Warning: unusually sentimental post
My name is Treble – although my real name is rarely a secret – and I started attending camp when I was eight and haven’t missed a year yet. That makes eight years as a camper, and soon to be six years on staff. Two thirds of my twenty one years have involved spending time at Kalalla.
It is a truly heartbreaking feeling to know that this year may be one of my last years of camp, at least for a while.
I always look forward to camp. I remember having countdowns that started as soon as the camp dates were posted on the website, which was incidentally my homepage for several years. I used to pack my suitcase as early as I could and would re-pack often to try and get it ‘just right’.
I enthusiastically talked to my camp friends throughout the year and always wrote more than one name under ‘is there a friend who you want to be in a cabin with?’ I would sit in school and imagine another year of laughing until we cried, and another game of dancing right on that line between being funny and actually getting in trouble. (If you are one of my campers or are my parents, ignore that. I was perfect. I never got in trouble for making mud slides, or singing loudly at night, or being too rowdy…)
Being staff has been even better. I love the feeling of curing homesickness and of making someone love Kalalla. I love sharing the traditions that I have yet to take for granted. I love teaching songs and inciting joy and enthusiasm. I love laughing in the staff cabin with my friends, always sacrificing the part of my staff eval where I am supposed to be sleeping and taking care of myself.
Mostly though , I love seeing my campers change from year to year. I am studying to be a teacher, and the more I learn about education, the surer that I am that camp is learning in its purest form. Every child has the opportunity to succeed because at camp, so many different parts of a person are valued. I am confident that each girl leaves camp feeling smarter, and more important than when they arrived. It is a true blessing to watch a child grow up at camp, as I did.
But the thing about growing up at camp, is that you are growing up outside of camp too. And eventually, learning to be a grownup starts to get in the way of learning at camp. Each year after high school and before having an actual job, it gets harder and harder to have time for camp, even though we all try to. No one who has been coming to camp leaves camp because the choice is easy. Growing up is hard.
But as comically cheesy as this sounds, camp will always be with me. I will always be impacted by the generations of women and girls that have shaped Kalalla to be the community that it is. I will always wince when I see elbows on table, and be weirdly good at signing quickly (if you ever want a career in rap, ‘I am a C’ and the fast verse in ‘I’ve got the joy’ would be great places to start). I will always be grateful for what Kalalla has given to me.
Hopefully I have a few summers left (my goal has always been 15 in a row) and hopefully I will return a few years after that when I am done grad school. Maybe I will have some daughters someday who will learn to love Kalalla as I do.
(Side note: there are too many Kalalla alumni having baby boys)
For now, I will keep attending camp in the same way that I always have, by cherishing each minute of it. And someday when I can’t be there on that first night, I will tell myself the same thing that I would be telling my homesick campers: “You’ll be home sooner than you know it”.
With love, Treble