The end of the summer is always bittersweet. We are looking forward to the "newness" of the school year, and the potential that is ahead. However, we are desperate to keep these kiddos we only see for such a short time with us and close.
For some of our Elder Campers this is the first time they will be leaving Woodland and we ache for them and any potential struggle they may encounter. We know in our hearts that we have done all that we can to prepare them for this next chapter, and we also know in our minds that they are ready for this. However, it is still so hard to see them go.
For others, they will have aged out of camp and their time at Woodland has come to a close. This is not any easier. We have seen these kids grow from round-faced toddlers to tall, smart, caring, and compassionate individuals. These kids are ready for their next chapter, ready to leave Woodland and explore. Yet we still wish that we could hold them just a little bit longer. They no longer can hug us around our waist, no longer sit in our laps. They give high fives, hugs around the neck, and a sarcastic comment that is meant to mean "I love you too".
In the same way we prepare to launch our Kinders, we are preparing to launch these Elders. We have given them all that we can, and we know that they are exceptional. We just hope with all our hearts that THEY know that they are exceptional. We hope that they can see the amazing strength that they posses, and the gifts that they each carry. We hope that they remember all the goodness that they can bring to the world, and that they remember to share this goodness with others.
Summer camp is about magic and making memories. I have no doubt that we did that. I am sure that this summer was memorable for our campers and that they have loved (most) of the experiences we've shared. As these kids develop their long-term memory we wonder what moments they will carry into adulthood with them, what will stay and be a part of who they are well into the future.
We don't know the answer, but we can promise you this. Your children have made memories with us and created magic moments that have shaped who WE are, shaped who we will be well into OUR futures. Whether we will see your child at drop-off and pick-up of a younger sibling, or only on a rare occasional drop in visit they will continue to be a part of Woodland and a part of all of us, regardless of where our futures take us. Thank you, from the bottom or our hearts, for sharing your children with us and allowing us to experience the magic of Summer Camp with them.
Ambra, Andi, JJ, and Kate