This morning I slowly drifted into wakefulness to the sound of crunchy forest footsteps leaving my cabin. The cabins here at our NBTSC Vermont site are beautifully and creatively structured to be half open to the air, smells, and sounds of our surroundings – and my goodness, are those surroundings something. I’m a west coaster, and this is the first year I’m discovering camp on the east coast. I’m having trouble finding words for just how incredible it is here. The forests are lush and green but have a sense of openness that feels very different from the concentrated beauty that you find in Oregon where I’m from and have been to camp in the past. I’m told that we bring the Fall here in Vermont every year and by the forth day of camp the leaves will be changing color and covering everything with shades of brown, yellow, and red. We also have a pristine lake that welcomes you out into the sunlight from the trees that surround it, and other fun surprises like apple trees and thimbleberry bushes.
Needless to say, it’s a beautiful place to wake up. Including myself, there are about twelve staff who arrived here yesterday, and the majority of us have a relaxed morning hanging out and catching up with each other (or in my case often connecting for the first time) whilst the remaining staffers and a few campers coming early for worktrades trickle in. There’s been pondering and discussion of why we’re each hard to live with, if you can rotate in a full circle with a spoon hanging on your nose, and the rumored end of the world on September 17th, among other things.
At about 3:30 pm we’re all here and gather for our first all-staff meeting. The meetings on the first day are some of the most fun as we take some time at the beginning to ground ourselves, talk about what’s been going on with us, and share some of our intentions and ideas for this camp session. This is my second year on staff and first year on senior staff, so staff orientation is still pretty new to me, and I’m feeling honored to be welcomed in by such a remarkable group and appreciative of how as a staff we can share excitement and vulnerability as we prepare to make camp complete by welcoming our campers.
In the late afternoon we break for a couple hours, and I go for a walk around the grounds of Farm & Wilderness camp just to revel in it and take a few pictures to share in todays blog post. I come back to the most flavorful and amazing dinner of sushi prepared by our ever-hardworking kitchen staff. After a couple more hours of meetings I’m now settled into our cozy central farmhouse, listening to the sweet and silly conversations of everyone in the background as I write this post. Although physically tired from the long day I’m feeling more emotionally energized than when it began. I had wondered if it would be difficult coming into a brand new-to-me session as a new senior staffer, but I feel welcomed, ready, and extra excited to be a new face with a chance to come to camp as whoever I want to be. I feel a small connection with the new campers coming to this session facing some of the same apprehensions, and I’m reminded that that’s a special new adventure in itself and I’m glad I’ll get to embrace it and share it along with the other new campers.