Wednesday, August 27, 2014

THE Photo of Summer 2014

That's right, THE Photo of Summer 2014, THE photo that trumps all other photos, THE photo that sums up the whole Summer 2014 Season at Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp!


I don't have it here for you or anything. 

Sorry if that came across wrong. 

I mean we are searching for THE Photo of Summer 2014!

Every week here at camp could be made up of a thousand pictures, and if every picture is worth a thousand words and we have six weeks of camp, that's six MILLION words we have to sort through for just one picture. Or rather, is that one picture going to be worth six million words? I've confused myself with all this math. 

We're looking for a really good picture, is what I'm saying. And one of you who has been snapping pictures all summer long is in possession of it! 

So go back through those all photos you took, and find me the best picture of the summer. 

Once you find it, go ahead and email it my way. Or give it to me some other way people give people pictures on the internet. This whole machine still really baffles me. 

I'll post some finalists and the winner on this blog. And maybe there will be a prize.

Yeah, sure, why not, there WILL be a prize. Who doesn't like prizes?

So the search begins - find me the best photo of the Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp Summer Season!

(I'll give you a head start. The pictures below are NOT it:)
This isn't it.

Not even with the Spirit featured.

That's just your camera strap.


Tempting, but no.


Oh goodness. No.

Glad you're enjoying your lunch, Ranger Ramey, but that ain't the picture.

Well, those are just doors.

Stop it.

Impressive, but still no.

Get out of here, Margaret!

Great hair, still no.

Getting closer!!!

Definitely, definitely, definitely not.

So those all AREN'T it.

Send me your pictures so we can find out what

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer 2014 - PUT IT IN THE BOOKS!

And that's it! That's all she wrote. (Who's she?) Summer 2014 is done, it has elapsed, it is over, finished, and happened, put in in the books! Put it! In the books!

It started on the morning of June 15th as the Senior Staff arrived to begin planning and training, and lasted every single moment from then until the evening of August 16th, when we finished our final campfire and thank you circle at the Staff Banquet and the counselors said their last good nights (and not goodbyes) of the summer.

What happened in between? Everything. Everything that could possibly happen in a Summer on a hundred and eight acres in the middle of the woods around a little lake happened. Too much to put into little silly words on the internet, and too much to sum up with pictures and stories. 

But, since pictures and stories are all we have, we sure will try to sum it up with them. Leonard Cohen says "if your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash", and though all of our campfires of 2014 have finished burning, the ash they've left behind are those pictures, stories, and memories of 62 warm days that last forever at summer camp.

And what makes a summer camp? Not the old buildings, not even these mystic woods and magic lake. A summer camp is just the people who were here, and as we say at our World Famous Thank You Circle, "thank goodness each and everyone one of us were here, because if we weren't here, we wouldn't be here!" We'd remember each and everyone one of us regardless, but just for safe measure we keep a list. So we don't lose it, we put it on a wall.

A couple hundred signatures of a couple hundred campers and counselors who made Summer 2014 everything it was.

The mural in the middle, a wonderful piece of art by our very own Counselor Lindsey Filo, is based on one of our favorite campfire songs (...come to think of it, so is the name of this blog). Something tells me you'll see this design around camp more in the future...we really like it.

The songs says that "we come from the mountains, we come from the fire, we come from the water, we come from the sky...go back to the mountains, and turn the world around." In a way, that's exactly what we hope every name on this wall did and experienced.

Now, as with everything at camp, this wall will be white-washed over so we can start again fresh in Summer 2015, but here at camp we know that the names on that wall never go away, they stay carved into camp and it's history and it's spirit permanently.

And that's Summer 2014. Put it in the books.

We're already getting to work on Summer 2015. We can't wait to see you here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wish Boats

As I mentioned in the previous entry, the last week of the summer season is always a special one here at camp, and we often look to commemorate it while not deviating too far from our tried and true summer camp week. How best say bon voyage to a great summer? By sending off and setting sail, of course.

Hence our End of Summer Wish Boats. Originally, they were Beginning of Summer Wish Boats (for a 4th of July when we needed an alternative to fireworks as we reside in a state forest), but they have become a last session tradition. We lose about a full hour of daylight from the beginning of summer to the end, and while 8:30 was plenty bright at the end of June, by the time we get to mid-August the sun has set, and Lake Shawanni is nothing but reflected blue sky and shadows.

A note: I think some of the below pictures are fantastic. I don't know if that's because I was there in person and I'm simply recalling how astonishing it was in real life. Perhaps to some of you they'll just look like a lot of darkness and a few points of light, but if you were there, you'll remember how it looked. And how you felt.

The decorating of the boats.

Simply a carved wooden block with a wish written.

A plain birthday candle is placed in the middle.

And then they are ready to set sail.

As the whole camp sits on the shore and watches their tiny personal campfires float out on the darkened lake, the impossible happens. The impossible at summer camp, anyway. They all grow silent. Every camper and counselor quietly watches the flames dance and flicker and extinguish without a sound, until the lake is dark yet again, and we tell all the cabins goodnight.

Goodnight. Because around these parts, we say goodnight and not goodbye.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Session 6: End of Summer BBQ

Session 6 is always a special one for us here at camp, because it's our last week of the summer season. At this point in the summer, the staff all have but one week of summer camp (just like are campers), and we do a lot of cool things to send the season off in style. One of these things is our waterfront BBQ, which we haul out just once a summer. This BBQ Features it all:

Being served near the Buddy Board!

Eating on the ground!

Corn! And Guitar Playing! (And corn! Did I mention the corn!?)




The King of Summer Time Desserts. Ladies and gentleman. We present for you...the watermelon.

That looks fun. I wish I was there! (Well, I was there. But I mean I wish I was there right now. Never mind. You know what I mean.)

We followed our dinner with a waterfront Vespers...

Delivered wonderfully by our very own Cassandra. (Some people mistakenly call her Casey. Please don't. This is an inaccurate shortening of her given name, Cassandra. Only call her Cassandra. Ever.)

And then we were on to the games! What would a Waterfront BBQ be without the games?! A Game-less Waterfront BBQ. Is what.

Water Games!

Land Games! Like Wiffle Ball! (Spell check wanted to change that to Waffle-Ball. Note to self: Invent Waffle-Ball.)

Like...stand on the hill and look at hula hoops? What are they doing? Oh, that's lawn darts. Never mind. They're playing lawn darts. (Not the dangerous lawn darts from the 70's with super sharp knife darts, new ones. Safe ones.)

Ladder Ball! (If you haven't played ladder ball, play some ladder ball. It's a blast.)

And then...Uh-oh. The games are over. The sun is beginning to set. What could that mean? Time for the final piece of our End of Season Cookout...(in the next post, that is.)