Staff Orientation: Making the Magic (by Celina Dill)

photo by Retta


The first night of sleep at camp for me is usually a rocky one. I’m not used to the rustling of sleeping bags, doors squeaking and slight snores. But the feeling of waking up in a room full of beautiful people, walking barefoot down the path, breathing in the Myrtlewood air, and giving and receiving morning hugs from new and old friends en route to the bathroom makes up for the lack of sleep.

The lodge is alive with laughter and the smell of potatoes crisping in the oven. We gather in anticipation, sharing stories of the past year, catching up and reminiscing. Then the meetings begin. The reason camp is so magical, and every single session every single year continues to grow and evolve but still hold that magical touch is we (staffers) are intent on creating it. This is something I have learned to do in my non-camp life as well, consciously create magic. However, sometimes I just want it (magic) to happen effortlessly. But being here meeting after meeting, I am reminded that putting effort into creating the environment that you want to be in really works. And when I experience magic in my life without consciously creating it, someone else probably did.

In between meetings we tend to be drawn to the field and its warmth. The frisbee is tossed and cartwheels and handstands are practiced. Laughter rings through the trees. We have the afternoon to organize ourselves, set up our sleeping space, and get to work. My first order of business is creating a schedule for our work-traders and super heroes (campers) who are assigned to dish duty. It is not an easy task. In fact, it took hours of talking out loud to myself and anyone around me (I can’t understand complicated things in my own head) to get everyone scheduled and all the needed shifts covered.

Our evening meeting brings us back down to earth. I take my logistics cap off and we circle in the field. In fact our meeting isn’t really a meeting at all, we are going to play a game. It is called Gladiator. It is a bit to complicated to explain here, but you end up with blindfolded people in a ring throwing balls at other blindfolded people being guided by someone who can’t speak and someone who can only see the person who can’t speak. It quickly turned in to a delightful mess, and we all end up rolling with laughter.

These two short days are spent connecting, relaxing, preparing. They are the glue that keep us moving together and grounded in our intentions when the campers arrive and life happens. I head to bed a bit too late, but satisfied with the work I’ve completed. Tomorrow a new phase begins. We are ready.