As hard as it is to believe, the summer is about to come to an end. After nearly a week of fun and competition, Color War culminated in Sing, the Final Fight, and a victory for the Green Team. Our Bunk One campers are excited to look up at their Sing backdrops hanging on the dining hall walls and know that they’ve made their mark on camp for generations to come, and all our campers and counselors are now focused on getting ready to wrap up another season at LBMC.
The last few days of camp are structured somewhat differently than the rest of the summer. While activities continue, campers and counselors also work together to get ready to go home. Art projects are safely packaged for travel, cabins are cleaned, and the duffels and trunks come out so a summer’s worth of clothing can be packed up to be shipped home.
Although there’s a lot to get done, the last days of camp tend to feel a bit laid-back as campers make the most of the time they have left together. It can also be an emotional time, especially for our older campers, as everyone starts to face the prospect of going back to “real life” and spending ten months away from their “summer sisters.”
Because the end of camp can be hard, the traditions that mark the end of the summer are very important to campers and staff, particularly those girls who are finishing their Bunk One summer. On the last night of camp, everyone dresses in white for Banquet, a very special last dinner together. Bunk One campers give speeches about the lessons they’ve learned during their summers at camp, and we take the opportunity to thank the people who have helped make the summer a success, including our hardworking kitchen staff.
After Banquet, everyone in camp goes down to the lake for the final campfire of the summer. We sing the Alma Mater a final time as the camp initials and the year light up on the lake, and before saying goodnight, each camper and staff member makes a wish on a candle and floats it out onto the surface of the lake. Although it’s a tearful event, it’s wonderful to know that we all shared a happy summer together, and it’s always especially nice to see how the new campers have forged such close bonds with bunkmates who were perfect strangers just two months ago.
After the somber last night of camp, the morning of departure can feel hectic, although in reality it’s a very organized exercise. Campers and counselors are briefed on their bus assignments and departure times the day before, so even though it’s hard to get on the bus and say goodbye, the process of leaving camp is managed fairly smoothly. It’s an emotional time for everyone — even the directors — especially because campers are often facing conflicting feelings. They’re terribly sad to be leaving camp, but they’re also excited to get home and see their families, pets and friends. It’s a lot to process all at once!