Day 6: Goodbye For Now, Camp
Last night, we completed our final sharing circle. As with previous nights, athletes connected around similar experiences. Some laughed at life and most everyone cried when someone's history struck a little too close to home. But today was different. Today was about closing the connections, wrapping up the good times, and vowing to stay close despite the distance.
In a somewhat fitting way, the last day of camp included plenty of distractions. The barracks needed to be cleaned and emptied. Every pillowcase that went in was double counted on its way out. The mess hall received similar treatment when our lead athletes ensured it was cleaner than we found it. From there, we hit the lake for one last round of fun and one final roll call. In unison, the crew sounded the two numbers of already departed athletes, signaling an end to the team as we knew it. We all knew this day was coming, but wished it somehow would not.
Coach Lee, our leader above all leaders, followed camp tradition in wrapping each wrist with a reminder of camp. Once the strings were cut, we were only connected by the memories created at camp (and thankfully the wonders of social media, e-mail, and texts). With friends and family waiting at home, each athlete was headed into an impossible question: How was camp?
How will you convey the importance of friendships that were only several days old? Who would understand the strength and bravery it took to stare down your fears and become something more? What do you mean by leadership anyway, and how could you have possibly improved it in six days?
Well, camp is camp. Most won't understand. Just wait a year for that knowing look from one of your teammates when they welcome you back to camp. They're the only ones who really get it anyway.
Until then, stay strong, trust your strength, move past negativity, and create your life on your terms. This world desperately needs your brand of leadership, so don't hold back.
On behalf of each and every coach, we believe in you and thank you for giving so much of yourselves during the shared experience we call camp.