Coming out of camp is like stepping into a different world. It’s weird that most of the people I know have been going about their normal lives during this week when we at Run Home Camp are experiencing something life changing. All of the boys had a blast this week; those eligible to return are already talking about next year.
Friday is the big game, the final, official red versus blue with umpires and starting lineups and the national anthem. It blows me away how far these kids have come. Some of the rookies didn’t even know what hand to put their glove on day one, and now they’re throwing and catching and making plays like they’ve been at it their whole lives. Every single camper had at least one hit in the game, and their ability to work as a team was amazing.
The last thing that happens at camp is the awards ceremony; each boy gets a ball to play with, another signed by their coach, and a photo album with pictures of himself throughout the week. Their coaches also get up and say things they noticed improved or positive things they saw in their camper. It’s so great to watch; some of the kids don’t know what to do when being given personalized compliments and keepsakes. It’s one last way to show that we really care about them before they head back home.
Maybe it’s just me, but pickups are so fast, I barely know what happens. I’m quickly counting sixteen one moment and then seemingly the next, they’re gone. I probably won’t see the boys until Christmas; I already miss them so much. However, just the fact that camp happened gives me so much hope. We’re already getting messages from parents saying how much their kids loved camp. I’m sure they will be telling stories from this week to anyone who will listen all year long.
The evening after camp ends, the staff has the opportunity to eat dinner all together with their families and swap stories from the week. I love hearing about things that happened I may have missed and getting to share things I saw with others who were elsewhere. When we talk about the boys, it seems like they could be just around the corner. I think it’s the same way with the campers; they talk about their time here to feel closer to what may have been the best week of their life. Not only does telling stories from Run Home Camp keep the memories alive, it also helps the kids. The more people that hear about these boys, the more volunteers and opportunities we have. Maybe someone will want to start their own camp. I know the campers talk a lot about coming back as coaches when they’re old enough. That’s something I would love to see, but for now I’ll have to do what they do: keep talking about this year’s camp, take it one day at a time, and look forward to another amazing week next July.