Lasts that Last

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Dear Pembroke families,

Seven weeks. We’ve blinked and they’ve passed, without warning, without a chance to hit the pause button and now suddenly we’re here, experiencing what we can only describe as the week of “lasts”. Each Friday afternoon, I grab my coffee, my computer and find a quiet place to sit, reflect and look back on the previous week as I prepare to put words, as best I can, to the feeling of connection that I’m so lucky to experience every day. So much of what we do at camp is rich with routine, it’s what provides us all with the consistency and predictability that makes camp a comfortable place, a place that gives us all the space and permission to take risks and grow within that structure.

This last week has been filled with moments from the thing that’s on many of our minds when we get to camp: Color War. It’s that definitive experience that every camper counts down until they are in Y’Rush and have the chance to lead it. From the minute the sirens made their way down the main road, to captains being named, Kayla finding the heart amidst flying sand and lots of screams, to the Time Hunt, Amazing Race, group games and track meet, the three days were jam packed with incomparable moments of poise and leadership, and while we know that this is just the beginning of our Y’Rush campers taking on leadership roles, it was the last time they’ll be leading camp all together as an age group. Color War was nothing short of incredible. Campers supporting one another as they memorized the teams original cheer, counselors donning pirate costumes, Gold running their hearts out to win the Apache and Blue screaming in support as Chloe crossed the finish line. So many of the memories from the last week will forever be ingrained in our minds.

Pembroke campers on blue and yellow walk together under a bridge of arms

That emotion of a penultimate moment like Color War Sing on the final night permeated every cheer, alma mater, dance and presentation made. I can vividly remember my own Y’Rush summer and walking toward the gym that last night. Hair tightly French braided, puffy paint still tacky on my gold Color War shirt, and my sweaty palms interlocked with my best friends.

It’s so hard to describe the feeling in your pit of your stomach, this mixture of pride, excitement and fear of the night ending, of this incredible camp tradition coming to completion for your own experience. And here we are almost 20 years since my own Color War Sing and the air at Camp Pembroke is still thick with tradition, weaved into every movement and activity. This last week has been emotional, filled with victories, losses, tears and smiles so big you can feel the joy, and even with the three best days of the summer now in the rearview mirror, we still have four more, and with everything in our being, we want them to last.

We just finished our last Friday Staff Meeting, we’ve enjoyed our last Thursday night dress up and BBQ and tomorrow we’ll fill up on coffee cake for one…last…time. We’ll do cartwheels in the Horseshoe, place gum on Gum Rock, walk the road, visit our beloved nurses, raise the flag, lower the flag, sort through your laundry, get ice at the HC, jump in the lake, swim in the pool, and on and on and on.

Pembrtoke campers cheer wearing yellow shirts

Tonight, we’ll gather in the Pine Grove, a sea of blue and white, we’ll link arms and we’ll sway together, for one last time. Tomorrow we’ll have our last Song session, our last long Birkat and on Monday our last evening activity before Banquet. Soon we’ll hear the last slamming screen door, we’ll hang our towels on the lines for the last time and we’ll take our last photo by the lake and watch the sunset for one…last…time. We cherish every day here, so each moment in these next few days feels a little bit different as we hold on tight and stash away our memories to carry us through the year. All we can hope is that this last week of moments and milestones last a lifetime.

Pembroke hands hold a thin band of paper

It’s our last Shabbat together as a 2022 family and your last Friday night without your missing piece. And then you’ll get that first hug, in what we know feels like forever, you’ll hear that first camp story and learn all about their first camp friend and the first time they tried that new food and on and on and on.

Two Pembroke campers with arms around each other

Whether it was your camper’s first summer or whether it’s their last, they have left their mark here on this place, and they’ll forever be a part of our own camp story…and for that we are forever grateful.

Shabbat Shalom,

Becca + Amy

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