Camp EDOW: Building a New Tradition

by | Aug 20, 2015

A new tradition is building. At Camp EDOW, where lots of traditions have developed in the four short years of its existence, another ritual is introduced and welcomed. On our last full day of camp, we celebrated our first pool Eucharist.

Some sit along the edges of a glistening pool and some wade quietly inside the clear water. Our voices rise together in song, singing heartily about the journey of Noah and his animals. We listen as we hear the story – so familiar but told in a new way that seals the marching procession of animals into the ark as a new memory for this year’s Camp EDOW. A new memory, a new tradition: worship at the pool.

Here at Camp EDOW where a community has been nurtured day by day, we are building traditions, friendships and bonds. Those who came as strangers are now friends, renewed friendships have strengthened and a deeper community has been formed.

On the last full day of camp, smiles are everywhere tainted only slightly by bittersweet moments of reality that in a few hours it will all be over. Energy is high as campers zip through the trees on the zip line as the final activity for the ropes course. Hardly anyone cowers at the 30-foot pole and 100 feet zip line. They have a cheering, supportive community encouraging and spurring them on. Again and again, the common refrain at the end is “the hardest part was climbing the ladder.” But the courage to move past that fear to accomplish the task is what we celebrate here and what makes new traditions at Camp EDOW.

It’s a day filled with demonstrations of all that has been learnt this week. The zip line completes a week of strengthening bonds, learning to communicate and supporting each other as a team during the ropes courses. Our time in Faithnastics closes with creative and innovative dramatizations of Peter walking on water, Noah and the ark and Jonah sent to Nineveh.

As the day draws to a close, we gather outside the Dining Hall for another Camp EDOW tradition, the annual Karaoke and Dance Party. Energy is high. It does not take long for the sign up sheet to be filled as campers create their own boy and girl bands – new friendships are on display.

Our community is strong and flourishing. That’s evident in the impromptu games of basketball and field hockey that pop-up, in the groups that sign up for karaoke and the budding friendships that we witness around the camp. In these moments, we see our community at its best. Strangers have become friends and new bonds are forming.

That’s how this community flourishes. We celebrate small moments of courage, big acts of caring and daily displays of growth. We make memories and create traditions.

Melissa Williams is the Camp EDOW Middle Camp Program Director.