August 7, 2018 (Day 7, Oregon Session 1 at Camp Latgawa)
written by camper Raven
The last day of camp. It always seems to come way too soon. It’s almost like you’ve just started getting comfortable, and now you have to go. You’ve finally gotten some closure to some old problematic friendships, and now you’re out of time. You’ve done that thing you’ve always wanted to do, but now you can’t do it anymore. It’s even more surreal after the night of prom. At prom, it feels like camp is never going away, but then you wake up the next morning and are reminded that it has to come to an end. For being a third year camper, to me personally, the last day hasn’t gotten easier. If anything, it just gets harder. It always comes too fast, and before I know it, camp is done. I wish there was advice I could give to first years, if I could, but I can’t. However, one piece of advice that I’d give, would be to just spend your time at camp being with people you love and doing things you love. Don’t get caught up in camp crushes and unnecessary drama. Although sometimes that stuff can be fun and tempting, there’s not enough time to deal with drama AND get to hang out with everyone you want. Especially with the culminati. If you really want to talk with one of them, do it. Unless they become junior stuff, they might not come back next year. So, definitely spend time with them, if you can.
I spend most of my day trying to take in my peers and surroundings. I try to remember every single detail so I won’t forget this wonderful camp. I look around during breakfast at all the happy faces that will soon be gone for another year. I try to soak in the happy, warm feeling I get at camp. I try to hold on to what it’s like to feel so incredibly happy that you could cry.
We start with the usual daily routine – breakfast, then our (last) morning meeting. Afterward, we meet for our last advisee meeting. It becomes so incredibly emotional when we do appreciation circle. Appreciation circle is where one person sits silently as everyone else in the room compliments them. It has NEVER failed to make me cry. It always brings me joy to compliment others in a way that they wouldn’t expect. It’s one of my favorite parts of advisee groups. What makes it even better this year is that we also have Yared join us. He kind of just comes in and decides to join us, which is really nice. When advisee ends, we take a group picture, which will probably end up looking bad because I have a tear-stained face.
The next couple hours seem to blur together as we all start to pack our stuff. The day becomes sort of hectic as campers come together to tidy up camp – we clean cabins, and make the campsite spotless. It all really goes by fast, and the next you know, evening meeting has finally come around. This is one meeting I love being in as an older camper. I really enjoy seeing the confused faces of the new campers when the staffers, dressed as the culminati, come waltzing in like it’s totally normal.
I thought Joel, Matt, Nathen, and Sydney did a really wonderful job, but my personal favorite was seeing Joel come out acting EXACTLY like Asa. However, I might just be a little bit biased because Asa has been an amazing friend of mine over the past three years. If it was based off of looks though, Nathen looked so much like Andrew. They then proceeded to throw the culminati in the pool, as tradition goes.
Going back to a more emotional note, it was then time for Closing Ceremony. I get more emotional at Closing Ceremony every year as I get older – mostly because more of the people I spend lots of time with get older and start to leave camp for the last time. We get to hear speeches from the culminati as they share their experiences with camp through the years and how much it has changed their life as a whole. It’s all very, very emotional and obviously makes me cry. After the Closing Ceremony is over, some campers go back to their cabins to sleep, and some stay in the lodge to attempt pulling an all-nighter. I originally intended to go to sleep at around two in the morning, but got caught up in deep conversations and signing directories and stayed up till four. It was nice though. I was fortunate enough to have all the culminati up with me too, so I got to have some last conversations with them. As I finally go back to my cabin to sleep, I can’t help but have a very heavy sad feeling around my heart. I think about all of my friends. New and old friends. Returning and leaving friends. I think about how crazy it is that in such a short time your “friends” can easily become family.
To all of my friends from camp who’re reading this right now, I love you all so very much. It has never been easy to leave you guys and camp. This year was especially hard for me to leave. Even to all of you that I didn’t really talk to that much, I love you as well and hope for you guys to start up a conversation with me next year. It has been a week of ups and downs, but I always come back home a changed person. I can’t wait for next year, it’s been real. Thank you guys so much, and goodbye…