To say that we are in the full swing of things here at Tripp Lake Camp would simply be an understatement. In the span of seventy-two hours, your daughter’s schedule has probably already included hitting forehands at tennis, conserving her breath during the infamous swimming ‘rectangles’ test, walking through multiple art shops in our newly renovated art center, practicing chest passes in basketball, gaining familiarity with the hit song of her age group’s show in the theater, and of course, eating a cookie (or two). This is without even mentioning that each evening, we have made our way to Over The Wall for an entertaining counselor introduction, for Return of the Shield, and of course, for the Election of the Captains.
Oh, you didn’t hear the cheers from your houses? As we sat in the theater last night, the ground shook as our sixteen-year-old leaders were introduced to the camp, as eight nominations for captains were read, and as four young ladies were elected to lead our big teams. Throughout the entire evening, the looks on the faces of our Senior II’s radiated jubilance, energy, and a true love for one another that has been building since their first steps onto the Promised Land. It permeated throughout the room as our youngest campers watched the clinging hugs and arms placed right over left, quickly following suit and mirroring their new role models. As I reflect on this memory, I’m reminded of a story that I’d heard from a veteran staff member. Misty-eyed, she told me how she’d had these 1AB campers when they were juniors. As can happen, one of the girls had had a particularly tough beginning to her first summer, and there were a couple of ‘mischievous’ moments that required the close watch of this counselor. Fast forward to today; it is rare that her name comes up without being quickly followed by remarks concerning her kindness, maturity, and healthy sense of fun. It reminds us that camp is a remarkable setting for your girls to experience tremendous growth.
I mentioned the time span of seventy-two hours earlier because in the pace of it all, we sometimes forget to reflect on how much we’ve expected out of your daughters in such a short amount of time. We are asking six and seven-year-old girls, most of whom have spent no more than a handful of evenings away from home, to acclimate to the idea of sharing a living space with five or six other girls. We are introducing activities that may have never crossed a camper’s path, and asking them to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. We are balancing the gentle guidance of our instructors and counselors with the encouragement towards independence and self-reliance. Yet, as I watched that former camp trickster resting her head on her bunkmate’s shoulder in friendship, and I witnessed a throng of girls sitting on the grass in one large circle prior to the announcement of the captains announcement as a sign of their unity, it could not be more evident that Tripp is following through on the magic that it’s always set out to create.