This is not goodbye…It's just see you later

Thank you for sharing your children with us this summer. We had the best time together and words cannot fully express the experience we all just had together. We hope that the following letter we read to your children at memory night will help explain our gratitude for how lucky we feel being able to experience summer camp with your kids.


Dear Campers of Summer 2011,

We have watched you over the past 51 days and we are so glad that we got the chance to spend this summer with you. It has been pure joy as we get to see first hand how you all have embraced this place and love it as much as we do. It’ s hard to explain to people what goes on here. How can you possibly use words to describe what happens at boys line up and why they always shout out SAFETY and DOORKNOB! And just how awesome it is to cheer for your favorite Gladiator as they battle in an intense tetherball match. Would anyone outside Chen-A-Wanda truly understand why we have to sing at the top of our lungs while standing on chairs and rocking out in the Dining Hall at every lunch. Where else does that happen? What are the words we can use to fully explain Color War and that feeling of pride that goes along with it.

We are all so lucky to get the chance to be part of this spectacular experience. We have watched you make friends that will last a lifetime. There is this comfort we know you get by being with your campies and living together makes that bond unbreakable. You are sisters and brothers to one another and that doesn’t end when we leave this place tomorrow. We all bring it home with us.

The connections you have made with your counselors will stay inside of you forever. They have given you a piece of themselves and we know that no matter how far away they live from you, they too will always be with you. That bond you made is real for them as well. They too will have hard time leaving you tomorrow. It hurts to leave to the people you love.

We have seen many of you try new things this summer and accomplish goals you set for yourselves. You have been brave, you have been confident and you are all leaving here a little more independent than when you came.

We have seen many of you beat homesickness and the feeling of great pride as you have overcome something you thought you couldn’t. You have worked through arguments with friends and got closer because you spent the time trying to understand each other better. You flew on the trapeze when at first look you were terrified. You did it because your friends and counselors believed in you and then you believed in yourself.  You celebrated together as you won and you picked each other up when you lost.

There is just something that happens here that is simply magical. It’s a place you can be exactly who you are, without judgement, and without criticism.  It’s a world like no other and that’s why we all keep coming back again and again and again.

We will miss each and every one of you and as you head home and start your school year, know that we will be busy making plans and preparing for an awesome summer 2012.

Thank you all for making this summer the best one yet.  It takes each one of you to make this place a home. You give it a heart and give it soul. From the bottom our hearts, we thank you.

Life is Great at Camp Chen-A-Wanda.


Jon & Elissa