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Camp Beckwith

June 21, 2010

My alarm goes off. Time to wake up. I fall out of my bed, grab my toothbrush, and brush the morning from my mouth. I hear the faint call of a bell from outside. “Bell rang! Go to Wilson!” I shout to my cabin. Breakfast time.

Just another summer morning at Camp Beckwith.

My summer job consists of having fun all day long with great people, spending time in one of the most peaceful places in the world (at least to me), and reconnecting with my inner child. Where do I do this? Camp Beckwith of course! I have been coming to camp since I was in 3rd grade. It started as an offhand thing. My friend was going, and she didn’t want to go by herself so I went with her. I ended up coming back every year after that. Now I’m a Senior Counselor, basically getting paid to have fun.

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My fellow counselors at this lovely place are quite the characters. Some are crazy and over the top, some are quiet and reserved, and some are a little mix of everything. We all work well together, especially for being in such close quarters for such a long period of time. I’ll admit, there is always drama that comes with working day after day with the same people, and sometimes people like to blow things way out of proportion, but at the end of the day, you just have to learn to let things go and not let it bother you. When you have ninety-six campers to deal with for a week, you can’t let petty differences and unnecessary drama cloud your judgment and attitudes. There are so many more important things to be attended to than whether someone else is doing something they shouldn’t be or feeling as if you’re left out of the loop.

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I’m sure a great majority of the people who are on staff applied to hang out with the others on staff (including myself), but there’s so much more to Beckwith than the Summer Camp Staff. There is absolutely nothing more peaceful to me than waking up early in the morning to watch the sun rise over Weeks Bay. Taking a sailboat out into the familiar murky waters is just as exciting as sliding down the zip-line from 60 feet in the air. The yellow flies are pests and the heat is brutal, but I’d much rather get bitten by flies and pass out from heat stroke playing Star Wars, Ultimate Octopus, Camp-Wide Dodgeball, or doing the Mohawk Walk than sit at home watching television. All the Beckwith original games are my favorite, but simply playing soccer or canoeing is a much better use of my time than lying around. And what would camp be without the campers? The feeling of having younger kids look to you for fun or advice is such an empowering thing to have on a daily basis. I’m not going to lie, some of them suck for one reason or another, but most of the kids that come to Beckwith are interesting characters just like the staff. There are the long-time campers that you look forward to seeing again each year, and then there are the first-time campers that have never been to Beckwith before that you get to watch as they are simply blown away by how awesome the activities are that we do each day. I am generally a very self-conscious person. I don’t ever say announcements at meals, I don’t try to yell something funny above the rest of the counselors, all because I get nervous, but honestly, it wouldn’t matter to the campers at all. They laugh at my jokes and fight over seats at my table at meal times. That kind of attention is so heartening!

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Now let me tell you about our fearless leader, Curtis. Last summer he was our chaplain and even acted somewhat as our summer dad, but this summer he’s Camp Director, aka Head Honcho. He says he can’t be our dad anymore because he’s the boss, but it’s hard to see him as anything else sometimes. He praises us when we’re good, he scolds us when we’re bad, and no matter what happens, he will be there for us when we need him. He’s a great spiritual leader and friend. He’s also doing a fantastic job as Director, keeping all of us in line and making sure camp is running smoothly. You can tell that he loves the place so much. By his side this summer is Katie, the Assistant Director. She also keeps us in line as well as taking care of all the Assistant Counselors we have coming to volunteer their time. They were both on staff together back in the day (Beckwith Staff ’93!) and are a great team. Katie is a delight. She is a middle school teacher, so she has lots of experience handling kids and is a big help with those extra difficult campers. We’re all still getting to know Katie since she’s a newbie to us, but she’s already an accepted and loved member of our Beckwith family.

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The campers and staff all gather in the Chapel. The hour is late and many yawns are being spread throughout the crowd. Someone leads Compline (a night prayer), and we sing a calming song of praise. We all walk back to the cabins together for showers and preparation for the next day. I fall onto my bed after wiping the sand and dirt from my feet. I’m utterly exhausted from head to toe, mind and body, but I can’t help but admit that today was one of the best days of my life.

Such is everyday at Camp Beckwith.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 28, 2010 10:06 PM

    thank you for the kind words, sweet anna. i miss you all so much, but the kiddos are so happy to be home in familiar territory. they are too addicted to their routines, and i guess they’re too little to have such a huge kink thrown in their getalong. have fun, be well, text me or call me if you need an ear. love, love, love you!
    (and don’t stop me now is the best queen song ever, and so perfect in shaun of the dead – referring to your songs and movies post. that is an AMAZING list you’ve compiled. well done!!! i would have included some tarantino movie picks, too)

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