It's so hard to believe another Agawak summer is over, a summer we've been looking forward to all year, with an exciting countdown - 200 more days, 40 more days, 12 more days - then we are here at our last campfire.
Every day, I witness your passion and spirit in everything you do from the Gonzo Relay, to Lip-Syncs, to archery, to skiing, to gymnastics, to dipping those endless wicks in candle making and I can't help but think about the crucial life lessons each of you learn at camp that hopefully continue to empower you throughout the year.
The weeks at camp pass so swiftly. You don't realize how much you have grown in all areas of their lives. While the countdown to Summer 2019 is already underway, I hope you remember a few things that you will take home with you and use throughout the coming year.
Be kind, show empathy and remember to live by the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Remember a simple act of kindness can have long-lasting effects. Be open to new friendships with people different than you and embrace those differences. Be kind to yourself. Remember God gave each of you your own unique talents and abilities that no one else has.
Persevere, be tenacious in everything you do. During the school year when you're faced with adversity, keep on forging onward. Remember that you will have some very bad days. Maybe at work, maybe at school, maybe in a relationship but don't ever forget that nothing is so bad that you can't get through it. You can get through anything if you hold on long enough and remember to reach out to your camp friends who can help you when the road gets tough. Think of that Blue and White game when you pushed your hardest, feisty and exhausted, yet you kept on keeping on. Show that Agawak GRIT!
Hold your head high and know your power. Reflect on the confidence you've gained at Agawak. You've tried new things and succeeded at new activities you never dreamed possible. Let that new flood of self-esteem you gained this summer continue to flourish and guide you all year long.
Continue to make wise choices. For weeks on end, you have lived on your own away from your parents' rules and away from their watch. You have grown in your indepenence and have learned to make decisions on your own. Take that newfound maturity and independence into your family dynamics, friend circles and into the classroom and become a role model for others. Remember each of you can be the leader that others wish to follow.
I will miss all of you deeply. I'll miss your hugs, your giggles, the smell of soap coming from the shower house. I'll miss the screen doors closing in the night air, I'll miss the dance parties in the lodge, and all the spirit each of you bring to camp. I'll miss the sound of laughter on Blue Lake and the sound of the silver bell but most of all I will miss the chance I get every day to watch you blossom here at Agawak.
Although, I know the year will pass quickly and the countdown will quickly go again from 300 days until camp begins to ten days...I do not look forward to saying goodbye tomorrow because goodbyes hurt, especially when deep down inside you don't know when you'll be able to say hello again. Keep your memories of your friends and Agawak in your heart and remember you always have a place to come home to.
I wish you happiness, love and courage and may the trails that we follow, though they be of different paths, lead us all back to Agawak one day.
Giant Camp Hugs,