Day one of staff orientation is one of the sweetest days. I’m finding this to be especially true of the Vermont session, now that I’m on my second year of camp here. The drive into Farm & Wilderness is full of golden fields, misty hills, and sparkling lakes – it always reminds me that camp is not only special because of the people that gather, but the thoughtfully chosen sites we come to. I grew up going to the Oregon sessions at Myrtlewood, and although that place will always be special for me, now seeing the Vermont site roll into view fills me with an uncontrollable urge to drop everything, walk down to the lake, and jump in.
But, of course, the first sweet encounter I had upon driving up is running into the embrace of my fellow staffers. The energy and excitement in that moment is palpable – we’re so excited to see each other, and so excited for the experience we get to create together along with the campers we get to welcome in two short days.
After this, the first day of staff orientation always seems to pass quickly. We set up our things, catch up with those we haven’t seen in awhile, and eventually gather as a group. The first day of meetings is “no binder day” – we take care of official business and logistics tomorrow; today we share how we arrived, what we’ve been up to, and start to ruminate over our favorite parts of camp and what we hope to amplify for the session we’re about to open. We did some free writing about “why we keep coming to camp,” and I wrote about the amazing intentionality and support that’s fostered here at camp. So much thoughtfulness and tweaking has gone into making these sessions a magical and empowering experience over the years. We start by nourishing ourselves and envisioning as a staff; then we plot and plan – all to get ready for the rest of our community to arrive (the campers) so we can continue to inspire, create, and support each other. I can already tell this is going to be a vibrant session…I’m so happy to be here!