Step One:
Trust Walk With Bandanas

Divide campers into four groups.

  • Group A will have bandanas placed over their eyes. They are the blind people.
  • Group B will wear bandanas over their ears. They are the deaf people.
  • Group C will have bandanas tied around their arms. They are the no arms people.
  • Group D will take off one shoe so they won’t be able to walk right. They are the birth defect people.

Everyone will then have to help each other silently walk from the dining hall to the amphitheater, then down to the lake where each person must put at least one toe in the sacred waters of Lac La Belle. This shows how we cannot live without each other and without camp. If people talk, tell them this is not funny and ask them how would they feel if they actually had a birth defect and had to walk funny all their life.

Step Two:
Silent Writing Time

Every camper will have some silent writing time to write about this sacred experience and how real life will never be the same as camp, but that we must learn to power through. Then we’ll read our thoughts out loud by candlelight. When each person is finished sharing we’ll blow out their candle and say, “ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END MY FRIEND” and then the sharer has to repeat back, “ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END MY FRIEND.” Tell everyone this is serious and that there’s no laughing or it shows how much you don’t really care about your only real friends, who you only have about twelve more hours with until you have to go back home where no one understands you.

Step Three:
Sing “The Rose”

When everyone looks like they are going to cry, sing “The Rose” by Bette Midler while Naomi plays guitar. She knows the chords. Don’t worry if no one else is singing, because they are probably sobbing so hard at the beauty. Just in case, though, you might not want to sit next to Shira Feldman, because last year she sang along to “One Tin Soldier” so hard she cried until she threw up.

Step Four:
More Sharing

Get out a flashlight and ask if anyone wants to share about how this summer has changed their whole entire life forever. If Shayna talks for more than five minutes, fake cough until she stops. Tell people they can say anything because we are people of trust who help the blind, the deaf, the armless, and the funny walkers.

After every one has shared their feelings, pass around a Susan Polis Schultz book and have everyone read one line of her poem “Come Into the Mountains, Dear Friend” as Naomi plays “Rainbow Connection” on her mandolin.

Step 5:
Express What You Love About Another Camper

Have everyone take one tissue paper flower. Tell campers not to select their own name. They should be mature and pick someone else’s name and not look through all of them until they find Craig’s name just because he is a babe. Everyone will then have to stand up and say what they love about that person and what they learned from that person and how nobody back home understands you like the person on this Kleenex flower does.

Step Six:
Observe a Moment of Silence

Everyone should be completely silent and observe the sanctity of camp. If people can’t stop crying, point out how it sounds exactly like nature’s tears, which is rain. If people aren’t crying, have Naomi play James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” on her harpsichord, but first explain how the song is about James Taylor’s best friend who died in a plane crash. Hold hands and sway during “Fire and Rain” no matter who you are sitting next to because we are all best friends tonight.

Step Seven:
Come Up With Emergency Code Words

Tell everyone to think of one word that will be their emergency code word when they miss camp so much they feel like they’re going to die. All people will need to do is write a letter with that word or call each other and say that word and hang up, and we will totally get it. No one can have the same word. Group leader calls “Glisten.”

Step Eight:
Friendship Bracelets

Right before bedtime pass out the friendship bracelets. Tell everyone they can’t put them on themselves. They need to go find their enemy and make amends because they probably won’t see each other again. Think about James Taylor and his dead best friend and then maybe Talia won’t be mad anymore about how you always use her Dippity Do and try to copy her hair.

Step Nine:
Sing Camp Song

Everyone sings the camp song until they fall asleep, or until Naomi’s Casio runs out of batteries. If anyone snores we will not record them and play the recording during flag raising because that is way too immature and not sacred.


See you next summer. Or maybe never.