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Many of you know, BCB Founder + CEO, Lindsay Pinchuk, is a HUGE proponent for summer camp. It is her experiences growing up at camp that drove the creation of BCB’s Camp Beyond. Lindsay’s own daughter, Jordyn, began her own overnight camp experience at only seven years old—three years ago. Each year, Lindsay has shared their journey with us as camp plays such a large part in her family’s life. On what would have been the eve of her oldest daughter leaving for summer camp, Lindsay sat down and penned her yearly letter to her daughter Jordyn.
On the eve of the summer that would have been….
You’re upstairs, tucked in and asleep in your room. This letter was set to read far differently that it is going to. Last year when I sat down on the eve of your first full month at overnight camp, your bags had been sent and I had just returned from my final Target run of about 70 that weekend alone. The butterflies in my stomach were going insane. Anyone who has ever been to camp knows EXACTLY the butterflies I am referring to.
As I sit here typing this, I am simply trying to remain positive. But truthfully, I have a pit in my stomach for what this summer, and year has become. Tomorrow you were supposed to wake up for the best morning of the year, the one we wait for all year long. You would have ran on to the big green bus with your most special friends, for what would have been your third summer at overnight camp. Once again, you were set to spend four weeks at the camp where Dad and I met. One of my favorite places on earth, and one that I know is slowly becoming yours as well. A place so special that when you are able to return, I promise you will pick up right from where you left off.
I remember laying in your bed with you, the lights were off, when I told you that camp was cancelled this year. I had already spent the day crying, wondering how I was going to share such awful news. The darkness surrounding us was almost a relief as I didn’t have to look into your eyes, or show you mine, when I broke the news. But when I did you looked at me through the dark and you said, “It’s ok. I know this has to happen so that I don’t get sick. But do you promise I can go for eight weeks next summer?” (That’s my girl, and the answer is YES!)
It’s only been more recently that I think the reality of the situation has sunk in for you. I heard you say a few weeks ago when we were hanging out at our fire pit, “I would give anything to be able to go to camp this summer.” I know you would….and I want you to know that I would have given anything to get you there.
As you know, I believe that everything happens for a reason. While I may still be searching for the “reason” that summer camp was cancelled, I am trying to find the good in this entire situation. For me, this has been being able to hit the pause button with you, Daddy and Lila. REALLY spending some quality time together, and while maybe sometimes it seemed too much, how amazing has it been that we have eaten dinner together almost every single night as a family (except one) since March 13th?
I know that camp is where you learn how to canoe, play gaga and jump off the blob, but it’s also where, in between all of the activities, you learn how to live your life. Camp is where you grow confident enough to laugh and dance like no one is watching, it’s where you learn how to resolve conflict without your parents stepping in, and after living with the same girls for four or eight weeks—you come home being able to recognize the meaning of true friendship. Camp is where you slow down and get to know yourself in a way that you just can’t during the (normal) school year.
I know how sad you are that you are not getting on that bus tomorrow, to head down the “road to anywhere.” But I do hope that one day you look back on this time and realize that even though you weren’t physically at camp during the summer of 2020—that 2020 itself gave us all time to stop, reflect, learn and grow from the place where we were prior to our lockdown.
I believe that in 2021 when you step off that bus, you, like many of your friends, will be a different person—but in a good way. I believe that the virtues of camp have helped you to embrace this crazy time in a way that many others probably are not able. And I know that you are going to come out the other side of this situation a more mature and stronger individual, ready to tackle whatever comes your way.
So in a way, maybe it is as if you “went to camp” already this year. Perhaps we all have. I do know that next year, when you get to camp, you’ll have lived 22 for 2…and you and your friends will give a whole new meaning to our favorite summer mantra. But wherever you go, please don’t forget, CAMP isn’t just a place, but a frame of mind that stays with you forever.
I love you Jordyn and am so proud of you,
P.S. For those chosen, lucky ones who got to go this summer…please…PLEASE…take care and follow the rules. MAKE THIS WORK so that next year our camps have a blueprint to follow so our campers are able to join you all at their happiest place on earth.