CILTs used to go on an extended float trip during their second week. We'd unload 15 canoes on the bank of the river. Equip everyone with life jackets, paddles and PFD. Memorize camp's phone number 564-2898 in case of an emergency. Then push off into the water. Along the way we'd always stop at "CILT Island" to splash around, let the back canoes catch up again and practice skipping rocks.
After a few trips to CILT island I started collecting the smoothest and prettiest rocks I could find. I'd convince a few CILT guys to keep the rocks for me in the pockets of their swim trucks until we got back to camp. I'd wash off the rocks and then break out the Sharpies. Instead of writing traditional notes to my friends, I started writing rock notes.
Rock Notes Rock Because:
1. They're permanent. You can't easily lose, rip up, throw away or fold up a rock.
2. It's unconvential. People love things that are a little bit weird and out of the box.
3. You can't write a whole lot on a rock. You've got to sum up why you really love that person.
4. They're free.
5. They're special. Even though it's just a rock, people hold on to these little guys. I've had friends tell me they've kept their rock note for years after they left camp.
It was the last night of the summer of 2013. The staff banquet had just finished with tears and counselors were driving away camp for the last time. Smoon and I made a spontaneous decision. We'd spend our last night together this summer taking one last opportunity for adventure. We drove two hours north to Lake Michigan to surprise a couple friends. They were camping and had no idea that we'd show up.
We had to wake up early the next morning but made time to walk down to the water. The beach was covered with big smooth stones. Little did I know that Smoon tucked one away. When we split ways-- her to Illinois and me back to Indianapolis-- she left a rock note in my car. It's been there ever since. It's a consistent reminder of our friendship and the adventures we've taken together.
It's the last week of school. Kids have four more days of class until they're free for the summer. This morning I met with the Love Does girls for the last time this semester. I wanted to share the rock note tradition with them and give them each something that I think sums up Love Does and whimsy in ordinary life. I wonder if any of them will still have their rock years from now.