It’s Not Goodbye, It’s Just See You Later

To you, our Parents at home that have gone through 1000’s of pictures, watched all of our videos, read our blogs and let their children spread their wings with us – we say thank you for trusting and believing in us with your beautiful children. It has been our total and complete privilege to spend our summers with your kids. We read this letter tonight to them at our last evening in Shields Hall. We give them back to you a little taller, a lot more confident, with ton more friends and a summer family that loves them dearly. Thank you again for trusting us and sharing your amazing kids with us all summer long. We will never forget summer 2017.

To Our Chen-A-Wanda Family:

Fifty days ago, we stood in this very spot welcoming you to Summer 2017 and it’s crazy to think about all that we have done together and gone through and here we stand again tonight saying goodbye to one another. Every summer we are amazed at how we all fall in love with this place a little bit more. There is a feeling at this Chenny that just cannot be denied and there isn’t a person in this Hall that wasn’t affected by the magic of this place. Chen-A-Wanda changes you and connects you to others in a way that you just can’t describe but you are sure glad it happened.

We have seen you all grow tremendously in these past 7 weeks. It has been joyful watching you make new friends and opening your heart to new people entering your life. You may have chosen Chen-A-Wanda because of our lake or the Cookhouse or Circus but you come back for the people and how they make you feel. We have seen you work through conflicts and become closer to one another with a true understanding of what the word friendship truly means. We cannot express the feeling we get as we watch all of you take care of one another. When one of you is sad, you have a group of people who will instantly come to their rescue and wrap their arms around you until you feel safe and better. That doesn’t exist in the real world but it does here at Chen-A-Wanda. We are not Insta Friends here.. We are REAL friends. Direct message here means I am talking to you in person and not watching those three dots blinking as I am waiting for a text back – It means, I get to hear your voice and see how much you care about me. Snap Chat just doesn’t matter when we can make Our Real Stories together. We are holding hands and not holding our phones here. This is REAL.. Not what we edit and add filters to. In 7 weeks, each one of you committed to being real and from the looks of things, it worked out pretty well. Take what happened here this summer back home with you and continue talking to each other it is so much better than texting.

To our incredible kind enthusiastic patient and giving staff: You have given so much of yourself this summer. You have pushed yourself to a limit and when you thought you had nothing else left to give, you dug deeper and gave more. Our kids had the most incredible summer not because of our climbing tower or trapeze but because of you and your heart and how much you gave to every single camper in this hall. There wasn’t a day we didn’t see you with a camper on your back or in your lap. Like we said when you arrived, just wait and see how much these kids will mean to you when you leave. It’s hard to describe but we know your campers crept not only into your laps but into your hearts.

To our campers:
You rolled through out gates and literally breathed life into our summer home. Without you, we are just a camp with beautiful buildings, cool courts and fun fields but YOU are the heart and soul to what gives this place the feeling it has here. We have watched you accomplish so much this summer. We have watched you make new friends that are now family. We have witnessed you becoming the best version of yourselves here. You climbed to the top of tower when you were convinced you were afraid of heights. You never thought you would dance and sing in front of the entire camp but that’s what we do here and it felt great. We watched you connect to one another and that connection makes these friendships unlike any other friendships we have. They are stronger, deeper and way more meaningful because you have shared your heart with others in a way that can only happen at camp.

To our CITS:
Well this is it. Your journey as a camper has come to an end and the road ahead is filled with great adventures and a new story you will soon create. You definitely left your mark here at Chenny and you passed on your love for the camp you stayed so loyal to all these years and to the campers you cared for all summer long. We adore each and every one of you and feel a deep privledge to have watched you grow summer after summer after summer. Stay close and connected and always know that Chen-A-Wanda will be your forever summer home. 
Hey GC’s – You’re on deck and we can’t wait to see YOU on The Hill!

So we all came here one way and we are all most definitely leaving here another – we leave with more friends, more connections, more confidence, more experiences all to make us better people. Camp has that effect on each one of us and when we look out at all of your beautiful faces we see a summer family that we are so very proud to be a part of. We leave here inspired by your incredible spirit, moved by your kindness and feeling so grateful because Life is GREAT at Camp Chen-A-Wanda.