This photo was taken by one of our staff members, Dylan Shrier. He is 20. He is a Sophomore counselor, the head of our Arts and Crafts program, and an all-around amazing person. He saw this spectacular sunset, and he captured what I have been attempting to capture since my first night at camp. I am embarrassed to admit how many bad sunset photos I have on my iPhone. I cannot for the life of me get it right. I look out my window, or stand on the porch of the Big House, and it is exquisite. It literally takes my breath away. Then I shoot it, and the result looks nothing like what I saw through the lens. But Dylan got it… he saw it, and he was able to capture it and share it so that everyone who doesn’t have the privilege of living on this Hillside can see what we see. To me, this photo is more than just a beautiful work of art… it’s a metaphor for Bauercrest as a whole. Because no matter how hard we try to explain this place to someone who hasn’t experienced it, we could not possibly do it justice. The feelings are so profound that, just like Dylan’s photo of this sunset, there are simply no words.
Tomorrow is the last day for our first session campers and our first two-week session campers (please don’t ask me to repeat that). It is also Visiting Day, Alumni Day, and the first day for our second session campers and our second two-week session campers (or that). It will arguably be the busiest day of the season for our staff. We have been planning it for months. We have never done it this way before. Our goal at the outset was to create an experience during which everyone who loves Bauercrest could come together and share a perfect summer day on the Hill. We are not naive. We know it won’t actually be perfect. There are lots of moving parts, and it’s a first, and not everything will go exactly the way we’d envisioned; but please know that we will do whatever it takes to make this day special for everyone.
We will start our morning saying good-bye to boys whom I cannot imagine not seeing on Monday. Parents will be seeing children they haven’t seen in almost a month. Campers will be saying good-bye to their bunk-mates, to counselors, to camp. Campers who are staying and those just arriving will be saying good-bye to their families. Lots of beginnings. Lots of endings. Lots of emotions. Our entire staff will be here for you and your children. Please let us know what we can do to help make your transition happen more smoothly.
On Monday, we will wake up to new boys in our midst. So will many of you. Your child will be home, your family will once again look and feel complete; to you, everything will be just as it should be. But there is a very good chance that your son will not feel this way at all… at least not right away. Re-entry is difficult. I know this from our youngest son, who cried so hard from the moment he saw us pull up to his bunk last year— and then for the next 11 hours straight— that he gave himself a corneal abrasion. He was angry. Angry that we wouldn’t let him extend because we had the audacity to plan two family vacations during second session. Angry that camp was still happening and he wouldn’t be a part of it. But most of all, angry that we just didn’t get it. And we didn’t. Because just like that sunset, unless you’ve experienced it, there are just no words. Listen Here
I now know this from personal experience as well. I’ve been coming home once a week for 2-day stretches. I am excited. I am exhausted. I want people to understand how I’m feeling, but I don’t want to have to explain it. I wouldn’t be able to explain it anyway. I feel guilty because I am never really present. I am always wondering what’s going on at camp. Not worrying (which I also do), but wondering. Because the truth is, I don’t want to miss any of it. I feel just like my 8-year-old son, only I am a GROWN WOMAN. So please go easy on your boys these first few days, or even weeks. Be as patient and loving with them as you were on their first day of camp, when you were so worried about them leaving home. Because if we’ve done it right… and I really, really hope we have… it will be just as hard for them to leave this one.
We look forward to seeing you tomorrow. Safe travels.