And I will tell you.
We do hard things at camp.
At first we may not achieve our goal.
But we try.
We begin to see that it might be possible.
And we try again.
We look to our companions, lock eyes,
and share the soul-baring struggle.
And in that trying we discover the purity
and the singular joy of the effort.
We have purpose, narrowly defined.
And at the same time, we feel a part of everything,
out of time.
And when we do succeed,
What we remember most,
What becomes a part of our deepest selves,
Is that hardest moment.
That reaching, fighting, wanting, burning,
And we know that THAT is our achievement.
Our apex moment.
And we understand this about ourselves…
We can attempt anything.
Back in early April, I had just returned from two months on the road telling the story of CSC and there was much to catch up on. I was up later than I intended one night beginning and ending projects because, earlier, I had pulled out my guitar for the first time in a while to prepare for my annual 10-week resident summer engagement. As I played, an idea for a song began to float around in the back of my mind and it was rather persistent. So there I was, late at night, engaged in a battle between creative effort and systematic endeavor, and the above poem surged to the forefront. Creative inspiration had won.
The poem was born of slideshow conversations with parents who were looking for ways to prepare their campers for happiness and success in their lives. It was born of the many alumni met along the way who shared detailed memories of their summer accomplishments that they strongly felt made them who they were. It was born of discussions with educators, employers, and those studying and writing about current youth development needs and paradigms and how camp consistently answers the questions asked. It was born of my personal understanding of how my camper experiences and challenges were of utmost importance in forming who I am today. And it was born of my lifelong efforts with children and young adults and the tired/happy/accomplished/confident/exhausted/elated/serene look in the eyes of a camper who has just given everything they have to achieve a goal.
It was born of spending the previous two months, and really, my life, answering the question, “Why do we do this?” The answers continuously re-blende the ideas of connection, capability, independence of thought, understanding of self, emotional strength, awareness of others, personal and group knowledge and achievement, and happiness that are consistent outcomes – measurable and anecdotal – of a Colvig Silver Camps summer.