The sun is setting over the James as my car roles to a stop, its tires crunching in the gravel parking lot outside of the Jamestown 4H Center’s mess hall. Despite traffic and an unfamiliar route, I seem to be the first to arrive and I take a moment to savor the quiet tranquility of the slow, deep water that, like me, has reached the end of its long journey.
It’s good to be home.
Camp is a state of mind. There is no one place, no single location that IS Special Love. Camp is about community, about celebrating, embracing, and overcoming a shared past. It is present in the easy banter between friends and the way in which shy speakers wrap their lips around words like “Osteosarcoma” with practiced ease.
Most of us here at YAC Weekend have grown up with Special Love and there is a sense of intergenerational family that is, in many ways, stronger here than at any other camp event. Just as Larry remembers me when I was a balding nine-year-old kid, I recall teaching Alex canoeing when he was a child. The years of childhood impatience and teenage angst have fallen behind and what is left is an easy camaraderie born of long years and shared tribulation.
We sit, we laugh, and we talk, trading war stories late into the night with an openness and honesty rarely ventured anywhere else.
Tomorrow brings an early start to a day full of sunshine and salt air, but tonight we rest among friends.
We are, all of us, home at last.
Editor’s Note: This was written during YAC weekend but wasn’t “featured” until after the weekend was over.