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Camp Che-Na-Wah Counselor Toast

On behalf of the counselors we would like to make a toast to the summer of 2015. While all three of us found Che-Na-Wah in unique ways, we are the same in that we are all share a love of this magical place that brought us all together.

As you all know this was my first summer at Che-Na-Wah. I traveled a very anxious 24 hours to be here. As an international I was unsure of what camp life would be like and whether I would make those lifelong friendships I had been told about. This summer has been everything I wanted and more! Camp has let me bring out the real me and I couldn’t be happier. Thank you Che-Na-Wah for the endless supply of fun and laughter.

I first arrived here in 2008. I joined a bunk that had already been together for 5 or 6 years. I was greeted with the fear of not being accepted, or worse, not being happy. My first summer I was already on senior hill, competing in human croquet and being looked up to by younger girls who were far more comfortable than I was in a still unfamiliar place. There isn’t any way to describe my first few weeks here. The cliché that it felt like I had been here for years is truly the only possible way to explain it. It felt like I belonged. I was home.
I remember learning my first blue and gold slow in the canteen and crying as the captains sang a song that perfectly explained my feelings. It felt like it was directed at me. I am still amazed at how fast i fell in love. The most special part about it now is getting to watch campers fall in love with Che-Na-Wah the same way I did. It’s 2015, and these past 8 years are responsible for who I am today. I hope you all truly appreciate the value of our home the way so many have in the past, and so many more will in the future.

Stock/Kitchin- You have blown us all away once again with your ability to juggle a newborn at the same time as your seemingly impossible job. Juliana is so lucky to have someone as experienced, caring, and kind as you for a mother. Thank you for everything you do for us, we love you.

Grobie: You have the rare ability to brighten up any room you walk into and put a smile on anyone’s face without saying a word. You’re going to be a beautiful bride and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you. Thank you for your constant support, love, encouragement and your endless stock of 80’s graphic tees. We love you.

Susan and Maya: Thank you for supplying an infinite amount of band-aids, ice packs and icy-hot to the oh so serious scrapes and bruises that occur during activity. Your unconditional support and love in camp mean the world to us.

Ruth: Even though you only joined us towards the end of the summer, we felt your presence the entire time. We appreciate everything you do to keep the camp traditions alive from summer to summer. Deserée, We are so glad to have you back this summer as well. Camp wouldn’t be the same without your patience and kindness. We love you both and are so lucky to be able to spend our summers with you.

Jen, Jane and Shari: You probably hear this every summer, but thank you for being our second mothers at our home away from home. We appreciate everything you have done for us this summer and throughout the years. The three of you have always been there to give both the staff and campers amazing advice, a shoulder to cry on, and words of encouragement. We are so grateful for everything you do, thank you.

Adva: Thank you for inspiring people to create beautiful masterpieces. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. Thank you for being someone we can always count on for help, you’re like a second mother to us.

Solomon: Thank you for sharing your knowledge and love of tennis with us every summer. We are so lucky to learn new skills from you everyday. You always know how to make every camper at CNW smile, we love you!

Leslie: The passed 3 summers would not be the same without your constant support and love. You make coming down to the lake each morning, even on the coldest of days, worth it, and you never fail to remind us of how lucky we are to be here together. We will always look at you like the cool older sister many of us never had. Thank you for everything you’ve done and all that you are, we love you.

Internationals: Can you believe that 7 weeks ago we were sitting in a hotel room in New Jersey getting to know each other? Now, it’s the end of the summer and it feels like we have known each other for a lifetime. This has been an unbelievable experience, and I couldn’t be anymore proud of how far we have all come. I am so glad we could spend the summer together.

Returning CNW counselors : We cannot thank you all enough for welcoming us to Che-Na-Wah. Your love and devotion for camp has inspired us to work hard and be the best counselors we can be. The friendships we have created over the past 7 weeks have made our camp experience feel more meaningful than a job.

Gemma, Emma, Yali, Shelby and Taylor: Without the five of you, camp honestly wouldn’t be able to function as smoothly as it does. Your compassion and love for camp is inspiring. Thank you for being there through every clean up, meltdown and even just when we needed someone to lean on. You guys are an amazing group of girls and we are so lucky to have all of you to look up to and admire.

Barbara and Allison: Thank you for our making our dreams of returning to our second home a reality summer after summer. Your dedication to keeping camp traditions alive and ensuring our safety is appreciated by everyone sitting here. This has been another summer for the books, and we cant wait to see what summer of 2016 has in store for us, thank you.

Bunk 22: Over the past 7 weeks you girls have lead the camp with such beauty, poise and commitment. You were unbelievable captains during Penn/Cornell and blue and gold and such incredible role models for the younger campers. We are all so proud of you and all you guys have accomplished, we can’t wait to compete against you next year on green!

Waitresses of 2015: Coming into the summer I did not know what to expect because I felt like it was just yesterday i was in your exact position; eating 3 times a meal, writing chants about absolutely everything and sleeping under the same roof as my best friends for the last summer. . There’s something special about waitress summer that can’t easily be put into words. Nothing will ever replace waking up in the presence of your best friends. Thank you for allowing me to experience it again. The 16 of you have blown the entire staff away. Thank you for making me forget that being your counselor is a job. Although it’ll be a tough transition at the beginning, you will be the counselors that your campers remember forever. I firmly believe that. Please hold onto what makes you guys special, never stop laughing at nothing, and finding the beauty in everything. I love you.

Shelby and Taryn:  My love for the two of you is impossible to put in words.  Over the past ten years you guys have become not only the best bunk mates I could ever ask for but unbelievable sisters.  I have loved watching you guys transition from the awkward stages of full on tie dye outfits, puffy hair, and the embarrassment of the boy you like thinking you have a real obsession with food into the people you are today.  I am so proud of all you have accomplished and I feel so fortunate to call you guys my sisters.

Waitresses of 2012: Although our entire bunk isn’t here right now, it’s crazy that all 11 of us got to spend another incredible summer together. Not only are you guys leaders and role models to the entire camp, I look up to the 10 of you more than anyone else in the world. You welcomed me in at a very awkward age when you already had each other and made me feel like I had been with you from the start. Che-Na-Wah is blessed to have counselors like you changing the lives of its campers just like the way you changed mine when you took me in with open arms. Stories of our hundreds of experiences together are not worth trying to explain. They are reserved for us and us alone. But I can take solace in the fact that generations before and after me will experience different, but similar things that they will carry for a lifetime. You will always be my family. Thank you.

Seeing the waitresses of 1961 back together again made us realize how much camp can shape a person. It made us feel like a part of something bigger than just “camp”. This reunion was living proof that the bonds made here can withstand the test of time. These women were once girls who jumped in the same lake as us and sang the same songs as us. They were, and are, us; and though nobody in the social hall had met them before, there was a sense of familiarity. We live vicariously through them in our future, and they live vicariously through us, who are lucky enough to still be here.

In a time where nothing ever seems to stay the same for more than ten minutes, here, in our home traditions have been protected, preserved and cherished for longer than we can imagine.
It is impossible that you’ll be able to fully understand the impact this place has on another person. It is possible to have the best time of your life. It is absolute that I will never forget a second. Thank you camp Che-Na-Wah.

Emmy, Kiana, and Tenae


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