about this fact since she got home last summer. This is how we roll in our family. She was in harmony, standing on a chair in the back, so I had a clear view of her face for both the Alma Mater and the Friendship. After Green’s Alma Mater tore everyone’s heart out and left not one dry eye in the Globe, I watched her stand on her chair and try to get through her songs without losing it. She was unsuccessful. She knows that next summer will be different. She won’t be living in a cabin with her best friends anymore. My baby will be taking care of other people’s babies, walking them through magical camp days and telling them stories from when she was a camper. She’ll sit OD, go on out nights and off days, and sometimes have to say things like “Girls! We need to fill out our bunk party order form or we won’t be able to play Singdown tonight for evening activity.” Well, maybe not that exactly, but something that only makes sense in the context of a Green Lane summer. Her tears are for her childhood at camp slowly slipping away. I hope she’ll take the next 7 days to really look around. At what has been and at what will be as she continues on her CGL journey.
Yours in Camping
Robin Stern Raskin