2012 marks the 60th year of Camp Stevens. Over the next two months – leading up to our September 2nd Open House celebration – we’ll be sharing people’s reflections on their first times at Camp Stevens. Share your story by emailing ashleyATcampstevensDOTorg. Here’s my tale.
The first summer campers of 2012 arrive tomorrow, and with them, the first set of girls to sleep in the newly completed Girls Hill summer cabins, reconstructed after the 2007 fire. Twenty years ago – pretty much to the day – I was coming to summer camp for the first time.
That day, I deposited my stuff (probably way too much of it) in an A Frame – open air, walls covered with fascinating murals. As a suburban kid from Orange County with no discernible interest in the outdoors you might have expected me to be nervous about the lack of walls on my cabin. But it didn’t even register as a concern: My counselor (Heather!) was so nice, the activities were so fun, the food was so good… who has time to worry about a pesky thing like walls?
Here I am with my friend Teryn – during the height of my Betty Boop phase – a couple years into my Camp Stevens love affair.
The new cabins are beautiful, each with a slightly different hue and – new for our cabins – names to identify them, instead of numbers. The cabin that I slept in that first time still stands – the only survivor on Girls’ Hill. It’s also the first cabin I ever counseled in; and the cabin where my ten-year old niece slept last summer during her first week at summer camp, so I do feel a certain measure of attachment to it.
But I have also been moved to near tears by the presence and beauty of the new cabins, and the idea of all the memories about to be crafted within the walls (Only two of them, but still…). As many of us experienced after the 2007 fire, it’s not the buildings that make Camp Stevens: It’s the experiences that happen in and around them.
As a kid, I was too busy – getting my clothes so dirty that my mom would have to run them through the washing machine twice – to realize that I was becoming a different person – more adventurous, more outgoing, more independent – with each day I spent here.
And to wake up every morning to this view:
How could it get any better?