Until We Meet Again

To All Our Chenny Parents:

Crazy that this day has come but sadly it has. To try and explain how incredible it has been to live with your kids for these past 49 days is beyond difficult. They have enriched our lives and given us so much joy, words can’t quite adequately explain how much this experience means to us. We build this community each summer, actually it’s a family who respects and adores one another. Your children make our hearts grow bigger and allow us to see the goodness in this world. It’s as if for 49 days out the year, we fill up on love and kindness, conversation and connections, friends from all around the globe and experiences that brings out the best in every single one of us.. You have given them such a gift by sending them to Camp Chen-A-Wanda and we thank you for believing in us. It takes a huge village to create what we have up here and we are so grateful to have your kids be a part of this incredible unique life changing experience.

So we send you back your kids tomorrow, a lot wiser, more independent and capable, full of incredible memories they made with true friends right by their side. It was an incredible summer and we just can’t thank you enough for your trust and support as we created a world that your kids thrived in. We read the following letter to them tonight, at their last night here at their summer home. It was emotional and it was the most perfect ending to the most perfect summer. Enjoy those babies of yours tomorrow. We will miss them so much.

To the best campers in the entire world,

I stood right in this very spot 58 days ago before the kids arrived and tried to explain to you, our staff how meaningful this journey will be for everyone in this hall and words just can never do justice to what we all have just experienced. Camp Chen-A-Wanda is more than a summer camp, it is a place we get to experience the best parts of humanity, it is kindness, it is confidence, it is a lot of warm embraces, it is daring to be different, it is courage and bravery, it is seeing mountains in front of you and knowing in your heart you can get through them, it is believing in yourself and it is letting people in, it is never doubting how special and important each one of you are. We see what happens when we let others in, our hearts get bigger and our world opens up in ways we never thought possible.

When you campers rolled into camp just 49 days ago, it was like someone turned the lights on here and we were able to begin our summer because when you aren’t here, it just doesn’t feel right. You are the rhythm to the music we make everyday we spend here. There are no two summers that are alike here and this one was by far magical beyond our wildest dreams. We watched you do things everyday here at camp that brings connection and human contact into your lives. Jon and I wish for a lot of things but our number one desire is for you to bring this home with you – the feeling of connecting and communicating with people is essential to have days and nights that make us feel fulfilled, satisfied, happy and so full of joy. You did that every day this summer. You held hands and told friends how important they are to you. You built really important and meaningful relationships that changed who you are. You disagreed and resolved your conflicts and you made-up because that is what friend’s do. Remember that talking is so much better than texting and love and kindness will always, always win over fear and anger.

As we keep looking forward, we  look at our incredibly happy GC’s as you will be the first ever in Chenny history to live on “The Hill” and we can’t wait to build this for you and the GC’s that will follow in your footsteps for years to come- But GC’s, boy oh boy do you have big shoes to fill next summer because our CIT’s of summer 16, blew our minds. You came into this summer with the most positive attitudes. Everything you did, you did as a unified group and watching you grow into who you have become has been a joy that Jon and I are so grateful for. You are our kids and will forever be our kids. Each one of you added to the rhythm of this summer as you lead with so much positive energy, it was contagious. Navajo – we hope you loved all those changes we made for you this summer. You spread so much camp spirit this summer that all the younger kids couldn’t help but look up to you in awe as you define what a Chenny kid is. To every camper inside this hall, this is your house and you make Camp Chen-A-Wanda feel like a home. Thank you campers for inspiring us, filling our lives with so much joy, making us smile all summer long and reminding us adults too not sweat the small stuff.

So another summer is in the books and regular life awaits us all just beyond our gates. Take Summer 2016 with you and just when life seems to get complicated, disconnected, stressful and routine when you get home, take a deep breath, close your eyes, dream of fiddle lake sunsets, stand on your table and dance while singing at the top of your lungs, and say out loud and say it proud – Life is Great at Camp Chen-A-Wanda!!!!

For the last time this summer.

Chenny out.