I read a quote once that said “Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” That felt like such an accurate description of hope, holding onto the idea that no matter how hard life felt right now, eventually things were going to get better. Ten years ago this month I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And while it is not a year that I would choose to live again, I am grateful for the lessons it brought into my life. Those lessons have been really helpful reminders throughout this extraordinarily difficult year.
We can do hard things.
This is one I have thought about a lot over this past year, and it’s a lesson I try to reiterate often to our kids. This past year has been one of the hardest times we’ve gone through in recent history. I also fully realize that my struggles this year cannot compare to those who have lost so much…jobs, lives, loved ones. The depth of loss this year is unfathomable. But while our kids have lost so much this year, it’s also good to remind them of all they have gained. They’ve learned how to be flexible, and how to cope with disappointment. They’ve grown and become stronger and more resilient. They have learned how to live with uncertainty. They’ve learned the importance of connection and the need for intentional nurturing of relationships as we all reached out to each other from home. They won’t remember the school days they missed, but the times of togetherness they felt as a family. Good things can be hard too. We want our kids to understand that those hopes and dreams they have for the future will likely take hard work, and that the hard work will be worth it. Whether it’s a dream job, achievement in athletics, or finding their passion, we don’t want them to be scared of Hard. Yes, this year was hard. But kids, we can do hard things.
We don’t have to do it alone.
During my year of cancer treatment, I was overwhelmed by the number of people who surrounded us, held us, loved us so well in the midst of our hard. Never have I been more grateful for the Deerhorn Family. Life is scary, and uncertain, and there are no guarantees. The pandemic has created more anxiety in all of us, especially children. When our kids come to me and want to talk about a fear, I can’t guarantee that the bad thing won’t happen. But I CAN promise that they won’t go through it alone. Summers at Deerhorn build kids’ community, growing friendships that will nurture them for life. After a year at home, kids need camp and those friendships more than ever before.
This, too, shall pass.
When we’re in the throes of tough situations, it’s easy to feel like it’s never going to get better. I felt like 2011 was endless, and this world of cancer was my new normal. And 2020 felt like the year that would never end! How many times this year have we let ourselves hope that things were getting better, only to be faced with the reality of another surge? How many plans have we made that had to be canceled? Vaccines are rolling out, case numbers are declining, and we have emerged from the dark cold of winter. There are many reasons for hope. But hope has felt kind of fragile over the past year. It’s going to take some time to trust in hope again.
While our nation is not out of the woods yet, at Deerhorn we are filled with cautious optimism about the summer of 2021. We are putting safety protocols into place to help ensure a safe summer at Deerhorn, while also preserving the Deerhorn experience that brings us back to camp each summer. To that end, we have published our 2021 Covid-19 Guidebook. Please know this is a working document and will be continually updated as we get closer to summer. We continue to follow guidance from the CDC and ACA, and will update our protocols as their recommendations change. We know there may be some parents who aren’t comfortable with our plan and will choose not to send their son this summer. We understand completely, and hope to see them in 2022. We hope to have some virtual open houses in April, to help new campers understand Deerhorn and answer any questions they may have. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns you’d like to discuss, we can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 800-713-3130.
We are so excited to see Camp Deerhorn open again. We can’t wait to see kids we haven’t seen in two years…to see how many of you now tower over us! We have missed you and we can’t wait to welcome you home.