Make new friends but keep the old….
by: Amy Glenn
Several months ago the Little’s and Johnson’s came over to our house for dinner. Hayden and Bren had not gotten to play for a while and Josh was helping us decide how to best deal with some deteriorating grave-stones. We ate and talked, ate and talked, talked and then ate some more. In one of our conversations Margaret mentioned how she had at first felt like an outsider at camp. She noted it was hard to break into the “inner circle”.
Ouch. That was hard to hear. You see, I had always prided myself on being welcoming to new people at camp. I felt like I had ALWAYS greeted the new comers and extended a hand of friendship. It was only with close retrospect that I realized that I was a camp snob. Yep, it is true. I put on a good face and said “hi, nice to have you here”, but I was quickly off to spend time with my camp buddies from years past. I never took the time to truly invite the new kid to join in with my old crew. You see, I was four the first time I went to Lylewood. My parents were counselors so I got to tag along. It was great! I got to be with the “big kids” and more importantly, I new the counselors, the director, the cooks and many of the campers.
Not everyone is so blessed to show up at camp and know a bunch of folks. Many kids come to camp for the first time all on their own. Those of us who grew up at camp cannot imagine it as a scary place, but to many youngsters that is the reality. They show up, don’t know anyone, and don’t know how to fit in with any group. For them, the first few days are a nightmare.
I am writing this article to encourage you “old Lylewooders” to reach out to the new kids. Make them feel at home, talk to them, include them in your games and conversations. It is so easy to forget about the “new kid” in our excitement to get reacquainted with our “old friends” but for those of you who have been on the outside looking in, you can appreciate the position of the new kid.
And for those of us who have gone on to be counselors and cooks, we need to be welcoming of the new staff members as well. We need to include them in our traditions and share with them our love of the kids. Broglie Arch and Edwina have left us with a legacy of acceptance and love, it is a gift we should be proud to share.
So when you are at camp, make new friends, but keep the old….one is silver and the other is gold.