A Return to Camp and Belonging

Nametags for the 50+ Campers Returning to Camp

Back in July 1972 my parents sent me to Maine to a sleep-away girls camp called Medokawanda. I had no way to know how much I would grow to love this camp and the people associated with it over the next four summers. It doesn’t hurt that I happened to meet my future husband there. (Bonus!)

Zoom forward 45 years to this summer, 2017. My husband and I returned to camp a few weeks ago for Reunion weekend. None of my cabin mates attended but I loved being there. I loved meeting new friends and getting to know other campers that I didn’t know well. It was wonderful.

Walking up the hill at Senior Camp (now the Retreat Center)

The camp is now owned by my first year counselor and her husband, and it is thriving. Medokawanda is now a family camp – take your family there. I guarantee you’ll never regret it! Check it out … Medomak Family Camp welcomes twelve (and only twelve) families for each session.

Medomak “Junior” boys camp is now a camp for inner-city youth. The “Senior” boys camp is now the Retreat Center hosting several retreats during the summer including a conductors retreat, a yoga retreat and a fiber retreat. That is where we held the reunion.

Lovely, simple cabins have been constructed all around the camp and they’re simple but comfortable. When I was at camp we had indoor toilets but showered only once a week (on Sunday). Now there is “complete” indoor plumbing in the cabins. Sheets, blankets and towels are provided.

Half of our cabin … two beds, rockers, dressers, full bath. Totally comfortable.

The food in the old dining hall is still amazing! Look what we were served on Sunday morning with our eggs and fruit, etc! (Family camp has its own dining hall with equally wonderful food! Much of the herbs are grown on site and there are cows on the hill who provide wonderful fresh milk and from which cheese is made … yummy cheese!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – fresh out of the oven!

On Saturday afternoon, we all met at the cove for the traditional “Loon-athon event. It was a chance to revisit the beautiful lake that we swam in a water-skied on. A time for fellowship on the water. And an excellent photo op!

Loon-athon
Group Photo

My favorite traditions were always campfire on Saturday night and chapel Sunday morning. After reunion, they still are my favorite. Campfire was wonderful. Songs, the requisite laugh-out-loud skit and, of course, the campfire.

Synchronized Swimming … the ski
Lighting the Campfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the path to chapel

Chapel was moving and more spiritual that any “real” church that I have ever walked into. The tradition of camp is strong and lives on. The whispering pine tress still remind me of the wonder of nature’s creation. It reminds me that we are here for a short while and must act as caretakers of our world so that generations after us can enjoy the same blessings and beauty. I left chapel feeling grounded and refreshed.

Sitting on the porch with my knitting after chapel was lovely.

I leave this post with a picture of the place we used to have campfire. Under the Old Oak.

A few years ago we went to visit camp and found that the Old Oak was gone. I cried. So many summer evenings were spent there and I felt like I belonged and was accepted for myself. Today, there are new sprouts growing up out of the trunk of the Old Oak. A rebirth for the Old Oak, Medomak and Medokawanda, and for me and my camp friends. It may be 45 years after my first year at camp, but I feel like I am building a new life with a new husband and a new home … Post child-rearing, having mourned my first marriage and the death of my mother. I am happier today than I have been in years and for that I am grateful. The return to camp helped me to see that the past there was so special and that I can take those days and that feeling of being so blessed … it’s all a conscious effort to be happy. Today.

“If there were witchcraft I’d make two wishes, a winding road that beacons me to roam … and then I’d wish for a blazing campfire to welcome me when I’m returning home. Memories that linger …  Medokawanda of you.”

Gone knitting.

 

 

 

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