Yes! It was a perfect weather day. Just how it’s supposed to be, in the spectacular state of Maine. Warm but not steamy; sunny with occasional clouds.
The older guys had League Football, Softball and Soccer. That’s a double period of playing the game. No instruction, just competitive play.
While some were down at Trickey Pond enjoying the crisp, clear waters, others were at tennis, hockey, hoops and golf. Some climbed Pleasant Mountain, while others went Ice Skating. We were always on the move, loud as yesterday, until at Evening Activity…. we stopped.
Spirit Night is when we quiet down and push our imaginary pause button. Bunk 13 led from on stage, as the rest of camp sat comfortably on the front lawn. It’s a simple program, that always begins with the song “We Meet Again in Gladness”. Tonight’s opening poem was “Go Forth to Life” by Samuel Longfellow. Then came the candle lighting and responsive reading. It went like this:
- We light this candle in fellowship with our friends.
- We light this candle with love for our families.
- We light this candle in gratitude for all those who have helped us
- We light this candle in the hope of peace, kindness and compassion
- We light this candle to reach out to those in need
- We light this candle for those who are not here now
- We light this candle to see within & brighten our days ahead.
Gratitude and togetherness are what Spirit Night’s all about. Just after the Prayer for our Country and the selected patriotic song, Shep reads a story with a message that connects to the theme of the night. Tonight’s theme was “friendship”, and the story was about Robin Hood and Little John.
We read a simple prayer of thanks and send positive thoughts to loved ones as we sing “May the Words”.
Next comes the counselor “sermonette”, which tonight was given by Max W. His commentary on friendship was fascinating, and here were some points to remember.
- There’s no such thing as a person who doesn’t want to make friends
- Friends cannot be bought, found or made alone
- Being a friend is saying “you’re good enough just as you are”
- Friends add value to your life by sharing a new perspective
- No good thing is pleasant to possess without a friend to share it
- Friendship shows us the beauty of living for others and not just for ourselves.
Sounds deep, right? Too long for kids to sit still? Throughout Shep’s story and Max’s sermon they sat, fully focused. Almost transfixed, as if they were getting it.
There’s the Apache Blessing (“May the sun bring you new energy by day; may the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries: may you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life”) and then…
It’s time to get back to being a kid. Ice Cream is served and we’re ready for camp songs! Our “on button” has been reset! It’s phenomenal to hear them sing the songs that have represented Skylemar for over 70 years.
As Spirit Night came to a close, several from Bunk 6 asked for a copy of the Skylemar song book so they could “practice”. Now it happens to be that Bunk 6 is made up of guys who were new to Skylemar this year, but it’s as if they’ve been here forever. When they were back at the cabin, Adam brought them a copy of the book and said, "it was like I gave them the new best-seller”. On their own accord, the nine-year-olds ran a before-Taps “rehearsal session”.
It's amazing what kids can do when given the opportunity. Many times, that's all it takes.
Heard this today…
During the 20 free minutes before mealtime, Dylan M (age 14) was playing tennis. A boy in Bunk 5 was watching and Dylan asked if he wanted to join in. The counselor quietly commented to Dylan that it was nice how he invited the little guy to play. Dylan said, “It's never fun to not be included."
Only at Skylemar.