On behalf of the counselors, we would like to propose a toast to the summer of 2011.
I remember this night last summer, listening to all the toasts, reminiscing about the magical summer that somehow flashed before our eyes and knowing that I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. We started as a huge bunk and although many of our best friends stopped coming back, there wasn’t a doubt in our minds that the 4 of us were destined to be here this summer. As I stand before you on my 21st birthday, I vividly remember my first summer so upset turning 9 without my family. Now 13 years later, I cant comprehend ever spending my birthday away from this place, this family.
I will never forget my first ever Friday night dinner spent at camp. As bunk 22 sang sows, I remember looking at on of my bunkmates as she began to cry. I could not fathom the overwhelming stir of emotions that she was feeling. That same summer, once banquet rolled around, I suddenly understood. There is no way to describe the feelings that we have toward this place. All I know is that camp has the power to make us feel safer than anywhere else in the world. Leaving here threatens the sense of security that we find not only in our sisters but in the physical space of camp as well. I am reminded of how hard it is to say goodbye each summer and I can honestly say that in my 11 years here, these final days have never gotten easier.
When asked to describe why camp is the most amazing place and feeling, I struggle to pinpoint what makes Che-Na-Wah what it is. However, it is undeniable that a huge part of our camp experience is due to every Che-Na-Wah girl who feels the way I do about camp. Each and every one of you has made your mark on camp forever. My past 13 summers have shaped me into the person I am today. As I grew up, every counselor paved the way for me as my summers at Che-Na-Wah passed by. Now as a 5th year counselor, I can only hope the campers feel the same way about me as I did about my counselors. What many campers may not realize is how big of a positive impact they have on their counselors. It is the most amazing feeling to see our success as counselors through your triumphs during the summer. Whether it is working with a junior to pass their deep-water test, watching a camper get up and around the lake in ski, or witnessing your own campers become counselors themselves. Each and every person makes t his place what it is, and that is what it is so special.
I can’t begin to explain how quickly this summer has flown by. However, as I stand here on one of the final nights of the summer, I take comfort in knowing that you all too felt the same indescribable speed. I have woken up each morning hoping that the day could somehow be slower than the last, feeling that I needed more time to truly appreciate each and every sing moment. I am leaving this summer with the fondest memories, and I have all of you to thank for this incredible experience. I would like to share with everyone a special memory from this summer that stands out so vividly in my mind. It was the spontaneous all camp dance party on the front lawn, where I had the opportunity to watch every sing Che-Na-Wah girl join together and get involved in the fun. At some point during my dancing, I took a step back to take in the atmosphere and to process what I was seeing and feeling, and truly appreciate this moment. With the lake and the mountains as the backdrop, I watched and felt the sheet happiness of the youngest girls all the way to the oldest staff. My heart was practically bursting as I watched girls, who are so different from one another and who each have their own unique story share in a common experience. I believe that this is what is so amazing about camp. No matter how different individual personalities are or how differently lives are shaped, camp is something that intertwines through everybody’s lives. It is the strong love that we share for each other, for this family and for this beautiful home that brings us all together.
To all you beautiful Che-Na-Wah campers. We cannot stress how important it is for you to realize how lucky you are to be here. Your summers at camp will define each and every one of you as individuals. If you take away anything from this speech when you leave here tonight, please remember that you must take advantage of the time you have here because it will be over before you know it. Appreciate every rainy day, every jump into the lake, and every song in the dining room because it won’t last forever. As we look at you now, we can’t help but see the future of camp, and we envy you for all that.
We would like to take this time to say thank you to those who make our summers at camp possible.
Firstly, to Ruth and Mel. Thank you for always keeping camp spirit and pride alive, and for making each return to our home so special.
To Barbara and Jane. Thank you for all that you do for us each summer. We truly appreciate the guidance and support that you offer.
To Elyse, Jen, and Robyn. Thank you for always being there to talk to. You are all so helpful to us and to the campers. You bring so much to camp with your guidance and enthusiasm. You rock, never change.
To Grobie and Stock. Over the years you have been there for us, not only as leaders but as friends as well. You make us feel so comfortable to talk to whether it be for advice or just a casual conversation. We love you tons.
And most importantly, to the rest of the counselor staff. This summer could not have been possible without you. It is your devotion to the campers and to camp itself, that makes each and every day so enjoyable. Whether you grew up here or this was your first summer, you are all true Che-Na-Wah girls. We can’t thank you enough for being so on all the time. We really do have the best job in the world, so enjoy it while you can. We love you and hope you are all back next summer.
Can’t wait for summer 2012. Hope you all have the most amazing year.
Marlee Schwartz, Melissa Marcus, Arielle Segal, and Jaclyn Hoffman