“But let us go back to the beginning, and tell you a story that in many ways, is like a beautiful fairy tale.”
I have always been a reader. I devour stories in my eagerness for an introduction to a new world, for insight into multilayered characters, and for important lessons that parallel my own experiences. I read on subways, on park benches, and on the line in the grocery store! Naturally, I’ve taken this passion into my camp world as well, with ‘Stacy’s Book Club’ as an open period elective. I can think of nothing more picturesque than campers joining me under the pine trees, reading quietly on the grass with the view of Tripp Pond shining before us. It’s an opportunity for all the girls, young and old, to engage with one another and even share title recommendations!
From the time that I was a camper, the quotation above has always signaled the beginning to one particularly special story, The Story of Tripp Lake Camp. When the last Friday of the summer season rolls around, Leslie sits by the garden during our Friday Evening Service to tell the story of how two women saw the unique potential in our little corner of the world. I have always loved hearing the tale, from learning that our food used to be brought up to camp by horse and buggy (Good work, Nellie!), to mentally configuring the familiar names with buildings placed around campus (There was an Aunt Kitty who taught tennis in 1912? Could that be the inspiration behind our senior lounge, called Kitty Car?) By the time my experience as a camper was complete, I had listened to the story six times, picking up new pieces of Tripp’s history along the way.
Now, as an administrator, the curtain often gets peeled back as I learn about all of the work and planning that creates the magic of Tripp Lake. Still, you can imagine my surprise when the storybook was in my office yesterday, brought out from what I can only assume is a tightly guarded safe with multiple locks and pass codes. I allowed the familiar words to wash over me as I took them in, and the feeling was quite indescribable. It reminded me of the words of a Sing Song leader earlier this week as she was putting on her leotard for our all-camp song competition. Awestruck, she looked at her fellow leaders and said, “Wait, listen… how amazing is it to think about the people who have worn these skirts before us?” There was a palpable silence in the room. Like all of the best stories out there, Tripp’s foundation is built on a superior setting, and further enriched by the characters that keep its magic alive. It’s awe inspiring to think that many of these all-campus events have existed since our inception. As an administrative team, we are consistently navigating how to balance our love for tradition with the acknowledgement of what excites campers today.
As we turn the page on the summer of 2019, our camp experiences are always penned from our hearts. One day these will be the memories that continue Tripp’s story. It will allow us to connect to the future generations based on our special shared experiences. So if you ask me, that’s a story worth reading at least six times. Or more…