It wasn’t supposed to rain that day.
Not that one can ever truly know the weather at camp, but, based on an email from my mom, the forecast appeared sunny.
Nevertheless, that night, on our cookout, it flooded. Cooking fajita chicken became one of my greatest memories, as one minute our mouths watered and the next the sky poured water on us. In a cold, rainy blur, all twelve of us were either fanning the fire with a frisbee or (successfully) fixing our collapsed tarp with a bandana and a karabiner. Our fire, somehow, survived the rain and no one besides my winger group could say the same.
By the end of the night we had laughed so hard I’m not sure if the water all over my face was tears or the rain. The chicken, for the record, tasted fantastic.
That happened my third or fourth summer, and, although I have a million stories at this point, this one truly shows what Camp Hanover is for me. At camp, the things happening in the moment matter the most. At camp, the company you have and the laughs you share matters the most. Before I came to summer camp, the idea of getting wet in the rain after cooking food over a fire would have appalled me. However, I now look forward to those laughs. Daydreaming throughout my day, I often long for those wonderful, happy Camp Hanover days.
The saying goes that at camp a day feels like a week, but a week feels like a day. This holds so true, as the days just stretch out into long, wonderful things. They don’t develop like a long school day, with tests and an out of town game, but like a long stretch of great moments. From a morning rockwall climb to a late night game of smugglers, the days turn into a never-ending stream of laughter. At the end of each one, every group meets for their check-in session and shares their high and low moments, where they saw God, and the answer to a funny check-in question. When I was little, I always chose my favorite activity for my high. But now, no matter how fun paddleboarding is, the moment I’ve always enjoyed most is with my friends.
At Camp Hanover, these small family groups truly do become a twelve-person family. No words can truly explain these connections, because they form in a unique way. These friendships materialize from laughing together on the lake, and grow by talking to each other on the way to dinner. We aren’t on snapchat at camp so we can focus on each other and spend the long days together. However, despite these long days, every year at closing bonfire the end of the session feels impossible.
These lightning sessions have somehow stretched into many years. Coming to camp, I no longer envy the older girls in group brown because last year I was one. I’ve grown up here, and this camp has taught me so much. No words can truly express the novelty of Camp Hanover; however, I know the most important lesson I’ve learned. Camp Hanover taught me to value the present moment and to not worry about what comes next. Camp Hanover instilled a confidence in me. It tried its best to show me not to worry about my shortcomings, because everyone has them, but to focus on the things I do really well.
To the first year campers, enjoy every moment, even if it rains during your cookout. I honestly wish I could stop growing up and do it all again.