Written by J. (staff/driver)
Departure Day is a busy and emotional day. Everyone is packed and occupied with the logistics of Camp’s end. Some of us are ready to be home and some of us are not. Some of us are ready one minute and not the next. But Departure Day is inevitable and this one wraps up another wonderful session of NBTSC at the delightful Camp Myrtlewood. It’s a morning of last-minute hugs, directory signings, and intentions to stay in touch until the next session or meeting. It’s a morning most of us are running on adrenaline and emotion, especially those of us that might be under-slept because FOMO “Fear Of Missing Out” kept us from getting enough sleep.
The final night of camp includes Closing Ceremony. This event is an opportunity to close out our session with hugs and intentions. We get to appreciate everyone who contributed to making this session so great, from the local site staff to the NBTSC admin staff who work behind the scenes and throughout the year, from the campers themselves to the NBTSC session staff who ensured this session ran smoothly, and that campers were cared for, fed, and connected with. It’s also a chance to listen to our Culminators and other campers who are aging out say good bye.
Once the buses have left for the airport and Monroe park, and the remaining campers have been picked up directly from the site, the staff finish cleaning up the site and ensure that it is just as beautiful as when we got here. Then maybe a last dip in the river before the staff cars leave one by one to head to Eugene for our Staff Debrief and Dinner. Tired as we are, we review the session, make recommendations on how we might make future session even better, and appreciate each other. Starting as soon as dinner is over, the staff starts to trickle away to their myriad homes and outside lives. In a day or so, most of the campers and staff will be spread back out over the country (and the world!) until another session brings us back together.
Camp Myrtlewood was especially beautiful this year. There was no trace of smoke from the fires that have plagued Southern Oregon in the last few years. We’d also had a good year of rainfall, so the site was green and lush and the river was definitely higher than it has been in the decade I’ve been at camp. The weather was delightful as well: not to hot or cold, a little bit of rain, and plenty of clear days to enjoy the sun and stars. No wonder we all miss this place so much throughout the year and start thinking about coming back right away!