Sunday 12 August 2012

Saying Goodbye

One of the hardest times in the summer is when it is time to start packing bags and get ready to go home. We all know it is coming, but we dread it just the same. The duffels arrive in the cabins and the kids start putting away everything that has filled the cabin for the last two months.
The staff prepares a closing show for the kids and we sing two songs. One is happier, and about all the fun we had at camp. Then awards are presented, including camper and counsellor of the year. After this the staff get together to perform their final song for the summer. We create a horseshoe around all of the campers and perform the candle lighting ceremony. All staff members, including the assistant director and the director participate and there is hardly ever a dry eye in the building by the end of it.
On the last night we have a final campfire where we sing our songs one last time, we have our last campfire girl speeches and Mary says her farewell speech. It is a sad night sitting on the shore of Blue Lake for the last time, sharing those last few hours together. Once campfire is over we all move to the waterfront to send our wish boats out into the lake with our wishes for the year. The water glows with hundreds of candles as they float on the ripples, taking our dreams out into Blue Lake to hold until we come back to Agawak.
With the kids all packed, the cabin feels empty and our final cabin party has a sense of farewell. We know we will all see each other again soon enough but we aren’t quite ready to leave camp. It is definitely a late night, with everyone desperate to hold on to the last day of summer.
The next morning is one of tears, farewells and rushing. The buses are ready to leave, the bags are packed and loaded and the kids have their lunches. Final hugs, an abundance of tears and then it is just the few counsellors staying for post camp left behind, waving.
This summer has been an amazing one. There have been challenges, most definitely, and I have learned so many new things. I have made amazing friends and I have cherished every moment I have spent at Agawak, knowing that they may be my last ones. I have been honoured many times over with every amazing thing that happens and have been grateful to share them with the people here.
Agawak is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It has changed my life, helped me grow and has made me a better person. I don’t know what my life would be if I hadn’t come here, and I’m glad I never have to know. I would happily spend every day of the year in this beautiful place if I could.
Summer camp is an opportunity, and it is the greatest fun in the world. But it is definitely one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have. I have watched some amazing counsellors this year and have been privileged to watch them grow. But I have also seen the ones who came here not really knowing what was going to be involved. They have left camp much stronger people and I know that they cherish the memories they have made, but I also know that they struggled. Knowing that you are coming to a 24/7 job, working with kids, in an amazing place with amazing people is the best thing anyone can do when signing up for camp.
I highly recommend the program to anyone who has a passion for working with kids, wants to share their skills and who isn’t afraid of hard work. Get ready for the most amazing summer of your life!!!

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