Saturday was all kinds of emotions. In the morning we went to chapel in the Green Cathedral for the very last time this summer. Most of my summer is spent with this view of everyone in all of camp gathered together. God is present everywhere in camp but you can't deny his presence right here. It seems only fitting that we close out our weeks together by praising Him one more time in this place.
The rest of the morning was spent saying good-byes. The afternoon was filled with reading the last stack of Parent Letters and cleaning up all of camp. Then tonight was the Staff Banquet-- the final thank you to the staff. Our directors thank so many different groups of people who make camp run smoothly and put their all into summer camp. This place is awesome because of the dozens of staff and counselors who put their heart, sweat and soul into their work. In the spirit of the Staff Banquet, I have some thank you's of my own.
Liz Koch-- Thank you for being one of my best friends and my partner two summers in a row. Thank goodness you emailed J in the middle of the night and told him you were changing your mind and that you did actually want to come back to the Longhouse again. Thank you for challenging our friendship-- pushing us to be more vulnerable, more honest, more open to change. I was a better counselor this summer because of you. Thank you for your laughter, for your silliness, for making each day of CILTs filled with fun. Thank you for loving our kids so well and making them feel so valued. Thank you for staying up extra late to make memories with your campers because you understood it would mean so much to them. Thank you for consistently being my friend now that you're back in CO and the distance is ridiculously far. Thank you for being you.
Grace and Todd-- Thank you for jumping into this crazy adventure called CILTs this summer. I don't think either of you were really quite sure what you were getting yourselves into but you brought your talents, gifts and passion to the table. Thank you for embracing the uncomfortable parts of this job and figuring out where you could best thrive. Todd thank you for your humor, your flexibility and your enthusiasm for making the guys in the Brova become a family. Grace I'm so thankful for your drive, your attention to detail, your desire to help these CILTs grow into the best leaders they can be and your willingness to try anything this summer. This summer would not have been the same without the two of you.
Ellyn- Oh holy. Thank you for a fourth summer of living the Choctaw dream together, eating every meal in the Party Room together, being side-kicks on every night off and never getting sick of each other. You know that I think you're the greatest-- the person who can make any child feel like a rock star and any new counselor feel like your best friend. You do your job with self-discipline, insane initiative, pride and creativity. You challenge all of us to be more optimistic, more enthusiastic and more confident in our weirdness. Thank you for the countless number of times you went out of your way to help me, support me, encourage me. You're the greatest. At this point, I can't imagine doing this without you.
CILTy CILTs-- Oh goodness I love you kids. Thank you for signing up on June 1st at 8am a year ago or patiently waiting until you got off the wait list. I hope that it surpassed all of your expectations. Thank you for being vulnerable in the Human Barometer, sweating while we pulled weeds, open in devotions, energetic with your adopted campers and always ready to go when we screamed things like, "ROGER MURPHYYYY!" You never knew what was coming next. Working with all of you is my favorite thing of the entire year because I believe in you and your potential. I think you're some of the most brilliant people I know (even when you drive us nuts) and that you will go home and change your friends, your schools and your family. Thank you for reaching out after camp to tell me what parts of CILTs are still sticking with you and springing you into action-- I love that the impact keeps growing after our two weeks together. You're all the reason that I'm still here after so many summers. I'm so thankful for each of you.
Pathfinder girls-- Without fail, I come back to camp to be a CILT counselors and then equally love my time with all of you at the end of the summer. It really was the luckiest thing ever that we all ended up in the same unit, and some of us in the same cabin, this summer. Getting to watch you all grow up summer after summer is one of my favorite things and such a gift. I love how much you love Tecumseh and that this is where you've found your faith, some of your best friends and your best days. I have so much faith in you to take back home everything that you love about camp so that it spills over into the rest of your life. You've got this.