Post written by staffer Brenna
(Apologies for the late post! I’ve been en route home to Atlanta with limited internet access for the last few days.)
Departure Day at NBTSC is always a bit of a mad scramble. A significant minority of campers choose to stay up very late/all night the night before to take advantage of final moments with friends who are ordinarily spread across the US/the world; staff often stay up late as well. Director Matt and I had plans to pick up a rental car at 7am on departure morning so I had set a hard bedtime of 2am for myself, figuring that 5 hours of sleep would be enough to get me through departure day with at least a moderate level of cognitive function. I spent the evening having final conversations with campers and staff and turned in at 2 as planned, but the cough and cold I had picked up during the week kept me from sleeping. I was worried that I was keeping other staffers in my cabin awake with my persistent coughing, so around 4am I walked carefully through the dark up to the main lodge in search of a cough suppressant. (In the dark because I had been using my phone’s flashlight for most of the session, until I dropped the phone in the toilet- it’s been a comedy of errors, people.) I finally dropped off to sleep around 5:30, got up with Matt to get the car at 7, and made it back just in time for the morning meeting.
Soon after the meeting it was time to say goodbye, and I stood on the porch watching family members show up to pick up their very sleep deprived kids. A couple of former campers arrived to pick up their siblings and we got to chat a little about what’s been going on in their lives since they were last at camp. Eventually only a few stragglers were left and we moved a boom box onto the lodge porch and danced to a playlist of “goodbye songs” that staffer Christian had created- NSYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” was on there, as was Rascal Flatt’s “Life is a Highway.” We spent the next few hours in closing meetings, and then several after that doing a deep clean of the site.
I was in the final departing car, wedged in the back among sleeping bags and leftover produce, at around 6pm.
Leaving camp is often hard for campers- there weren’t very many dry eyes in the field on departure morning- and it’s sometimes hard for staffers, too. Many of us started as campers and have known each other for over a decade. I had a great conversation with another staffer who was a camper with me (NBTSC ’04-’07, baby!) in which we talked about how we don’t have anything at home that feels quite like the camp community. Luckily, a few of the staffers were able to head to a cabin in nearby Mount Holly to spend a day together and rest a little bit before heading home. Staffer Christian (rock star or something like it in regular life) had arranged to play an acoustic show at a video game arcade in Rutland the day after Departure day, so we drove into town for that and then ended up eating at Five Guys (it’s like we needed to get all that delicious and healthy camp food out of our system) because nothing else was open at 8pm. It felt a little strange to be back out in the real world, full of fluorescent lighting, Cajun fries, and other people.
The following day the remaining staff all headed our separate ways. I was traveling alone in my trusty Honda Odyssey, so I spent 14 hours eating highway and then eventually pulled over and slept in the back of the van in a Walmart parking lot (the seats fold down!) before finally making it back to Atlanta yesterday afternoon. Currently writing this from my couch at 2pm, still wearing the clothes I slept in last night, and wondering how long I have to wait until I can reasonably take a nap. Parents, if your kids still seem tired after the session, they are. Give them a few days. 🙂
Until next time,
P.S. It is my understanding that there is one more blog post incoming, a special post from kitchen staffer Ethan whose posts are the stuff of camp legend, so stay tuned for that.