Monthly Archives: July 2011

Passing the baton……………….

Saturday July 23, 2011 – 5:15pm – Main Chapel @ Camp Hardtner – Pollock, LA

So we’re sitting in the Camper’s Lounge and it’s right after our movie ended. We decided on doing a matinee so that we didn’t lose the entire evening. Watched The Truman Show. After the counselors did a hilariously creative upfront, they divided the campers into boys and girls to start figuring out who was on each team for the upcoming game. Amidst the din of noise and organized chaos, I just sat on the couch in the back and was soaking it all in. And for some reason I happened to glance to one side to see Nico, one of the counselors, painting faces for one of the teams, and suddenly I was struck with this feeling of happiness.

Happiness on a very immediate level because of what was going on. But on a deeper level I realized yet again that these counselors were carrying on the Hardtner spirit and traditions. They also used to be my campers when I was a counselor. Just knowing that I played some small part in carrying on the Hardtner spirit, passing it onto these young adults, and seeing them pass it on to today’s campers was awesome. It was a heaven moment for me. It also makes me thankful for all the campers and counselors who came before me and those who were at camp the same time as I was. Without them, I would not be here.

Of course when I think about the future anytime I’m here, it makes me a little sad. I never know if this is my last time or not. I never know if I’ll ever see these people ever again. Camp itself has to move on. It has to breathe and live. It has to evolve and grow. If I keep a stranglehold on it, then it will cease to be the place it was meant to be. But this place is in my mind and on my heart. I can literally close my eyes, and no matter where i’m at, visualize myself at Hardtner and walk around the entire camp as well as go into every room in every building. A great way to end this entry is to revisit the Hardtner reflection that I wrote, which I’ll be reading at the healing service tonight.

God Bless!

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Take me home, 165

Tuesday July 19, 2011 – 7:40am – Back Porch of the Cafeteria at Camp Hardtner – Pollock, LA

Yes you heard right, I’m back at Hardtner! 🙂 My heart is so happy right now, you have no idea! When I knew I’d be stateside for Faith Camp, & I saw that the dates for Mid Hi were after that, I knew I had to come back again. Contacted Fr. Jeff Millican, an episcopal priest from NOLA, and he ok’d it and here I am! He’s the dean for this week, Middle High, which is for kids going into 9th & 10th grades. He’s also been doing camp staff for 10 years now, and I knew him from back when I was a counselor. FYI, “Camp Staff” is the group of adult volunteers that came in for that particular week and plan & execute the themes and content for the talks, family groups, etc…..

Rode up with him to Hardtner yesterday afternoon. Stopped in Elleck (Alexandria) to get our drug testing done and buy some snacks for the week. Got to camp around 5:30 and started getting settled in. Met Brahm Diaz’s mom, Adelaide, who is another one of our camp staffers. She was a counselor back in the 70’s, and has been very involved with camp over the years. (she’s done camp staff too). Brahm was one of my campers and the past few years he was a counselor, including 07-08, when I did my previous 2 years of camp staff w/Madre Annie Bates

So we basically got settled in our rooms, and just hung out the rest of the night. Fleshed out the theme for the week, “It’s the End of the World as we know it.” Got titles for each day as well as a few notes on what we’d like to talk about each day. Talked camp and life. Ate supper. A few of the counselors came by to say hi: Janey, Claire, Daniel Chapman (the head counselor), and Luke Miles. Saw Emma Benton at one point. Got to visit with Haley Harrington and Ashley Holliday when I went to the office later that night to use the wireless internet.

Got to visit with Pat Higgins (the camp director) as well. So many great things about yesterday, that I’ll finish up by mentioning my top two or three. Just being back for the first time in 3 years was awesome. I felt this odd mixture of feeling like i’d never left, as well as all the emotions, thoughts, and feelings that flood you when you return to a favorite place. Yesterday Claire, one of the counselors and a former camper of mine, told me that I was one of her favorite counselors. That made my day. To know that an awesome Hardtner person, who loves camp as much as you do and is now a counselor, not only remembers you but also remembers you as their favorite counselor, is an amazing feeling. It makes my experience of Hardtner more complete. Makes you feel like you made a difference and did something right. I think I would just have to sum it all up by saying that Love is so tangible here at Hardtner. It hasn’t even been a full day since I arrived, and I can already tell it’s gonna be an awesome week.

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