Picture this: the year is 2007. What a crazy year. Two unlikely characters get off the bus at Camp CNW. Armed with bob haircuts, chipmunk cheeks, and food boxes too big to fit under the bed, we seamlessly became part of the CNW legacy. Twelve years later, we can proudly say that we are giving that legacy back to each and every one of you. Of course, now you all carry fidget spinners and have unfortunately experienced the new food box size regulations. Writing this toast has allowed us to reflect on the impact that CNW has left on us and vice versa. Honestly, we don’t need to tell you all how much we love and dream of this place. There is a reason we keep returning every summer. There is an overwhelming feeling that touches anyone who has ever experienced what our camp is. Whether it is your first summer or your fiftieth, the memories of your time at CNW are carried with you all year long. It’s the feeling of achievement we get when sailing alone for the first time, the feeling of keeping traditions alive while belting out a song that one of your grandmothers could have written in the dining room. It’s the feeling of pride after giving your campers advice about a tough situation. And it’s the feeling of heartbreak and pain that creeps in as the summer slips away. These emotional ties we have towards CNW, to each other, and to the beauty that surrounds us on all sides allows camp to live on forever. With that in mind, we would like to thank some people who have impacted our experiences over the past several years.
To Barbara and Allison: It is impossible to say thank you enough. The energy and selflessness that is put into running a camp is not recognized nearly enough. Your ability to keep us safe and happy while allowing us to feel free spirited, worry free, and to be who we truly are is a gift that we have and will cherish forever. We can only hope the work we have put in this summer has made it obvious that we are grateful for the faith you have in us. We love you and will miss you.
To Weinstock, Grobie, and two weeks of Nagel: We strive to be as caring, energetic, and passionate as you three are everyday. With your superpowers, we are able to enjoy camp one day at a time. Nagel, you fit in so perfectly. It’s obvious that you are a true CNW girl. Grobie, although you can’t be here today we are so thankful for the laughter your t-shirts provide us and the athletic activities you push us to strive in. Stock, give us the inside scoop, how are you energized everyday? The passion, precision, and flexibility you have is admirable. Everyday we are amazed as to how you keep this camp together. Looking back at our summers you are the behind the scenes woman to every memory we have made at camp. We love you all so much.
To Jen and Leslie: You two are our biggest supporters, closest allies, and the first to call us out on our BS. You are never judgmental of our choices or actions, and you are always the first to help us out of a bind. You have watched us grow and have guided our journey from junior row to senior staff. You have helped us reach our potential. You are responsible for who we are here and who we will become in the real world.
To Jane, Adva, Susan, and Catina: You all play huge roles at camp. You allow us to be creative, patch us up after we fall down senior hill, and act as a support system whenever needed. We love you.
To our beautiful bunkmates: the waitresses of 2013 and 2014. We did it! We laughed, we cried, we grew, and we evolved. We have taken pieces from each of you and have woven them into the fabric of our identities. We look to you for love, advice, the occasional fight, and even a confirmation that our irregular bowel movements are actually not that irregular. Our friendships began here, under the same roof. We grew closer and got older, we were separated amongst different bunks yet our love and appreciation for one another grew immensely. We love you.
Camp never ends. The constant cycle of camp continues even when we part ways. For some, the cycle is just beginning. For others, the cycle seems to be fading away all too quickly. The beauty is in camp’s ability to be a constant in life’s tendency to be inconsistent. Generations pass through, yet the view never changes. The sun sets beyond the mountains, the lake remains calm and inviting, and your heart still flutters with the memory of every buddy check and every dance party in the rain, even fifty years after your last summer.
To our co-staff: those we have grown with and those who have come across the pond to be here. Thank you. Your presence has made a difference in CNW’s next generation. You should be proud to take responsibility for making 2018 the best summer ever. Camp will remember you, and we will too.
Finally, to you beautiful, spunky, sassy, and spirited campers: you may think that your impact is small, but we look to you with envy, high hopes, and a deep understanding of who you are and what you bring to camp. We relate to your experiences. We are you, just as one day you will be us. Remember how precious this all is. Put on your bathing suit on a cloudy day for general swim. Sing as loudly as you can, whenever you can. Find things to love about every activity, every meal, and every second you get to spend here that someone who came before you cannot. Most importantly, love each other. Have weird conversations, plan your conjoined bunk wedding, and take pieces of one another wherever you go. Be kind to each other, and to this place. It has given us more that we will ever be able to comprehend. We know that by this time the meatball appetizer is wearing off, so we’ll end on this. It’s hard to imagine that camp goes on without us. It’s even more unbearable to think about how we’ll go on without camp. But, that is how it must be. Like we said before, camp never ends. And may the lamps of beauty, truth, fortitude, and love ever burn brightly for CNW’s daughters.
Love forever and always,
Danielle Philips, waitress of 2014
Kaytlyn Elliott, waitress of 2013 (kind of)