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Che-Na-Wah Counselor Toast 2013

On behalf of the counselor staff, I would like to propose a toast to the summer of 2013.

CHANGE.  It’s something that so many of us try to resist.  We seem to fear the unknown and cling to what we are accustomed to.  However, change is inevitable.  It is natural, and it is constant.  Seasons change, laws change, relationships change, and people do too.  Each of us are changing as we learn, grow, and experience everyday life.

I speak of change because the summer of 2013 brought a lot of it.  New members of the Che-Na-Wah family spend these last two months experiencing something like they never had before.  Those of us that returned to camp after years spent here, were thrust into new roles and given new responsibilities.  Changes such as these took not only adjustments to our routines, but patience and strength.  As a staff, we really had to learn about each other, and how we could work together.  The job of the counselor is far from simple, but we harnessed each other’s strengths, leaned on each other for support, and put our hearts and souls into this job.  A job that’s soul purpose is to provide children a summer home is a rare one.  Its not easy – but we did it.

And you know what… in doing so, we underwent the most powerful phenomenon of all: CHANGE.

Our campers changed us.  They taught us what it feels like to be proud.  They also showed us how we could be tired or frustrated, but still feel love all the same.

Our peers changed us.  They taught us that you can befriend someone from a different background you may never have come across otherwise, and also how quickly a friendship can feel as if it has been forever.

This place has changed us.  Nowhere else can you wake up to such an incredible view every morning.  Very few places in the world are as breathtakingly beautiful as Che-Na-Wah.

This experience has changed us.  All each in a different way – Whether you realize it now or later, it just did.  None of us will be the same after the summer of 2013.

Change is inevitable, it is natural, it is constant.  And camp changes us for the better.

To Ruth and Mel – through the changes that come with passing time, thank you for your ability to keep the traditions alive.  Your dedication to this camp provides us all with some familiarity from year to year – a real gift for Che-Na-Wah girls to cherish as they age.

To Grobie and Weinstock Kitchin – thank you for your being change-makers, movers, and shakers.  Your undying dedication to ensuring that every day here is better than the last plays a major role in making camp as great as it is.  You created and managed such a special staff and its been an honor to be a part of.

To Jen – thank you for capturing our memories on camera.  Through everything we experience, we have your photography to remember what was and what can be again next summer.  Thank you for your caring and kindness.

To Allison – your work to change people here for the better has been so valuable.  The lessons you have taught on team building and patience have added to the characters of so many Che-Na-Wah daughters.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

To Leslie – you brought big change to Che-Na-Wah waterfront this summer.  Your love for camp, your spirit, and your leadership has really made the lake the place to be.  We love Lake Balfour and we love you too.

To Jane and Barbara – thank you for giving us the best jobs in the world.  Very few people have the privilege to be employed in a place as special as this.  Thank you for being supportive and keeping it all together.  This summer has changed our lives.

To Bunk 22 – you have exemplified how quickly the shift can be from girl to woman.  You all led this camp with such grace, and we look forward to watching you grow even more in the coming years.  Every girl in camp wants to grow up to be just like you, myself included.  You are all beautiful.

To the Waitresses – you eleven will soon be facing one of the biggest changes of all.  However, not only can you do it, you will be amazing and we can not wait to have you on staff.  Its been said that distance makes the heart grow stronger; and while that distance may only be from junior row to senior hill, it most definitely is an adjustment.  I promise, living under separate roofs does not tear you apart.  You’ll now belong to a bigger family, and on top of that, it is such a blessing to teach a younger generation what it means to love camp like you all do.

Finnaly, thank you Lake Balfour for being our hidden treasure.  Thank you to the campers for your spirit and cheer.  Thank you to the counselors for your friendship and your hard work.  Thank you Che-Na-Wah for being our second home.  And thank you all for changing me forever.

-Rebecca Lichtenstein, Waitress 2010


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