Departure Day (Oregon Session 2 ~ by J. Davis)

Our Oregon sessions of camp are over now. Here’s one final post describing departure day, from our staff driver, J. Davis.


“Parting is such sweet sorrow…” These words by Shakespeare could have been written about Departure Day at NBTSC. We’ve been a camp community and family for two weeks now and there is a closeness and intimacy balancing the frenetic energy of our last hours together. It’s a huge day for everyone, especially the logistics staff of which I am honored to be a part.

There is little sleep to be had on this bittersweet day. Some campers have a tradition of staying up all night to maximize their bonding time while others still try to get their sleep. Even if one is trying to get some rest, you are usually later to bed than planned just because there are so many sweet goodbyes to say as you run into campers on your way to your bed. I used the last night to complete some of the camp intentions I had not had a chance to get to yet: signing camp directories, playing some last games of foosball (and escorting some campers down to the creek to jump in after invoking the “shutout rule”), having some closing conversations with campers, hugging the Culminators multiple times, and finally, sleeping out in the field for the first time in my five years at camp. The stars are amazing. And speaking of stars, one of the highlights was “planking” in the middle of the night with Fia and Mieke. These two lovely campers have been at Session 2 with me at almost every one of my five years on staff. “Planking” is the word we use for laying on our backs on the path to the lodge and gazing up at the incredible nighttime Camp Myrtlewood sky. With Fia culminating, we had made a pact to make sure we got one last planking session in. Check-ity, check, check!

Camp Wake-up Calls are often musical, but our Departure Day Wake-up Call was extra-special today with Jonah doing the honors on his bagpipe. No need to walk from cabin to tent to field in order to be heard. EVERYONE heard that particular wake-up call.

I was taking some campers with tight flight schedules by car ahead of the bus, so there were some frantic goodbyes and hurried luggage loading before I drove off with my four sleepy unschoolers. Once we were at the airport, they were off through security with some more hugs while I waited for the luggage Uhaul and the bus full of campers to arrive. Then I was off to Grace’s house for a quick shower and unloading the last of the luggage and supplies from the Uhaul.

The happy, squishy ending of our day was appreciating each staff member at our staff meeting and then sharing one last meal before we dispersed to our various trains, planes, and automobiles. Every year I’m astounded by the quality of the staff at NBTSC. I’m already looking forward with fingers crossed to see that staff invite for the 2016 Oregon Session 2.