As is the tradition, Friday night, the last night of first term, was Baby’s Boats campfire. It was raining that night, so first we had the campfire portion of the evening in the play hall. Awards were given out, such as friendliest camper, happiest camper, etc. Afterwards, we made our way to the pathway behind Cowbell and got in line to say goodbye to the sixteens. This was so sad — I could see in their eyes what awaits me, the end to my summers as a camper, just one summer away.
The whole Baby’s Boats tradition is really pretty; you touch your candle’s flame to the Sixteen’s candle flame, and then you hug them. It’s pretty emotional — everyone cries because of the combined sadness of the sixteen’s last night as campers and it being the last night of first term for us all. When the candles float off on the Greenbrier, it really hits home that tonight’s the last night until next year.
Maybe the whole world was shedding a tear because it started raining pretty heavily about halfway through the evening, so we went straight back to our tents.
Last night with tentmates
My tentmates and I, our counselor, and our “honorary counselor,” Gaby (she didn’t have any campers, so she joined our tent) gathered on the floor and discussed the highlights of the term over candy.
One of our tentmates, Anna, stayed full term, and so did Gaby, but the rest of us were leaving. It was particularly sad because it was our counselor Haley’s last night as a counselor — her family was moving to India, so she wasn’t coming back as a counselor next year.
We talked for about an hour, and then I played guitar and we sang. It was probably the best ending to first term that we could have had.
Far away friends, close in heart
The next morning, I left early, because I was taking the camp bus.
Saying goodbye to my friends was really hard. I desperately wanted to stay full term, and still wish that I could have, but, in my mom’s words, “it just wasn’t in the cards.” When I got home, I immediately wrote letters to my friends who were staying full term. We’ve made plans to hang out later this summer, and hopefully our plans can become a reality.
It’s so hard to explain to people how difficult it is to be apart from these friends that you spend three weeks with during the summer. It may be only three weeks, but it might as well be a lifetime. The bonds made in one summer between all of us girls are so tightly knit that sometimes it actually hurts being away from them, those first few days. And knowing that some of them won’t be back the next year makes it harder.
Even though I’ll probably see most of them next summer, being apart from people I really love for a whole year is hard. But I know that when I do see them again, it’s going to be awesome. Sixteens summer is our last summer as campers, and we’re going to make the best of it!
Next summer’s going to be the best one yet!
–Chloë Cook, Third Year Camper, Hopper, Upstart, Camp Alleghany For Girls