This past weekend we said farewell until next year to our Junior Wavus campers. I found myself feeling very nostalgic because my own daughters started as junior campers, and I recall the pleasure of them hurtling towards me and squeezing me on pick up day before they scampered off to find their cabin mates and friends. Each time I speak with parents about what the future may hold for their daughters, I find myself revisiting each year of my daughters’ eight Wavus summers. With fresh wonder, I am in awe of the strength, courage, humor and love they discovered within themselves here. As a mother it is easy for me to say what my daughters gleaned from their Wavus experience, however, a quote by Nicolette Sowder captures for me WHY Wavus is here for these girls – yours and mine:
During Sunday chapel with our full session campers, a handful of our first-year girls, the newest members of our Wavus family, shared with the community how nervous they were to come to an unknown place with new people this summer. Each spoke of a moment where they made a connection, found support or laughed loudly. We are a wilderness tripping camp, so it did not surprise me that many of the stories of growth and connection involved mountains, canoes, rainstorms and tents.
“Give me the wild children with their bare feet and sparkling eyes. The restless, churning climbers. The wild ones using their outside voices, singing all the way home. Give me the wonder-filled, glorious mess makers dreaming of mountains and mud, aching to run through a field of stars.”
As we head into our final week of camp, the counselors are reminding their campers, “You still have so many opportunities to take a risk – try something that scares you or meet someone new.” We are eagerly awaiting the return of our older girls – Long Voyage, Maine Trails and some Allagash cabins – and the younger cabins are excited to welcome home our intrepid travelers.
I must share a few words on the women and men who collaborate (Rowboat Totem) through the year and throughout the summer in the Wavus and Kieve Trip Sheds to make these life changing wilderness opportunities as exciting, accessible, and transformational as they are. I want to acknowledge the miles, hours and pounds (of food and mail) that go into seemingly small words like “drop off” and “Resupply” printed on your daughters’ cabin lists. Our Tripping team has my deepest gratitude and respect each day for their efforts to create the magic of Wavus for all our campers and counselors.
You will have your daughters back in your arms soon. Many stories — and pounds of dirty laundry — await. Thank you for sharing your most precious people with us and for allowing us to help them stretch themselves and discover their inner strength by having adventures of their own in the wilds of Maine and New England.