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Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 00:37:30 +0000 
From: Bob Johnson <[email protected]
Subject: Camp Lives! 

Brothers and Sisters,

As I bask in the afterglow of a grand reunion weekend, I have  a few ruminations I'd like to share while they're fresh. First, many thanks to all those involved in organizing the reunion; you did a fantastic job.

I recall the anguish I felt some twenty years ago when I heard that UCC had decided to close down camps Camelot and Carlisle. Some fought hard to find a way to keep the camps operating, and I know the grief they suffered when ultimately they could not prevail was profound.  Some grieve still.  I would offer them solace, though, because while the buildings are gone and Mother Earth is reclaiming the land and healing the scars left by the bulldozers, the camps are not dead. 

That which was the essence, the spirit, lives on. Camp lives! I saw it this weekend at every turn: I saw in the eyes and smiles and the hugs as friendships forged over a quarter century ago (and more) were renewed as though only a winter had passed. I saw it as I looked upon all the beautiful children playing as I heard one parent after another tell of how they share their love of the outdoors with this new generation by taking them camping, canoeing, sending them to scout and other camps and so on.  I saw that spirit as I heard folks talk about how camp touched their lives, how in so many ways, our camp experiences have shaped us, in large part making us the people we are today.  One person told me "I was a bad kid, but when I was at camp I was good." I am reminded of this line from a Walt Whitman poem...

    "Now I see the secret of the making of the best
     persons. It is to grow in the open air, and to
     eat and sleep with the earth."

So while we have again parted, remember that the spirit of camp lives on
within each and every one of us, and so long as we nurture it and pass it on,
it can never die.
Bob Johnson (zonk)