What a time we’ve had. It feels like just yesterday that I was 9 years old having a frolf meltdown up on the path by the then-domeful dome… probably because Danny never lets me forget it. And yet it feels like 10 years ago that I was watching my campers paint up to break this year’s Olympics. It’s funny how you do that, Baco; how you warp time to make it simultaneously eternal and nonexistent, turning 2002 into 2017 the way the outside world turns day into night. It allows me to reflect upon my time here as one singular entity; one Baco career. In doing so, I’ve realized something that will stick with me forever; that my career is one out of so many others. Many are in full swing, just beginning, approaching their ends, or somewhere in between. Many have happened already, and so many more are still on the way. Each is unique, with its own, story, names, experiences, memories, and emotions. And they are all interconnected, each one as a part of the others. This web of careers has created your history, Baco, and will continue to lay the foundations for your future. I am humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.
I turn away from you for a moment, Baco, to address the Baco Family; the people that make you, you. I could not thank you all enough. From the campers sitting in the inner ring here and now, to those that stood at its center before I ever even existed, you have all created magic; birthed a haven in the mountains and provided lessons, love, and life to all those lucky enough to have been able to call Baco their summer home.
To the Waiters of 2010, I say this. You have shown me what it means to be a friend. You have taught me what to do, what not to do, how to learn, listen, speak, and teach. You were all here once, and though you may not be anymore, I still am; and I have nobody but you guys to thank for that. All the love in the world could not convey how I feel about all of you. Keep being you.
To Max T: I hate you and you’re not my friend anymore… OK fine, I love you and you’re my best friend. In all seriousness, I could not have made it this far without you, and I definitely would not have been as good a counselor as I am now had I not been able to watch you do it first. Keep showing calm what it means to behave, the same way you have shown me.
To all of the Admin, thank you for facilitating my grown as a human being. You have seen me through 16 summers, and not one of them felt anything short of perfect. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to make this thing we call Baco happen.
To the Wortmans; Bob, Barbara, and Allison: what would we be without you? You are the ones that run the show, making sure we can all have then best summer ever, every summer. Thank you for giving us this place.
All of use here today should take a moment to look at what surrounds you, breathe the air, and relish in the company of each and every person around you. I have always tried to articulate what that feels like to those who have never been here, and I think I finally realize that that’s just not possible. You are an undefinable thing, Baco; so much more than a summer camp, and so much greater than the sum of your parts. There is no sense in trying to define you, for your definition is ever-changing flowing, adaption, and evolving with the generational progression of campers growing into counselors, counselors into alumni, alumni into parents of campers, and the cycle continues. Yet within all of that, one thing remains undeniably true; you are Baco, and you are the greatest gift a person could ask for. I envy those just meeting you, but am so glad that I get to know you. You have made me who I am, and I hope I have been able to help make you who you are, too. I could not thank you enough, and I love everything that you create and stand for.
Ben R, Waiter of 2010