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Letters from Camp – Spring 2024

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to an unfortunate mix-up, the QR codes in the print edition were not updated. Please see the Feature and Location links below. We apologize for the confusion and thank you for your understanding.


Letter from the Editor

When I was a camp director, the bathhouse was a little chaotic on the first night of every new session. I was always on hand to help out and on one such night, a little girl came up to me and said, “Help! I don’t have any toothpaste.” She had a rather large toiletry bag so I asked her if I could look and see if there was any buried inside. I rummaged around and pulled out a new, unopened tube of travel-sized toothpaste. Her eyes got wide and she said (with the awe of a 7-year-old), “well would you look at that?!”

I said, “And it’s the good kind! Mint!” She looked at me, and she whisper-replied in wonder, “What does it taste like?”

I told her we should put some on her toothbrush and try it out.

Do you remember seeing travel toothpaste for the first time?

Probably not.

There are so many “firsts” that we experience all throughout our lives and many of them are forgotten as quickly as they happen. But there are others that stick with us. Big firsts. The kind of “first time I ever” stories that make us who we are and get retold over and over again.

If you’ve had the pleasure of going to camp, “the first time I ever ...” stories are plentiful. Camp gives us small firsts, like seeing travel toothpaste for the first time. Camp gives us life-changing big firsts, like introducing us to an activity that becomes a passion, meeting a lifelong friend, overcoming an obstacle, or learning about yourself in a meaningful way.

In this issue, “first time” came up in a lot of the stories. You’ll find stories about a first- time camper, first-time counselors, about the first building built at Camp du Nord, and about several exceptional people who led the way for the campers and staff that came after them.

I worked in camping for 21 years before coming to this role, and I have a lot of my own camp stories. But listening to other people tell their camp stories and writing these articles is such a pleasure. I hope that this magazine can be a conversation between the Y and our camp community. I appreciated your feedback and the stories you shared after reading the last issue, and look forward to connecting with you again as we take a trip down memory lane.

We want this magazine to tell the story of our camps. These articles are just small snippets of the life-changing work that has been happening for decades and continues to happen every day at each camp. My hope is that you see yourself somewhere in this issue and that it brings you joy to be part of this community.

Natalie King