Hello Camp Green Lane Family!
In a “normal” year, this would be my end-of-camp blog. You know the one… camp is so quiet. The sports equipment has been put away. Memories of the best summer ever will help get us through the long winter months. Etc. etc…. But this isn’t a “normal” year. It wasn’t a “normal” summer. In fact, very little of what we have experienced over the last five months (has it only been five? It feels like 105.) can be considered “normal”. The summer is winding down, and some of our camp family have already started school, while the rest of us have another week or so before we dive into the school year, whatever it may look like. So many things this year have been in flux. So much has been, and continues to be, unknown. The decisions we have to make on a daily basis around things that we used to take for granted, like a trip to the supermarket, cause unbelievable amounts of fatigue and stress.
While the craziness going on in the world sometimes makes me want to crawl into my bed and hide, I know that if I need an anchor to hold onto, I will always have one in CGL. While that anchor wasn’t there for me or my kids this summer in the way that I am used to, just knowing that camp is there, waiting, brings me a sense of calm. In an effort to share that calm, I revved up the Facebook engine and got the alumni page rocking with some fun daily questions. Everything from “what was your favorite out-of-camp trip” to “what was your favorite evening activity” to a hilarious thread dedicated to stories of people getting into trouble at camp. The best threads, however, ran a little bit deeper with questions like “who was your first friend at camp and how did you meet them” to “what do you miss about being a camper/counselor” to “what is it that makes CGL so special?”. In lieu of my annual sappy end-of-Color-War post, I offer the following smattering of answers to the questions above. You’ll see that it doesn’t matter if you attended Green Lane in the 1950s or just last summer, the things that make our summer home so special remain constant.
What makes Camp Green Lane and CGL friends so special:
- The people. The acceptance. The love. The fact that when you see a camp friend, no matter how long it’s been, you pick up right where you left off.
- We used to tell people who asked that we were not really a camp, we were a family. We live together and in that time we saw the best of each other and we saw the worst of each. And yet when camp ended and we had to part, we parted loving each other.
- I always felt that people from other camps talked about ‘things’ they did. CGLers talked about people. The love, the laughter… Things are not important.
- The emphasis was always on the relationships, the traditions, the unspoken fact that these were not just your camp friends, but that they were your camp family.
- The camp bond is like being in on a secret. But I think I definitely share something different with my camp friends than I do with my family. And I think it is only heightened by having my kids in on that same secret. My husband says I move with an ease inside camp…I know all the right places to step. I still step on a specific rock when I leave the Canteen, I know how to get across the ditch in the road on Inter Girls row.
What do you miss most about being a camper or a counselor? Or about camp life in general?
- I miss those chlorine-smelling hugs from my campers.
- Living with my best friends for 8 weeks. Telling stories after lights out. How cold it gets at night and wearing longs and longs to breakfast.
- Living in a carefree world where all of the nonsense did not exist, nor would we have ever known about it within the safety of the arches!
- Sitting on the floor with my friends playing jacks and cards. Camp dances. Color war. Gamma.
- Living in a “bubble” for 8 weeks with my best friends. There is and never will be anything as great as the times shared between the arches.
- Spending 8 weeks laughing, singing, and talking with your best friends. I loved being a counselor as much as being a camper. I miss it all.
- As a counselor hanging out at night at the canteen laughing hysterically.
- Being totally disconnected from the outside world and having every single day to just focus on fun, joy, and friendship. The feeling of home, feeling the freedom to be myself and, spending 24/7 with people who are the definition of true, deep, unconditional friendship.
- Bus rides (all the singing and cheering)
Trips (so exciting)
The first day
- The sound of the cabin door slamming.
- The knowledge that I was part of something much bigger than myself that I was helping build memories that will live a lifetime and beyond.
See? If I hadn’t mentioned that these answers came from alumni, you would have thought that they came from current campers (other than the 8-week vs 7-week part. Sorry, current campers. We got the better deal.). The foundations that Green Lane has been built on for the past 94 years are the same now as they have always been: friendship, love, laughter, singing songs and telling stories, fun, and acceptance. And even though we were not physically between the Arches this summer, we were there in our hearts each time we got a Face-time call from a bunk mate, or a Survivor Challenge to tackle, or attended a Trivia Night with Uncle Jesse.
So when you find yourself in need of an anchor in the current storm, remember that camp is there waiting for you, ready to welcome you back with open arms when we can all be together again.
Have an amazing start to the school year. And we’ll see you all back here soon!
Yours in Camping,
Aunt Robin Stern Raskin