As the new year begins, I like to take a moment and honor all the memories I gathered last year. I always remember the counselors, staff, and volunteers, but I also remember the faces of the campers. There are the younger kids, the teenagers, and then the families. All with different faces and expressions. Some are smiling with confidence, others brimming with excitement of a new experience and a little anxiety of the unknown. I see parents with the same expressions and concerns. It all changes after everyone gets to their deck, meets their deck families, and then settles in to wait for dinner.
Before camp starts there is a lot of preparation to get everything up and running. Only James, Spencer, and I see this part of camp. There are so many decisions and repairs to be made after the winter snow storms settle. But the work gets done, thanks to devoted people like James, Spencer, and all the volunteers that come up to help clean camp.
Over the years, I have watched everyone become more devoted to DYF and to Bearskin itself. I see all the times we are stretched to the energy limit and the physical limit of taking care of the sweet campers to make sure they are safe and happy at camp.
2019 year was a very good year for me; I was able to interact with everyone more than I have in past years. Fairyland (my favorite part of camp) is growing with the help of James and Spencer building things for me just because I “get a bee in my bonnet” and want to change a rock, paint a sign, or add a window to Fairyland Post Office. I am known as Miss Paulette or “Fairy God Mother”. It was so nice to drive Miss Daisy (my golf cart) through camp and hear sweet voices call out my name to say good morning.
You hear people talk about the magic of Bearskin and I can tell you that it is real. All you need to do is hear the laughter from everyone at camp. Walk the grounds, or sit on a bench to watch the campers play, learn, and connect with others just like them. Watch campers learn that they are not limited; they are capable of conquering anything. Walk down a trail, smell the forest, and listen to the silence that is somehow filled with magical whispers. At camp, those mighty Sequoia Giants wrap their limbs around you to comfort, watch, and protect you. The forest always seems to know when we need an extra hug or a place to shed a tear.
For 2020 I’d like you to carry the Bearskin Magic with you. But don’t forget to bring it back next year to share with everyone who has yet to experience it!