A Camper’s Gratitude

Dear Deerhorn,

Although I have only spent two summers at Deerhorn, it has already started to feel like a second home. This year I came to realize that Deerhorn is more than just a camp. It is a family. Last year, my grandfather was hospitalized while I was at camp. When I came home, he had lost most of his capabilities and couldn’t speak. Despite this, I told him about the Creed. I mentioned, primarily, being a Good Fellow, because I truly believe that he was the embodiment of this aspiration. The hole that was left in the wake of his loss has been filled with all of my Deerhorn brothers.

I am so very thankful to my family for sending me to this beautiful place so many call home, but they are not the only people I feel the need to thank. I would like to thank all of you too. To all of the counselors: you are the helping hand that any camper can turn to. Everything you did to make the camp experience more enjoyable was noticeable to me. From all the little bits of humor you squeezed into the seemingly monotonous tasks like safety warnings, to comforting campers when something unfortunate happens. To the health team: you keep us safe, healthy, and protected. To the Broadbridges: you are the masters behind the curtain. Many of the things you do seem to pass by unnoticed by campers, but I saw. The work you do to try and fulfill everyone’s wishes about koogees, activity groups, and everything else is astounding. Helping staff, counselors, and the health team do their jobs to the best of their abilities. You are incredible. My camp experience was wonderful because of all of you. Thank you.

I will miss Deerhorn in the off season, but I have the comfort of three more years as a camper ahead of me. I know I’ll continue to cherish Deerhorn and all of its beauty long after I finish my years as a camper, assistant counselor, and counselor. I only wish that I had discovered Deerhorn earlier. Philip Meyers spoke about a memory of his Voyager trip in his water campfire speech. He described spending hours resting on a bench overlooking the water.

This imagery brought tears to my eyes, and I have struggled to understand why. I’ve recently made sense of it. Although I was not there to experience the memory, I understand the bitter sweetness of nostalgia. My empathy brought a lump to my throat. I think that the beauty of his story is the feeling that is conjured every time it is remembered, and I believe that it is also a fitting metaphor for the camp experience. The memories you collect at Deerhorn are the greatest gift. They unite us, they are carried throughout all of life, and they are cherished until death. I would like to thank Deerhorn for this blessing. It is truly beautiful.

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