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When I dropped you off at the camp bus last summer to try overnight camp for the first time, there were only a few things I hoped for. I hoped that you would love camp as much as I did growing up. I hoped that you would want to go back. I hoped that camp would become your special place, your home away from home; as it was mine for so many years.
When you ran off the bus after ten days last summer screaming, “Next year for a month!” Tears ran down my face and I breathed a sigh of relief—I knew we had another camper for life in the Pinchuk Family.
A couple weeks ago I opened up Facebook to a live stream video of the campers from first session singing evening taps after the Fourth of July festivities. I watched the video and tears streamed down my face as goosebumps traveled up and down my arms. I cried for so many reasons.
I cried out of envy—how lucky those kids were to be singing such a special song in such a special place.
I cried out of nostalgia. Closing my eyes and listening to the song echo across P-Skills brought back so many memories.
I cried because I know what an amazing adventure lies ahead for you—my first born daughter and our second generation camper.
In just two weeks time, you were going to be those kids in the video. Singing songs, playing games and enjoying one of the greatest gifts I will ever be able to give you.
And now here we are.
You’re asleep in the next room and tomorrow you will board the big green camp bus—the same one I rode so many times—to the greatest place on earth. I want to make sure to remind you:
TRY EVERYTHING! It’s hard to imagine, but I became basically an expert at canoeing at camp. And as you saw this week, and couldn’t believe, I also have pretty mad skills when it comes to beading necklaces.
SING YOUR HEART OUT! At meals, on Friday night, during song sessions and color war. Lose your voice and dance like no one is watching—because they’re not—they’re having fun, just like you!
GET MESSY! No one cares and that’s the best part about camp! Jump in the muddy puddles after the rain, get into a food fight in the mess hall. (Just make sure to clean it up—I don’t want any calls home.)
MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND MEMORIES TO LAST A LIFETIME. Camp friends are a constant and camp memories will live with you for eternity. I know that you got a taste of camp last summer. But once you experience a full month of summer camp, you will truly understand the meaning of “live 10 for 2.”
So, know that tomorrow morning when tears are streaming down my face at the bus it will be for two reasons (ok, maybe three.) I will be crying because I am going to miss you. I will also be crying because I know where the road to anywhere is taking you. I know what lies ahead on the other side of your song-filled bus ride. Even at almost forty years old I know that the next four weeks will be some of the best in your entire life.
And also know—I will be crying because I wish I could go too.
I love you baby girl—up to the sky and beyond and more than everything else in the entire world. We’ll see you in four weeks.
Have the best summer of your life.