Writing this year’s counselor toast got me wondering what makes Baco so awesome. The answer that I came to was, well, its us.
Baco was built on the idea that the secret to a great camp is great people. Each summer, we know Mel will call us out for putting knives in the peanut butter. Michael will be better than Broadway, and the lake better than a shower. Carol won’t tell you what goes into her Michigan sauce. Jackson 5 will send chills down your spine, and you will still want to hear “Friend of the Devil”.
It’s in this sense of community and belonging – which doesn’t exist beyond Route 28N – that we find comfort.
Now heading into my senior year of college with the real world looming uncomfortably around the corner, I’ve realized that old friends are life’s cushions. Friends who know you, your family, where you came from, and how you came to be. They remember when you at too many Ellios in Bunk 12, didn’t wear enough deodorant in Bunk 19, and carried an Olympic torch Waiter summer. In this, I couldn’t be happier to have you all.
To the Waiters of 2021: You won’t remember this toast, and maybe anything at all from your next five summers. Bus at you squirm in the inner ring; I can’t help but squirm in jealousy and excitement at the journey you have ahead to waiter summer. Soak up every moment.
To the Waiters of 2012: Over the last four years as your counselor, I’ve seen you all grow from pimple-faced, doe-eyed Lower K kids to independent, confident young adults ready to lead camp. Live the tradition and give back to Baco for as long as you can. All 28 of you are incredible, and I’m honored to call you not just my campers but also my friends.
To the Waiters of 2007: I have no words.
And to the Wortmans, Silvers, and everyone else who gets those heady collared staff shirts: you’ve created something amazing. Thank you.
As for the campers: You need no toast. Instead, in these last few days I ask you to find a place around camp and sit down. Close your eyes. Focus on everything about that one instant. Then tuck the memory into your back pocket. And when the short-lived excitement of seeing family, home friends, and good food wears off, try on the memory like that semi-dirty, but clean-enough sock in your laundry bag. I guarantee a smile will spread across your face.
Put ‘em up.
Waiter of 2007