It’s the end of our session at Camp Latgawa in Oregon ~ this is a guest post by NBTSC camper Berry.
When I was assigned departure day I knew this blog post was going to be bittersweet. There isn’t much to report because it’s always a rush of packed suitcases, tearful goodbyes, last moment conversations, and hugs that make you never want to let go. This year’s goodbyes were particularly difficult.
I didn’t get much sleep the night before departure. Most campers choose to stay up the entire night to maximize the last few hours together. Camp is a safe place to be open and express whatever is dwelling in your mind and heart, so that night when my own personal mental health decided to take its toll I was suddenly surrounded by so many kind hearts who wanted to help me through it. Like one big safety blanket. It was astonishing, the love and support I experienced in those wee hours in the morning.
It’s so strange to think it’s already passed us by; the week always feels like it passes by way too fast yet I always leave feeling as though the connections I have made are ones I’ve had for a life time. Even though everyone has only had seven days to spend together.
One of the most magical feelings about camp is the first day I pulled up to Latgawa, the moment I stepped out of the car it felt as though I had never left. Despite it being around 365 days since people new and older had gathered together to form an almost indescribably close bond. One that an entire year of outside experiences cannot be broken by distance. I remember pulling a camper into a hug that first day and saying “Honestly, it feels like I just saw you.”
‘Cause camp doesn’t ever leave us, we carry it within our own being as we venture on into the world. So when we meet again the hello seems so natural and the goodbye feels like heart ache. In those seven days we create a community. We create a family. NBTSC isn’t just a summer camp. It’s home. We take care of each other. We support each other. We love each other unconditionally. Home doesn’t always have to be a place, sometimes home is people and we may not always be able to stand in the same place but we can always carry camp and each other in our hearts.
Until we meet again I will always carry NBTSC with me.
Thank you for being my home.
Photo of Berry by Reanna Alder.