Summer Without Camp
by Jake Lewis
June 01, 2020
Summer is coming, sure as anything can be. We’re in the midst of a week of heat that feels like it’s already here! The vegetables (and the weeds) are growing fast, the top of the lake is warming up (though the bottom is still cold), and the days are long. Yes, summer is coming all right.
But this year, summer camp won’t be coming with it. I find myself asking how this could be. “Summer” precedes “camp” just as “peanut” precedes “butter”—you could have the one without the other, but they sure are good together. And yet we at Glen Brook, and all of you who love this place, find ourselves in just this position. Summer without camp.
I am so very disappointed by this situation, and I’m sure you are as well. As a way to deal with my disappointment, I got to thinking about what “disappointment” really means. When we believe we have come to an agreement about how things will be, and then those things are not that way, we describe the resulting feeling as “disappointment.” As an example, if Mark and I agreed that I would sweep out the Rec Hall before dinner, and then dinner came and I said, “Eh, I didn’t do it; I didn’t feel like it,” Mark might be disappointed because he thought we had agreed. In this example, it makes sense for Mark to be disappointed, because we did agree!
Why am I disappointed about having summer without camp? Well, because I expected summer camp to happen. I thought of it as a sure thing. It’s almost as though I thought I had made an agreement with summer that summer camp goes along with it. And while it’s certainly sad that summer camp isn’t happening, the fact that I expected it to happen was my choice. I can take some responsibility for feeling disappointed, which feels good because it gives me a way to deal with it. It doesn’t mean I should have high expectations, it means that I don’t have to feel like something wrong happened when they don’t pan out.
What do you do when you lose something that you really want to keep? You look for it! I’ve been asking myself, “What do I love about camp, what am I going to miss the most?” This gives me some sad feelings, to be sure, as I think about the things I will miss. But it also gives me the chance to identify what I’m going to miss exactly, and then to go and look for these things where I am. Some things, like Chef Robyn’s grilled cheese or jumping in the Glen Brook Lake, will be hard to find at home. But others, like having fun playing outside, or gathering together with gratitude over shared meals (even with just my family), or singing camp songs, or talking with a friend—some of these things we can find around us.