Just when we thought the first session of camp would last forever, one of the most bittersweet parts of the summer has fallen upon us…parent’s weekend. Finally, the staff has got every kids name down and knows which campers prefer to lead their soccer team in victories to which prefer to belt out the high notes on the Witherbee stage. While the boys now know their way around camp and how to make sure they trick their leaders into giving them double store for the week. It seems as if camp has just started, but suddenly three and a half weeks have flown by and the boys are hastily running around their cabins looking for their missing socks and preparing to see their siblings again. Yet, the most interesting thing about this past weekend was not seeing the reuniting of look “alikes,” but rather getting the chance to talk with the parents of these young kids.
Many of the parents I stumbled upon Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning had gone to camp themselves as young cubs. Some had not been back to camp since they were leaders themselves, years before. They talked about how different camp looked now, to them. One older man who used to work at Swim Point told me about how there were never docks up to create a swimming area, with one dock, and a leader or two helping him to guard. Another parent who had started as a cub and was proud to have worked his way up to leadership, laughed as he told me about how they used to sleep in tents and yurts, all sprawled about the floor, being careful to step on as few fellow campers as possible when getting up in the middle of the night. Fathers and mothers alike told me about how excited they were when they found out their younger cub was going to be in the same cabin that their older junior had been in a few years before. “Yes, we have another Cutler cabin cub!” one mom exclaimed to me when talking about the excitement they had felt back at the beginning of the summer.
Some parents discussed the lineage of campers that had gone through their family trees, from campers to leaders to staff members, it seemed everybody had a connection to camp and was more than happy to have shared their own sons with a place they knew they too would grow to cherish. They even brought their younger sons who were not old enough to attend camp yet, pointing out different camp landmarks and mentioning something they remembered about it when they were younger.
Walking about campus I could hear siblings talking about what bunk had been theirs when they were in the same cabin as their younger brothers, parents asking junior and assistant leaders how excited they were to be a leader one day, while reflecting back on those similar feelings they had, had years before, and even grandparents exclaiming about how different camp sights had become more modern, but still reminded them of their own camp days. Everybody was all smiles and laughs, as the sun shined down on the glistening camper trunks about them.
I was fascinated by this family bonding and knew it was what made Dudley so special. Being able to share a place with your children that they hear you talk about for years when they are younger, but that they cannot quite comprehend until they experience it themselves is something truly special. Personally, having the chance to interact with all these different camp numbers this past weekend reminded me of that, and although the first session of the summer had come to a close, I was overjoyed for the second session to be quickly upon us come Tuesday, as I knew the family connections and stories would only continue to enthrall me!
Written by #22835 Alexa Mitchell
Video production by #15877 Brendan Loughman