This week I watched as 9 young ladies grew, played and loved. I remember being eleven and twelve and it was not fun. I was bratty, emotional, judgmental and I basically thought I was really cool but was very insecure in myself at the same time, as if that makes sense. These girls came in a little shy but they had grown up with their cabin mates from age 6 so they quickly broke out of their shells and entered the non-judgement zone that is Camp. I can not describe how wonderful my girls are. They help out without complaint and are sweet to all. They support each other (cabin mates and non cabin mates alike); accepting each others quirks and flaws and encouraging them to do their best. I could go on forever. Fun. Friendship. Leadership. Citizenship. Humility. Sportsmanship. You name it they had it or learned it while at camp.
Needless to say that I was very sad today when I had to say goodbye. I have cried more times in the past 24 hours than I have the rest of the year combined. The week went to fast, I am not ready to release them back to the real world. All I want for my girls is for them to bring the camp mindset to the real world, not to be afraid of being themselves, and to be strong and wise enough to deflect any judgement or negativity.
Last night we had our closing ceremony which is way more emotional than the olympics closing ceremony. We talk about what we have learned this week and then light barges and watch them float off into the lake. It is beautiful. My darlings all cried because the 12 year olds were aging out so goodbye was really goodbye. And that brings me to what I have been thinking about all day. Tears and Emotions. Hence the quite depressing title. Some of my girls were struggling and fighting to keep in the tears because they do not want to cry in public. I told them to just let it out because you can cry at camp. But then I asked myself why is it not ok to cry in public if it is true emotion? I feel like this may be an American thing stemming from our Puritan background. Crying is not a sign of weakness. Crying is not embarrassing. Crying is just natural. Jesus wept. It is the shortest verse in the Bible. Nice and Simple and True. I want it to be safe and ok to cry in public.
If Camp has taught me anything at all ( which it has, its taught me a TON) it would be to Be Yourself. Your full self. And do not apologize for it. So live like you know you should live. Sing if you want to sing (especially Camp songs!), Dance if you want to dance and Cry if you want to cry.