The curtain closes on yet another memorable Romacan summer. We are all still gutted from yesterday’s departure, and the echoes of the buses pulling away still leaves a hole in our hearts. In the words of a new counselor “I have never felt this much sadness in my whole life.” We always try to prepare them-the new campers and the new counselors-for the journey they are about to embark upon and for the legacy they will soon be a part of. But nothing can prepare someone for the love they will feel for their friends, campers, and counselors and nothing can prepare them for the sense of loss and emptiness when they all get abruptly taken away from one another.
Today, as you receive this letter, likely your daughter has slept for many hours, showered off the recent camp grime, and you have cleaned off the candy residue and paint from her clothing. We know many of the girls cried themselves to sleep last night, longing for the sounds of their friends’ voices and the comfort of the constant companionship as they slept each night. We also know many girls couldn’t explain the confused feelings they felt. They had inexplicable stomach aches and butterflies, headaches from exhaustion and heart aches from saying goodbye. We know many girls relished in recalling all of their favorite memories and funny stories and shared them with you with big smiles on their faces. And many campers, when they look back, only remember the few days or moments when it rained or when they were homesick, or when they had to do an activity they “didn’t want to do.” And then there are the girls who just can’t find the words yet to explain the feelings at all, or to describe the triumphs and struggles they experienced here.
No matter how they behaved in the car ride home, or what they said or didn’t say at the dinner table, we are the lucky ones because we know the truth. We watched them live it all, we witnessed their joys, we helped them overcome pain, we cheered them on, we held their hands, we squeezed them tight, we heard them sing and cheer. And the girls did the same for us. We are all so eternally grateful that you let your precious babies go this summer and that, by the stroke of luck or genius, you chose Camp Romaca as the summer home for your daughters so we could help to change their lives and they could change ours. In all our years at camp (and there are many!), we do not recall an easier summer. That means the campers were the happiest they have ever been, the most willing and able to be independent and spread their wings, the most excited to try new things and the most willing to take advice and guidance to make changes within. Summer 2018 brought one of the most spirited group of little Juniors and, surely, the loudest and wackiest group of Romrecers :-)-so perhaps it was no accident that all of that energy spread to the entire camp and throughout every division. We enjoyed the cutest and most glamorous Hollywood Deb Carnival, the yummiest Subsway, the grooviest 70’s Birthday Night, the most elegant and delicious trip to Italy for Banquet, the greatest story of Matilda ever told for Secret Show, and surely the most entertaining Counselor Show ever written.
We thank you for all of your support at home; for having faith in us and in our expertise and our guidance. We all know how hard it is to let go and trust others to look after your daughters (especially new counselors who are total strangers and practically children themselves), but you did it and your girls are better off because of it. You may see their growth and maturity already. You may be amazed or you may be emotional to see how they have changed and hear what they learned this summer. Take some of the credit because you allowed them to have this gift of Romaca. Our girls soared this summer. In the spirit of The Greatest Showman, certainly a theme for this summer, we all learned to embrace our strengths and our weaknesses. Even though they loved to tease Lauren for making it our summer anthem :-), “This Is Me” rang loud and true as we experienced self-acceptance in its truest form. They found self-confidence they didn’t know they had, they learned to express their feelings in person and not over Snapchat, they learned more about what and who made them happy. They communicated, they complimented each other, they played, they took care of one another, and they had the best time of their lives while doing it all. This school year when they get into a fight with a friend, or when a teacher or a coach disappoints them, ask them how they would have handled it if they were at camp.
We know how lucky we are and it is never lost on us that at camp we are “dreaming with our eyes wide open.” Even though we are slowly waking from this dream today, the feelings of its warmth will stay with us for the entire year until we come back “home” once more. Ask them what they would do today at camp if we were able to give them just one more day together. We know we all would give anything for more of those delicious morning hugs and night time snuggles, and they would give anything to be with their camp friends all together just as it was, one more time. They are all now a part of this incredible legacy; this incredible community of generations of Romacans who are forever changed by this beautiful summertime home. CAMP-who would have thought that just 4 letters could mean the whole world to the luckiest group of girls and women? Please send them our love and wish them a super quick and easy school year and tell them we already are counting down to Summer 2019!
With all our love,
Lauren and Debra