I just finished my last camp. What?! How did this happen so quickly? I still feel like I’m trying to process the month of June, and it’s already August 6th. I never thought that spending 24/7 with so many other people, one week after the next, could pass so quickly. But there’s something about camp community—it’s like a vortex of insight, kindness, silliness, and energy that sucks you in and spits you right back out into the great big world, where community never seems to reach the same depths that it can with a lake, a campfire, and these amazing people.
Here are some observations from this week:
—The youth of today are much cooler than I ever was or will be. And they can DANCE. Really, really well.
—I started this summer being really bad at the silly parts of camp. I just wanted to talk about justice and be a nerd. Now, I can’t stop humming Gwinwood’s traditional campfire song, “Black socks, blacks socks. They never get dirty; the longer you wear them the blacker they get. Sometimes I think I should launder them, but something inside of me says not yet, not yet, not yet.”
—Wednesday is the golden day. On Monday and Tuesday, everyone else is energized and excited, whereas the peace interns arrive already worn out. Just make it to Wednesday, and then they feel like family, and you can be silly and tired and happy and bitter and they’ll forgive you and accept you and take you right in.
—Camps should have camp pets, but a camp baby will do. Thanks Zadie Blake, you were adorable, and I loved when you smeared Oreos all over your chubby cheeks.
—Make sure you’re loading the right video for workshops, so that you don’t awkwardly show the wrong one and confuse everyone.
It has been a great week. This was my most diverse (achem *only* diverse) camp, which added a unique texture during our Hot Topics and Peace Intern discussions. I was absolutely terrified to give the workshop on Black Lives Matter, but there were actually some really good discussions that came out of it. I think I become afraid because I know the weight of this topic and I’m so scared of not doing it justice. All I can do is create a safe space to learn about tensions between the police and the communities they serve, but it’s up to the response of the youth to guide the conversation. This camp had AMAZING youth—SO thoughtful and so smart. I loved hearing their opinions and watching their reactions to bias they found among the group.
Thank you Camp Gwinwood!