As a sixth year staffer, being a part to the magic that is NBTSC Oregon Session 2 has become a highlight of my year. My Camp adventure starts with the arduous logistical challenge of getting to camp in time for my first task as a driver: meeting a semi-truck at 6:00AM in Coquille OR and picking up two pallets of food for the kitchen. I meet that challenge with a long 10-hour drive (with yoga breaks!) from dawn in San Juan Capistrano to dusk in Redding CA, then an easy 4 hour drive on Saturday morning through the beautiful Shasta region and southern Oregon to Eugene. There I rendezvous with my brother and niece from Seattle to swap cars (my MINI for their much more Driver-appropriate SUV) and get some much-needed family time in. We overnight there, have breakfast, and then I backtrack past Camp Myrtlewood to Ashland to satisfy my Shakespearean crush by seeing Hamlet at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Once the curtain descends among the tragic carnage of the last act, I am really off to camp.
I arrive tired and road-weary at 2AM to pitch my tent in the dark. I immediately feel the quiet welcoming magic of this place. My weary task is made lighter by my first camp re-connections and hugs from Site Managers Trina and Sol. Usually I have to shift everything from the truck to my tent to make room for the food pickup but I got word that the drop-off schedule had changed. That meant I got to sleep in!
One of the many gifts my role brings is being the first one on site. I get to witness and soak in the beauty and quiet of an empty and expectant Camp Myrtlewood and then feel the energy and anticipation build as other staff and then campers start to arrive. But before that happens, I check that the path to my favorite river spot is clear. I clear the usual tendrils of encroaching poison oak and a snag that has fallen across the path. Then I roll out my mat for my yoga practice followed by my first swim. Each of these actions furthers my reconnection with this amazing place.
Finally, the staff starts to arrive and the reconnections really start, some enthusiastically as if no time has passed, some with the awkward shyness of the year(s) that separated us from each other, and some entirely new. One of the beautiful features of camp culture is that people seem to drop whatever they are doing to personally welcome each new arrival. Check-ins at our first meetings bring us up to speed on each others lives and individual and small-group conversations bring us even closer as we start to coalesce into another amazing Session Staff. By Camper Arrival Day we will all be ready to rock another session of Not Back to School Camp.