Fridays are bittersweet. They're awesome because some of the most exciting things happen on Friday--the Room chapel, exciting things in clinics, super nachos for lunch, Unit games, theme dinners and closing campfire. But the day is also sad because it means that tomorrow everyone has to go back home.
I told one of the CILT girls on Thursday night that we should make Friday the best day yet. Because right now it seems like one day is just so short, but at any other point of the year we would be so excited to get to be together for a whole day. So we're going to embrace today and celebrate the little things. I'm going to get excited when I get to see Mary Brody and give Meg a hug every time I see her.
We spent the morning having final one on one conversations with each of the CILTs as they worked on writing their graduation song to Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up." Right before lunch Jamie and I ran over to the Trading Post to see if the delivery we'd been anticipating had finally arrived. Jackpot. Neon yellow snapback Team CILT hats specially made for the CILTs of 2012. #campfrat
I'm beyond thrilled about the newest addition to our camp wardrobes and plan on rocking it all summer long. It's now so easy to spot the CILTs in a crowd since these hats make them stand out like the lightning bugs in Main Field at night.
We ate lunch together in a giant circle on the floor, a finale picnic in the Party Room. Then we got to spend all of rest hour plus extra time practicing the graduation song and recording it. Mraz has quite the difficult bridge, which we eventually mastered, and figured out how to sing in unison.
"Cause even the days were long, we sang the same fun songs. Cause we've all got wooden nametags, and brown shirt swag."
It was difficult to stay positive as they sang the same song over and over again but I think they'll be glad to have the final product.
"I will remember CILTs, cause of the love we shared. I gave you all my trust, I'll miss you so much."
My favorite moments included saying good-bye to Jamie with a cinnamon roll squeeze, dancing with the CILT counselors in the middle to show how excited the song was making us, and sitting by my crew Katherine, Olivia and Victor for the final hour.
"We CILTs will not give up, two weeks was not enough. We're all a family, and always will be."
And we didn't really need a rest hour on the last day, we can sleep at home tomorrow.
"We won't forget these times, even as the months go bye. CILTs really changed my life, it's hard to say good-bye."
Then we got released into the sunlight again to find our adopted cabins and get some much needed pop stop. I will miss seeing these CILTs with their kids--CILTs like Katherine that don't steal the spotlight but are consistently so incredible at making connections and seeking out her girls. Courtney, aka Sparkly Pink Girl, and I were hardcore #campfrat together. I'm going to miss her so much. Scott was beyond thrilled to get a package from one of his campers from last week.
Friday night's theme dinner, 70's night, brought out the polyester, sequins, paisley and tie-dye. Peace, love and CILTs everyone.
Friday nights are so fun because everyone wants pictures with everyone. You can't have too many. It's also one of the only nights that all Resident and Day Camp counselors are on together. There is so much energy and excitement when everyone is here.
The Yurt showed up as Jesus and the 12 disciples... the Last Supper... get it?
The Party Room became a disco inferno and we broke it down with Erin O'Awesome original choreography and some more traditional moves. Not only did we get to do the YMCA but clean-up was done to the ever-popular Friday.
Friday night trading post time is the best. Everyone spends the rest of their money on sunglasses, tank tops and jelly-fish yo-yos. We sell out of chocolate chip ice-cream cookie sandwiches and chaco tacos.
We play sports in Main Field and sit in circles in the grass.
We get to spend more time just hanging out. Katherine and Katie have been two such dependable and positive girls in this session. I'm so thankful I've gotten to know them and know these friendships will continue.
Kids show off their tumbling skills and we tell "remember when" stories from the past week.
There are more pictures because who would ever want to forget these outfits... or these friends? Old counselor come back to visit and we get so excited to see them.
There really is just this feeling of being so blissfully happy. No one really worries about leaving the next day or keeping track of campers or what's coming next. Everyone is just having fun being together.
We got dressed for campfire in our CILT uniform--brown shirts, what shades, neon hat.
Everyone merges into the horse parade that leads us to Closing Campfire. When the Yurt guys joined they brought their One Direction poster and led everyone in singing "That's What Makes You Beautiful" the rest of the way.
I got to walk with my HSE girls Natalie and Ellie for a little bit. I'm really going to miss having them here at camp and hearing "HI MISS WRIGHT!" shouted across the field.
The end of a CILT session means a CILT graduation ceremony. We present diplomas while our counselor band hums Pomp and Circumstance.
Then the kids get to perform their graduation song that we spent so much time practicing.
We CILT counselors stand in the back and watch, cheering them one with our smiles and motions, so proud like the parents of this special camp family. We've spent two weeks investing in this group and we just love them so much. They did an awesome job and should be so very proud of themselves.
I love clinic performances. Rachel was a rockstar in guitar clinic.
River and Lake hip-hop clinics were awesome this week as were the show choir performances. Other campfire highlights included Toast, Silly Willy and a special performance of a Peterson original song "Tears Will Fall."
We had a final closing CILT devotion together before heading back to the Longhouse and falling asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow. As per tradition, their last bedtime story was the Puppies chapter of Cold Tangerines.
This morning was a flurry of packing and cleaning up before breakfast. At chapel the CILTs got to sit with their adopted cabins one last time. Ellie and I picked Natalie out of the crowd to continue our string of random-fun-Pathfinder-girl-from-chapel-that-will-be-a-CILT-next-summer to be our next friend. Granted this tradition is kind of weird but I really love it.
From Noelle Freebeck to Bridget Eckrich to Rachel Lombard...
to Ellie Pearl...
and now Natalie Brosious. Such a string of rockstars.
We headed back to the Longhouse porch singing the CILT cheer for the last time. A few parents were already waiting to greet their kids and pack them up to go back home. We'll miss this group of CILT guys that went above and beyond--they will be hard to measure up to. We will miss all thirty of the girls that have lived in Theta Kappa Lambda aka The Kokomo Longhouse.
Saying good-bye stinks. It just does, no way around it. But I'm so glad that I know CILTs are incredible at staying in touch. There will be e-mails and letters, reunions and facebook posts, surprise visits and tweets. This may be the end of their time together at camp but it's not the end of these friendships.
Want to know something pretty cool? In 2006, my first year as a Resident counselor, I spent a week as a Brave counselor in Delaware cabin. And one of my campers, the one in the middle with glasses, was first-time camper Jocele Cassidy.
And now in 2012 in her last year as a camper and possibly my last year as a counselor, I got the honor of being one of Jocele Cassidy's counselors one more time. Talk about a full-circle ending.
Other random sidenote--did you know Annie Fazzio lives with the CILTs now? She's great at it. She's also great at fearlessly rescuing bottle rockets from the Longhouse roof.
Session 1 of 2012 you will be missed. Thanks for an awesome two weeks and so many stories that we'll be retelling the rest of the summer. We really love you guys.