At camp we always try to find beauty in everything. It’s easy to do when you’re surrounded by profound moments, blossoming friendships, and supportive counselors, all with the backdrop of our gorgeous lake and towering pines. Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes, Camp Pembroke is more than just a place, it’s an emotion, an experience that lingers long after the summer ends. From the first day of camp, our kids embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth, forming lifelong friendships and learning invaluable life skills. Always with some bumps in the road, the finished product is consistently one of reflection, growth and beauty. Hot days are followed by “after hours” pool parties. A busy morning is met with a quiet rest hour. Bunk dance parties are balanced with book club. A big plate of mac ‘n cheese accompanied by a trip to the salad bar. A noisy waterski class and a peaceful yoga session. Camp is all about the balance and finding the little moments amongst the chaos and the “storm”.
While we had to say goodbye to our First Session friends, we also got to welcome our Second Session campers on Monday. We hugged parents before they drove away, but we were immediately met with the embrace of our favorite counselor. On Wednesday we hosted 150 campers and staff from 5 other camps, and although it was a hot and sweaty and long day, participating in Water Carnival and Swim Meet gave us an opportunity to display our skill and sportsmanship and connect with other campers.
From Wednesday to Thursday we observed the holiday of Tish B’av, and our Y’Rush campers displayed incredible leadership, kindness, and respect and shed light on a holiday that traditionally represents darkness. The group has been planning a meaningful service that they led our community in filled with song and spirit to help us commemorate so much of the history of Jewish people. We were incredibly moved by the strength and leadership we saw and grateful to them for thoughtfully breathing life into a camp tradition.
Last night the angst and excitement around finding and meeting your big or little sister was quickly converted into comfort as your scavenger hunt turned into a hug. Watching our older campers so seamlessly scoop up their little ones always, always blows us away. With an incoming storm fast approaching, we asked all of our big sisters to bring their littles back to their bunks and weather the storm together and this time, something sounded different.
The typical screams and yells that echo in the Horseshoe following a lightening strike or clap of thunder were replaced by laughter, loud music and cheering. Big Sisters make everything right. And just as the dark clouds pulled away and the evening grew closer, a bit of pink began to show in the sky. Without conversation or communication, staff from across camp joined campers of all ages in an unspoken gathering at the lake. The sky was painted pinks and purples and oranges and was truly breathtaking. The air felt lighter, filled with lots of love and an indescribable calm that led to many hugs and long embraces. Together we enjoyed and laughed and even stood quietly just taking it all in. A busy, intense and exciting few days that led to this perfect moment. A core memory of 2023 that symbolized so much about our summers together at camp. We can always weather the storm together, the darkness will pass and you can always count on your camp friends to be waiting for you at the beach to welcome the sunset as a camp family.
And, in true Camp Pembroke spirit, we followed that calm, peaceful moment at the lake with an outrageous Taylor Swift dance party at the Head Counselor Cabin.