Days of Camp – The Counselor Farewell – August 8, 2019

Hi Folks,

This isn’t something we do too often, but we want to share a tidbit from the summer with you because we think you’re gonna love it.

At our final campfire of the summer, we ask a camper to speak on behalf of the kids, and say a farewell message to the staff.  And, we ask a counselor to speak on behalf of the staff to do the same for the campers.

On August 8th, we had 2 lovely messages shared with us.  On behalf of the campers, DREW MUTCHNIK delivered a thoughtful, insightful, and beautiful message of thanks to the staff.  It was out of the park.

Below I am sharing with you the farewell message shared by AARON GLAZER, an extraordinary leader at camp with 13 Timberlane summers behind him.  Of course, this is with Aaron’s permission.  I’m sharing it because I believe Aaron has so wonderfully captured the heart of a Timberlane counselor in hs words.  This message was for the boys, to be sure, but it will resonate with anyone who cares about kids.  Enjoy.

Dear Campers,

              When they say “Take Em Away,” we get a little nervous. That third Monday in June, third Sunday in July. The arms start to tingle a little. When we’re driving a ski boat and it’s your first time on the long line, the heart beats a little faster. When you come back from a trip and we see you walk into the cabin, our eyes perk up a little more. And when we take you somewhere cool for Cruiser Day, somewhere you maybe haven’t been before, we cross our fingers and hope that you like it.

              Yeah, sometimes we get a little nervous too. Because we have something so important on our minds at all times and we have to get it right: it’s your summer. You expect us to always be there for you, to always pick you up when you are down and cheer you on when you’re at your best. Always. That’s a pretty high standard, and one that we never take lightly. We take it so seriously that it ends up being a pretty all-consuming feeling. We work everyday to try to do the best we can to make your summer great.

              Everyday. 52 nights. Everyday we give everything for you, but what you may not know is that everyday you give so much to us.

              Everyday you inspire us, you leave us wanting more.  Young guys – you inspire us through your genuine smiles, your raw love of this beautiful place. When we see your faces light up when you eat your first chicken patty, when you win your first Timberbucks on Casino Night, when your cabin wins ice cream because you worked so hard to clean it, our minds light up too. You remind us of the simplicity of life, a naiveté we sometimes seek and for the staff who were former campers, you remind us of, well, us.

              Older guys – you inspire us through your dedication and teamwork. We see you working together to capture a flag, to start cheers in the back of the lodge, hanging out with kids of different ages and most importantly, being great role models for the younger guys. You remind us to be aware of the world around us and to always work hard to make an impact.

              It always starts with a dream, and everyday campers grow, learn, and dream. Some of you were so nervous just getting off that bus, looking at a place with wide eyes that so many of us know so well. Look at you now. If you want to find a place you’ve grown, activities are an easy way to start. You guys can see your progress in waterskiing, archery, woodcrafts, gymnastics and so much more. But your counselors, we see growth in different ways. How you guys have treated and respected your cabinmates. Worked as a team. Became more familiar living with others. Explored the great wilderness. And most importantly -> how you worked to become a great young adult. The type of person ready to make a huge mark on the world. I wish you guys knew how much you and your friends are really growing…and I wish you could see what we see with you and your friends. We’re so proud.

              Everyday…yes everyday you challenge us. You test our limits, push our buttons, you can frustrate us. But everyday you make us find new ways to get better. To work harder and to work smarter. To think of new solutions and ways to get to see you at your best in the cabin, at activities and trips, and all over camp.

              And everyday campers try, fail, and try again. You never give up. You show resilience because you know that makes the end result that much sweeter. But what makes you guys such a special group is that you are not afraid to fail. You are not afraid to push yourself, to try new things, to make camp different from home. And when things don’t go well, from an argument with a cabinmate to just not feeling able to hit the mark in an activity, you don’t sit and complain. You try to mend those relationships, come back to the activity each day, to try and hit the goals you ultimately set. You carry on the sacred vision that Mike, Leslie, and the staff hold so dear.

              Campers, what happens here in camp means a lot. But take what you’ve learned here and bring it home. When someone is giving you a hard time, be a little more patient and understanding of their side. When your parents or friends want you to try a new thing, don’t reject it: embrace it. Take a little bit of the outdoors and give the world around you a greater appreciation. And come back next summer – you will never regret another summer, no matter the cost.

              Everyday you give so much to us, which is why we try to make everyday the best we can for you. It’s why on Take Em Away we do get nervous. Why we await your first time getting up on the long line. And why we want you to have such a great time on trips. Because we want to lay a great groundwork for you guys, and then get out of the way. Let you be you. Let you be at your best.

              You expect Always out of us everyday. 52 nights. All summer long. It is our hope that we have delivered. That we have done all that we can to make this summer great. So thank you, campers, for an amazing 2019.

With Love,

Aaron

Thank you, Aaron.

Benches up,

Mike