Summer is over and everything has settled into a regular pattern. I’ve had some time to reflect on my first summer in 13 years that I have not been in charge of our final Banquet.
Well, firstly, instead of planning away for the summer as I would have customarily done, last winter and spring were devoted to my favorite hobbies of needlework and, of course, playing with the grandchildren. This made for a rather peaceful time between camp sessions. But I can honestly say it felt very strange to not be focusing on the paint, glue, drawings, theme, napkins, and all the other details that make up the magical work of our annual summer Banquet.
But I still did have camp duties to perform, so I attended to them, too.
One important part of my role at camp is that I manage our emergency procedures. I work to keep our policies and practices updated and in line with industry safety standards. I also have historically trained staff in emergency preparation and procedures, so I readied for that in the off-season as well.
To keep current on the newest information, I had time during the off-season to attend a few webinars on emergency procedures and crisis scenarios. These sessions are always informative and we incorporated many of the ideas I learned about into our own plans.
Then when it came to the summer, I took up my remaining camp jobs (outside of Term Banquet).
I organized the very special and not-to-be-missed Mini Camp Banquet and the final campfire for Mini Camp — the Show of Shows.
I wrote the Non-Camper Counselor Club Campfire (which ended up being our first campfire of First Term due to the historic West Virginia flood shortening the term). So for the first time the NCCCs got to do the traditional “color themed” campfire. Traditionally the NCCCs do our second campfire, on any possible theme.
Our first campfire is always our color-themed campfire in which the group who does it (a group that changes from summer to summer) performs for the camp a fun skit on what each color group in camp means.
I also organized both the final campfires of each term, Baby’s Boats and Candlelight Campfire. And of course, I enjoyed them just as in previous years, but there was also a feeling of freedom during the day I hadn’t felt since I was much younger since I was freed up from Banquet details.
The counselors who were in charge of Banquet asked me for some advice and some assistance, which I was happy to provide, but I basically let them make decisions on their own. I never wanted them to think I was looking over their shoulders. They did a fantastic job, too! The theme, “’Ghany Galaxy,” was very nicely done. Everyone enjoyed the outer space mood and appreciated all the hard work that went into everything.
This summer was unique in another respect. I had a different and new opportunity this past summer that my formerly busy schedule wouldn’t have allowed. I had the time to tutor a camper! She and I became very good friends during our time together. It was nice to be working with a camper again. It added a new but familiar dimension to my summer.
I’ve also realized that I’m less tired at the end of this summer than I have been in previous years. Yes, I definitely missed the hard work, but I also didn’t miss it. Sounds like a paradox, but it’s true. Part of me still misses working in the Drama Department, too. I miss the organization and seeing everything as it comes together. But the energy needed for either Drama or Banquet just isn’t in the cards now, as the saying goes.
Back in the Saddle
I’m looking forward to another winter doing the things I enjoy, relaxing with the family, and playing with my grandchildren. I’ve been asked to help our son, Patrick, and his fiancée, with their wedding plans, and naturally, I’ll happily help them in any way I can.
And of course, the biggest news is, Noah, our third grandson. He was born September 9th and is just as beautiful and wonderful as the others. It’s always a joyous time when new grandchildren arrive!
Look for me next summer being more mobile, too, as I try out my second new knee. It gets fixed in November. I’ll be back at camp doing the things I like and helping where I can. Look forward to seeing all of you then!
— Bonnie Dawson, Director of Special Events, Camp Alleghany for Girls