It’s so hard to believe that it’s that time to say goodbye. The last 50 days have been amazing and we cannot thank you enough for sharing your kids with us. We have watched them grow over these last seven weeks. We have watched them accomplish things they thought they couldn’t. We have seen them make lifelong friends and watched how they have made Chen-A-Wanda their summer home. As you sifted through the thousands of pictures and watched endless hours of video from this summer, we hope you got a sense of what amazing things your children did this summer. It has been our privilege and honor to care for your kids this summer.  Thank you again for trusting us with your children and believing in the magic of Chen-A-Wanda. We read the following letter we wrote to your children tonight just before memory night.

Enjoy your children tomorrow and know that we will miss them dearly.

Jon & Elissa

To our summer family,

50 days ago we stood right here and told you what an awesome experience we all had ahead of us and he we stand here again just 50 days later and look where we’ve all been this summer. This has been an incredible summer because we went through it together. You all make our house a home and we couldn’t be more proud and inspired by our summer family.

To our staff – our amazing inspirational selfless and talented staff: We are so proud of how much of yourselves you gave to our kids. You gave and gave and gave and when your tanks were on empty, you gave even more. You didn’t just give countless piggyback rides, 100’s of hugs, 1’000’s of pieces of advice but you gave your heart to the kids sitting in this room. You inspired our kids to be the best they can be. You provided an opportunity that let our kids feel great about exactly who they are and for that we are forever grateful. We sit is awe of you and the gifts you shared with our kids this summer.

To our campers -From our youngest and cutest freshman to our amazingly talented, kind and incredible CIT’s and everyone in between, we have watched you blossom this summer. In 50 days, you got through homesickness beautifully. You made friends and learned more about what kind friend you want to be. Your friendships thrived this summer as texting your friends was so beautifully replaced by holding their hands and talking face to face. Instead of commenting ILYSM on Instagram posts, you walked arm in arm with your friends, all around camp everyday all day. Rather than watching a screen for hours and hours and letting life pass you by, you sang on the top of your lungs and danced together in the Lodge. You finally hit that wiffle ball over the Big Red Monster this summer. You made that shot with just 3 seconds left in your game and as your team was chanting your name, you felt like a superstar this summer. You mastered crazy tricks on the sundia these past 50 days.  You felt the joys and elation of winning together and when you lost, you all felt the feeling of defeat together and in those moments you lifted each other up. You felt empathy for mistakes you made and you learned from them. You faced your fears and climbed every giant mountain that was in your way. You let go and allowed yourselves to be in the moment here. You found your voice here. You believed in yourself here because we all believed in you.

As you head home and reflect on your summer at Camp Chen-A-Wanda, our hope for you is that each one of you head home with a sense that you accomplished something pretty incredible here. Each one of you is perfect just the way you are and no matter how big the mountain in front you may be, you can and will get through it. We hope that you continue to nurture the friendships you made here because if you do, they will stand the test of time. We hope you never forget that life will be so much sweeter if you live your life as the river because living like that rock just gets you stuck. We thank every single person sitting in the room from making Life so great at Camp Chen-A-Wanda. You have made us smile and laugh every single day and you have changed our lives for the better! Be safe, have a great school year and we will see you all again in 10 months back here at our summer home.