This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to write because I literally can’t see through the tears. And I very rarely cry. This summer has been one of the most phenomenal experiences I’ve ever had. The kids I’ve had the opportunity to love on have definitely contributed to the great memories that have come from my time at Camp Gilmont (and, at times, the horrifying moments that turn into the best stories), but by far, the biggest blessing that I’ve had this summer has been the staff I’ve had the privilege to serve with. They have made me laugh and, particularly today, made me cry like a seven-year-old girl who is missing home on her first Sunday night at camp. They have taught me much about life, about loving unconditionally, about listening, and about leading. They have taken a place that I already loved, and made me love it so much more. So, to Gilmont’s Summer Camp Staff of 2016, thank you.
To James: You are the reason I came to Gilmont in the first place, and the reason I’ve stuck around so much. Thanks for supporting me, making me laugh, poking me in the face, and yelling “Good morning!!!” at me. Your leadership and vision for Gilmont make it the success that it is, and your friendship has helped shape me into the person I am. Thank you so much investing in me and in this place that I treasure so much.
To Aubob: First of all, thanks for hiring me. And also thanks for being our Camp Director. And for putting up with us singing “Aubobob, Auboborain” every time you walked through the door.
To Liz: Thanks for all your silly quirkiness, but also for being the logical voice of reason and making camp run so well logistically. And for reading to my kids when I really didn’t want to.
To Mary: Thanks for being there for us whenever we needed you, even if that meant mopping up vomit with me at 1:00 in the morning, and for putting up with all our Adventure Camp shenanigans. You’re also a pretty great wasp killer. I really appreciate all the support you gave the staff and the effort you spent getting to know us.
To Mike: Thanks for talking to me, and letting me share with you. I really enjoyed our mutual bond of being jerks to each other. You can also take some okay pictures.
To Maggie: I know I didn’t get to be around you much, but thanks for your enthusiastic spirit and kind heart. You’re the best silly song singer I know.
To Tim: Thanks for always being positive. I know that “no negativity” is kind of your catchphrase, but you really take that to heart, and your optimism never failed to make me feel better about whatever was going on.
To Bekah: I need windshield wipers for my eyes. Even though our schools may hate each other, I love you. Thanks for having all the girl talks with me, for teaching me much more than I wanted to know about textiles, and for adding a good dose of sarcasm and sass to my life. You’re the coolest. I will even plan on venturing into the desolate wasteland known as Austin for you.
To Phyllis: Phyllis!!! Thanks for being such a kind and gentle spirit (unless there is a tickle or dunking war, in which case, you are a savage beast of whom I should be very, very wary). Your level head and calm manner of dealing with all the craziness that the rest of us have difficulty handling made all our lives much easier.
To Jake: Thanks for entertaining me by trying to make me uncomfortable (though you did fail in that endeavor). But on a serious note, thanks for bringing a fun, competitive spirit to our staff, for spiking on me in nine square, for picking my nose, and for ruining forever the song “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”. You’re going to do great things in life.
To Katelyn: I know it wasn’t your choice, but thanks for being in my cabin for three out of the four residential weeks. I really enjoyed getting to know you even more than I already did from CoF. You were always willing to be the bad cop, the shower timer, and the hair-braider when I just couldn’t. I really appreciate all you did for our cabin and to help me out.
To Matt: Oh Matthias. I don’t even know where to start. Thanks for running Adventure Camp when Kirby and I had no idea what to do. Thanks for telling great stories using poor grammar (which rubbed off on me for about a week). Thanks for calling me Adventure Mop and for switching word usages in sentences and for making me laugh with your facial expressions. You’re one of those people that I simply enjoy being around, which says a lot. Please don’t be a stranger.
To Kirby: You and Bekah were the first friends I had on staff, and two of the best. Thanks for crying with me around the fire at Adventure Camp, for not getting terribly frustrated at my lack of caring about anything, for having a fantastically varied and eclectic taste in music. Thanks for making awful puns and somehow being only three inches off the ground for the “Ooga-chakas” in our Hooked on a Feeling energizer. But most of all, thanks for opening up to me. I love you, the person who will just talk to me about anything and everything that comes to mind. Don’t ever change, and don’t ever apologize for who you are.
To Bailey: Thanks for being the level-headed voice of reason, for being calm and patient, for putting up with my terrible navigation on the way to get fingerprinted, and for having one of the most wonderfully dry senses of humor I’ve ever had the privilege of being around. Also, thank you for sharing your wonderful poetry with all of us. It takes a lot of courage to do that. Please don’t ever stop writing, and please don’t ever stop sharing your words.
To Avery: Thanks for talking about theology with me through the late hours of the night, and for keeping me sane. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. Your patience and wisdom continually astound me and brought so much solidity to our staff.
To Jack: Thanks for always breaking my trance when I zone out, for throwing tennis balls with me during staff training, for being a good sport about me calling you Jack, for listening to me and not judging. You’re a tall, lanky vampire, but we love you.
To Ryan: Thanks for always making me laugh, for dealing with the stress of coordinating music, and for always saying what needed to be said. Your humor and frankness never failed to crack me up.
To Haley: Thanks for being the greatest at energizers, for ganging up to make Jack uncomfortable in conversation at PCHAS, and for always making me laugh.
To Alex: Thanks for always being there for me! I’ve loved getting to know you over the summer and listening to your commentary on everything that’s going on.
To Zach: Thanks for being the single nicest person I’ve ever met, for always asking me how I’m doing, for giving me the best hugs and for always being joyful. And also for bringing Lilly to see me today.
To Choice: I had to save you for last because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to write any more afterward because I’d be crying too much. Thanks for everything. For listening to my life story, for talking me through my issues, for giving me a hug when I got stressed, for going to Walmart with me, for buying milk, for paying for Chipotle because the workers randomly put me on your ticket, for singing High School Musical, for never following rule number one, for longboarding even though you didn’t want to and for jamming out with me in the Crain. But mostly, thanks for just being my friend, and being there when I needed you.
You guys are all the greatest, and I love and miss you all dearly.
“Missing someone is your heart’s way of reminding you that you love them.” – Allie the Camper